The weather is warming up (at least if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere), and that can only mean one thing: it’s almost time for the 2014 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). One of the biggest online poker tournament series around, SCOOP always promises to draw plenty of big names. This year, they’ll be competing for a rather impressive prize pool as well, as the combined guarantee for all events is $40 million.
The series, which will run from May 4 to May 18, features 135 events in total. However, many players will choose to look at the series as more like three separate festivals running concurrently at three different buy-in levels.
That’s because there are really only 45 events, but each one will be offered in three formats based on their buy-ins: low, medium and high. Players can participate in multiple “versions” of the same event if they wish, with all three levels of the same tournament kicking off at the same time. While such a format has been used in other tournament series before, this is the first time it has been utilized in SCOOP.
For instance, the first event — which starts at 11:00 EDT on Sunday, May 4 — is a six-max no-limit hold’em event. The low buy-in version costs $27 to play in, while the medium version is $215. High-rollers can take part in the high buy-in tournament instead, which costs $2,100 to play in.
Not surprisingly, no-limit hold’em is the most common game on the schedule, with 25 events featuring the “Cadillac of poker.” But there’s also plenty of variety in the schedule, with Omaha, Stud, Razz, Badugi and mixed-game formats spread throughout the series.
The series will wrap up on May 18, with the signature event being the no-limit hold’em Main Event at 14:30 EDT. Like every other tournament, there are three versions, with the $10,300 buy-in “high buy-in” version being the biggest attraction. A minimum of $500,000 is guaranteed to the winner, though it’s likely the number will ultimately grow much higher: Viktor “Isildur1” Blom won nearly $1.1 million by taking the event down last year. There are also $300,000 and $100,000 guarantees for the medium and low buy-in tournaments respectively.
Overall, this year’s SCOOP features 13 tournaments with guarantees of at least $1 million, and 90 that will pay out a minimum of $100,000 or more to players. Last year’s SCOOP paid out more than $75 million in prize money, making it the largest online tournament series in poker history.
The new expanded format also means a more complex Player of the Year leaderboard for those who are playing several events to shoot for. There will be one POTY each for the low, medium and high categories, as well as one for the series as a whole. Each winner will receive a trophy as well as a live tournament entry: for the three category winners, a package to the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and for the overall winner, a visit to the 2015 European Poker Tour Grand Final.