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The 2021 World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars runs Aug. 22-Sep. 15 and features 102 events. Each of those events features three different buy-in levels (low, medium, high), meaning there are 306 tournaments altogether.

The lowest buy-in you’ll find is $5.50, with 23 tournaments coming in at that price. The highest is $25,000, the Super High Roller.

We’ll set those big tournaments aside and consider how we might approach the schedule with somewhat smaller “WCOOP bankrolls” or budgets. Let’s say you have $5, $50, or $500 you’ve decided to set aside just for WCOOP events. How should you build your schedule?

2021 WCOOP on a $5 budget

With just $5 to spend, you don’t have enough to buy your way even into the lowest buy-in events. However that doesn’t mean you can’t take part in WCOOP.

With just a fin to spare, what’s your play? Satellites.

Once we get closer to the series getting started, you’ll find lots of satellite opportunities available. For big weekly tournaments like the $11 Sunday Storm, PokerStars often offers a range of satellite opportunities as low as $0.11 and $0.33.

When these satellites start appearing in the lobby, you might first pick a few $5.50 events for which to try to win seats. Then plot a strategy that allows you to play a number of satellites, thereby increasing your chance to win your way into at least one or perhaps several WCOOP tournaments.

There are other options, too, including WCOOP Fast Track events or “steps” tournaments that can enable you to win your way into larger buy-in events. You might also give the special WCOOP Spin & Go’s a look as well, particularly if you are able to build up your $5 a bit.

Check out these and other options in our Complete Guide to WCOOP Satellites.

2021 WCOOP on a $50 budget

With a $50 budget, you’ll also want to keep satellites in mind as a way to play more WCOOP events at a lower cost. With that caveat in place, you’ll want to start looking at those $5.50 events and deciding which ones might be worth playing.

One simple way to determine the best possible value in a tournament is to check the guarantees. Every WCOOP event has a guaranteed prize pool, with some much larger than others. The big ones will have big fields, but more players will make the money and there will be larger prizes at the end, too.

Here are the $5.50 buy-in WCOOP with the largest guarantees:

  • Sun., 22 Aug., 8:05 p.m. – WCOOP 2-L: $5.50 NLHE (WCOOP Kickoff – Mini Sunday Kickoff SE), $75K Gtd.
  • Wed., 25 Aug., 3:30 p.m. – WCOOP 19-L: $5.50+R NLHE (8-Max), $75K Gtd.
  • Sat., 4 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 57-L: $5.50 NLHE (6-Max, PKO), $80K Gtd.
  • Mon., 13 Sep., 2:05 p.m. – WCOOP 1-L: $5.50 NLHE (Phase 2), $1M Gtd.

Note that “Phase 2” event is the second and final phase of a tournament for which there are many “Phase 1” flights. In fact, they’ve already begun, so you can seek them out right now in the PokerStars lobby.

There are 10 more $5.50 events with $50,000 guarantees. All are no-limit hold’em, but they come in a wide variety of formats (e.g., turbo, deep stack, PKO, freezeout).

Incidentally, you’ll want to pay attention to the different formats when selecting events to play. If you’re not a fan of bounty tournaments, you’ll want to avoid the PKO events. Then again, keep in mind that in a PKO you can win cash even without “making the money,” since knocking out just a single opponent wins you that player’s bounty.

Also, note which events are freezeouts and which are not. Freezeouts do not allow players to re-enter, and if you’re playing on a small budget, there are pros and cons to playing in events where other players are freely re-entering when you yourself probably cannot.

2021 WCOOP on a $500 budget

With $500 to spend you have even more options. Moving up from the $5.50 events, you’ll find WCOOP tournaments priced at $11, $22, $55, $109, $215 and higher.

When it comes to traditional bankroll management, you generally don’t want to blow your entire bankroll on a single tournament, or even two or three. Of course, you might look at WCOOP as a “special case” and thus perhaps take a shot or two you might not otherwise. That’s up to you to decide.

With $500, you could theoretically play all 40 of the $11 tournaments on the WCOOP schedule. There are another 24 tournaments priced at $22, meaning you could divide your efforts between (say) 20 of the $11 events and another 12 of the $22 ones.

For your information, here are the $11, $22, and $55 events with the highest guarantees:

$11 events with highest guarantees

  • Wed., 01 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 45-L: $11 NLHE (PKO), $175K Gtd.
  • Mon., 06 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 67-L: $11 NLHE (PKO), $175K Gtd.
  • Mon., 13 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 94-L: $11 NLHE (8-Max, PKO, Series Saver), $200K Gtd.

$22 events with highest guarantees

  • Tue., 24 Aug., 3:30 p.m. – WCOOP 16-L: $22 NLHE (7-Max, PKO), $350K Gtd.
  • Mon., 30 Aug., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 38-L: $22 NLHE (6-Max, PKO), $325K Gtd.
  • Mon., 11 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 85-L: $22 NLHE (8-Max, PKO), $300K Gtd.
  • Mon, 13 Sep, 2:05 p.m. – WCOOP 1-M: $22 NLHE (Phase 2), $1M Gtd.

$55 events with highest guarantees

  • Sun., 22 Aug., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 4-L: $55 NLHE (8-Max), $1M Gtd.
  • Mon., 23 Aug., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 8-L: $55 NLHE (8-Max, PKO), $500K Gtd.
  • Thu., 26 Aug., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 22-L: $55 NLHE (8-Max, PKO, Mini Thursday Thrill SE), $500K Gtd.
  • Sun., 12 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 91-L: $55 NLHE (8-Max, NLHE Main Event), $1.5M Gtd.

Again, you’ll want to look into the satellites available as well, particularly if you wish to try to mix in some higher buy-in events into your schedule.

Eyes on the (biggest) prizes: The WCOOP Main Events

You’re noticing that $55 buy-in Main Event popping up at the end of the last list. Whether you have $5, $50, or $500 with which to play WCOOP events this year, you’ll want to keep in mind the Main Events as they have the biggest guarantees and will no doubt feature the largest prize pools of WCOOP.

Here are the three Main Events (low, medium, and high):

  • Sun., 12 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 91-L: $55 NLHE 8-Max, $1.5M Gtd.
  • Sun., 12 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 91-M: $530 NLHE 8-Max, $2.5M Gtd.
  • Sun., 12 Sep., 1:05 p.m. – WCOOP 91-H: $5,200 NLHE 8-Max, $10M Gtd.

With all three budgets, the “low” Main is obviously the one where you’ll likely focus your efforts. There will be tons of satellites for that one (and the other Main Events), so definitely start seeking those out when they appear.

You’ve still got a week-and-a-half. Take some time and look over the 2021 WCOOP schedule. With a little advance planning, you’ll find the best way to make your WCOOP bankroll work for you.

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