WCOOP 2017: Attention tournament dreamers
WCOOP 2017 is fast approaching, running from September 3rd-26th. Although the Tournaments Team is buckled down in order to get it ready for you, I thought I'd take some time to provide insight into changes we're making for this year's series.
The single biggest change in this year's WCOOP is the addition of a Low tier. This will replace last year's mini-WCOOP, but make no mistake; it is not a companion series! With over $11,000,000 guaranteed, WCOOP Low is the real deal. Featuring buy-ins approximately 1/20th the size of their High counterparts, Low events will run 24 hours after High events (with a couple notable exceptions). We feel WCOOP Low will offer something special to our players whose bankroll may not support playing the High events.
In SCOOP 2017, we made some changes to satellites, typically awarding satellite winners with tickets. This allowed players to win a satellite, unregister from the target tournament, and re-join with a ticket at any point during late registration. While we like to offer players as much flexibility as possible, this system created operational stress and confusion among players. During the series, we received numerous requests to exchange tickets, and after the series we also received similar requests from players with tickets that couldn't be used anywhere. For this reason, satellites in WCOOP 2017 will be must-play. This means that if you win a satellite to a WCOOP event, you will be required to play from the start (if it hasn't started already). Subsequent wins will be credited in T$. Additionally, a few select events will not allow players to win more than one seat. This information will be available in all satellite tournament lobbies.
Although we typically don't change the formula for our tournament series, they provide a great opportunity to try new formats. Series are meant to identify the best of the best, and what better way to do so than with a brand new format? This year, we'll offer a unique HORSE Phase tournament. From Monday to Friday, each Phase 1 will be one of the HORSE games: Monday will be Fixed Limit Hold'em, Tuesday will be Fixed Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, and so on. On Saturday, the final Phase 1 will be HORSE, and Phase 2 will begin later that day. To ensure that all players advancing from Phase 1 get a fair shake, each Phase 1 will play down to 10% of the field before ending, meaning the average stack advancing to Phase 2 will be the same for all games. The buy-in for the High event is $215, and the Low event will be $11, allowing players of all bankrolls to try their hand at their preferred discipline.
All new structures will make their debut in WCOOP 2017. Low events will start with 25,000 chips and High events will start with 50,000 chips, except in the case of rebuy tournaments. The reason for this change is simple: we want players to feel like they're entering a truly special tournament when they take their seat. In order to accommodate this change, new blind structures have been created. The new blind structures will provide the same deep play experience as previous *COOP series, but will have shorter levels with smaller increases. Don't be deceived by the shorter level times: these tournaments will be deep.
Odds & Ends
In addition to all of these changes, WCOOP 2017 features the best slate of promotions we've ever had for a series. We're adding over $700,000 in WCOOP tickets to Stars Rewards chests, awarding players in a new non-No Limit Hold'em Player of the Series leader board, adding a $5,200 seat to a daily satellite, and much more!
All in all, we're gearing up for the biggest WCOOP ever. We'll be ready. Will you?
Luke Staudenmaier is the PokerStars Tournaments Team Manager