PokerStars WCOOP to Feature More Value with Low Stakes Schedule  

August 18th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is back and this time around there’s something for low stakes players as well as pros.

PokerStars WCOOP 2017.

PokerStars’ WCOOP gets a makeover thanks to the addition of a low stakes championship schedule. (Image: PokerStars.com)

When the latest incarnation of PokerStars’ WCOOP gets underway on September 3, the roster of 81 high stakes events will, for the first time, be complemented by an equal number of low buy-in options. Since the first WCOOP took place in 2002, the roster of events has increased gradually increased from nine events to more than 80.

But despite adding more events to the schedule, PokerStars’ tournament team has always kept the entry fees high. Unlike the Spring Championship of Online Poker and MicroMillions which has buy-ins of $109 and below, WCOOP’s tournaments have always stayed above the $215 mark.

A Break from Tradition

However, in a bid to give more players a chance to join the action, the organizers have introduced a “low” schedule. Kicking off on September 4 and running almost in unison with the “high” schedule, the new events will cost between $11 and $109.

Despite potentially watering down the prestige attached to a WCOOP title, the innovation does fit well with PokerStars recent marketing moves.

The operator’s recent financials showed that 2017’s Q2 poker revenue was down by 5.9 percent year-on-year. In contrast, casino and sports betting revenue was up 50.2 percent during the same period.

These financial trends suggest that casual players and novices are now one the rise at PokerStars, while activity from seasoned players is on the slide. Based on this, the decision to offer a low stakes version of WCOOP may be an attempt to tap into this growing demographic and bolster the site’s poker revenues.

Smaller Stakes but Bigger Value

In addition to adding a host of new low stakes tournaments to the mix, the 2017 edition of WCOOP will feature more than $700,000 in added value courtesy of bonus tournament tickets. Moreover, the $5,200 Main Event will carry a guarantee of $10 million.

In 2016, WCOOP players won a record-breaking $73,504,875 in prize money with Germany’s llJaYJaYll taking home $1,517,541.25 after defeating 1,771 entrants in the Main Event. When this year’s festival comes to a close on September 26, the organizers will be hoping for another set of records to fall.

While the addition of low stakes tournaments may divide public opinion, it’s certainly an interesting twist and could prompt more players to ante-up than ever before.

For a look at the full schedule, click here.

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