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New Moves See PokerStars Upgrade WCOOP but Downgrade Table Limit

It’s been a case of what goes up must also come down at PokerStars this week after it made two major announcements.

PokerStars has increased the guarantee for this year’s WCOOP but lowered its cash game table cap at the same time. (Image: PokerStars)

First to hit the airwaves and give the online poker community something to get excited about was the official WCOOP schedule.

Otherwise known as the World Championship of Online Poker, the tournament series will get underway on September 5.

WCOOP Continues to Impress Online Poker Community

As in previous years, WCOOP will run for two weeks and, this time around, there will be 219 tournaments on tap until September 23.

For small stakes players, the cheapest WCOOP event will cost $2.20. At the other end of the spectrum, Event #25 will carry a $25,000 buy-in and $2 million guarantee.

While players will be hot on the variety of MTTs available this year, PokerStars is hoping to break another record. After raising the bar in 2017 and 2018, the online poker operator now has its sights set on the $100 million mark.

After falling just short last year after offering a $70 million guarantee, PokerStars has upped the ante by $5 million. By guaranteeing $75 million, the aim is to generate even more action and, in turn, set the record for the richest online tournament series in history.

As players were digesting PokerStars’ WCOOP announcement, the PR team was busy planning another update. This time, instead of adding something to its product, PokerStars has taken something away.

PokerStars Cash Game Cap Splits Opinions

Announced on August 20, the latest software update will see cash game players limited to four tables. Following localized testing in Italy, PokerStars will now limit the number of cash games (not Zoom) someone can play at once.

Explaining the move, Severin Rasset said the aim is to maintain a healthy online ecosystem.

Reactions to reducing the cap from 24 to four have been mixed. Although the average player doesn’t typically play more than four cash games at once, some feel it will make things harder for pros.

“The only good to come out of this is no one is going to waste a table bum hunting,” creepville posted on 2+2.

“If anything, this will increase bum hunting as you want the profitable tables, you don’t want to waste a table on one full of regs if you’re only four-tabling,” countered Sir Huntington.

From its perspective, PokerStars wants to create a welcoming environment for everyone. However, that’s a marked departure from its previous attitude.

During the early noughties, PokerStars was home to mass-multi-tablers such as Hevad Khan.

In fact, at one point, it gave Bertrand Grospellier the platform on which he set a world record for the greatest number of games played in an hour.

Evolution is essential in any industry but what some players seem to be reacting to is how different things are now compared to what they were.

In practice, lowering the cash game table cap won’t impact the masses. It is, however, another example of how the PokerStars of today is looking to cast a much broader net than it once was.