WCOOP 2017: Done, dusted and delighted
Now that the last hand of WCOOP 2017 has been dealt we can finally exhale and reflect on this year's Series. The numbers are absolutely insane: a WCOOP record $90+ million in prize pools, over 107,000 unique players across 164 tournaments, and the biggest WCOOP Main Event since 2010.
So, besides our players coming out in droves, what caused WCOOP to break records this year?
WCOOP Low made its debut this year and was a massive success. Overall prize pools for the Low tier reached $19.8 million, including $3.1 million in the Low Main Event alone! Although last year's mini-WCOOP was a hit with our players, we wanted to provide more opportunities for our mid-stakes players to indulge in WCOOP. Needless to say, they showed up. Despite the overwhelming response to WCOOP Low, WCOOP High participation stayed strong.
Part of the reason we decided to launch WCOOP Low was due to the many requests for a mid-stakes tourney series we'd received via poker forums and direct emails to Support. The success of WCOOP Low confirms that demand was real and we're very happy to have been able to rise to the occasion. I extend my thanks to all of you who contacted us and persisted in your support for a mid-stakes series.
In both SCOOP and WCOOP 2017, we made some policy changes to satellites. I'd like to thank you for bearing with us while we tested various options. We've learned a lot from the results and should be able to provide a smoother experience going forward. Most notably, players responded extremely positively to the change implemented for the $5,200 Main Event, in which we only allowed players to win one seat via scheduled satellites. One of our concerns was that too many players would win seats early on and satellites on Main Event Sunday would suffer, but instead we were blown away by participation! Our two biggest satellites on Sunday awarded 158 seats in total, resulting in over $800K in prize pools. Going forward, we plan on continuing this practice of allowing players to only win one seat to major online events. We will, of course, monitor this closely.
We're always looking at giving players more options so we introduced two levels of WCOOP Spin & Go's this year, one at $27 and the other at $109. Whereas last year each tier in our Spin & Go satellite awarded cash except the top tier, this year all tiers awarded WCOOP-related prizes. The results are stunning: instead of $95,000 from WCOOP Spin & Go's going into the Events in 2016, over $3.5 million in WCOOP tickets and entries were generated in 2017.
WCOOP coming to an end is always bittersweet for us on the Tournaments Team. There is an indescribable thrill in watching 100,000+ unique players embrace WCOOP after a few months of pulling your hair out preparing the best WCOOP experience possible. Back to the drawing board for next year it is then...
Luke Staudenmaier is Tournaments Team Manager for PokerStars (and entered many WCOOP events during his playing days).