20th Edition of PokerStars WCOOP Awards $126.5m in Prizes, Most in Series History

  • 306 tournaments attracted more than 1.4 entries
  • The $5,200 “High” NLH Main Event had a $10m prize pool, $175,000 in overlay
  • Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi won three tournaments and the Player of the Series award
  • Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins won three events for the second straight year
  • Players in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have their own COOPs right now
PokerStars WCOOP 2021 logo
PokerStars guaranteed $100m in prize money for the 2021 World Championship of Online Poker, but the 1.4 million entries easily toppled that, generating $126.5m in prizes. [Image: PokerStars]

Over 1.4 million tourney entries

The 20th annual PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) wrapped up this past week, concluding the largest WCOOP in the series’ two-decade run. PokerStars guaranteed a total of $100m in prize pools across the 102 events, but more than 1.4 million tournament entries helped the combined prizes easily eclipse that, coming to $126,543,330.

Each event had three buy-in levels – Low, Medium, and High – giving players of all bankrolls an opportunity to participate. Thus, there were 306 tournaments in all.

blessing the participants with $175,000 in overlay

The Main Events had three of the top four prize pools in the 2021 WCOOP, with the $5,200 “High” No-Limit Hold’em 8-Max Main Event topping the list, awarding $10m in prize money. Its guarantee was also $10m and with 1,965 entries, it came just shy of meeting that mark, blessing the participants with $175,000 in overlay. “CrazyLissy” ended up winning the prestigious event, pocketing a few bucks shy of $1.5m.

The $530 “Medium” Main Event had the second-largest prize pool at $3,891,500, destroying its $2.5m guarantee. “festen x” won it for $549,000. The $55 “Low” buy-in version of the event had the fourth-largest prize pool of the 2021 WCOOP, coming in at $2,014,550 to beat its guarantee by about half a million dollars. Its champ was “pagan_junior,” who won $180,177 after a final table deal.

Talal Shakerchi shines

Though anyone would be thrilled to win one of the Main Events, the real star of the 2021 WCOOP was the UK’s Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi, who won three tournaments and finished atop the overall WCOOP leader board to claim the Player of the Series title. For that, he won an additional $25,000. Shakerchi also won the High buy-in leader board and another $15,000.

Winning three events is an amazing feat, but maybe even more incredibly, Shakerchi was not the only one to do it this year. Brazil’s Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins not only claimed a trio of victories, but he also became the first player in history to do so in two consecutive WCOOPs.

Thirteen players won two 2021 WCOOP tournaments, including Joao “Naza114” Vieira, who was one of two players to get to heads-up in four events. The other was Pedro “pvigar” Garagnani, who won once. Shakerchi and Martins both won all three of their heads-up battles.

And it should come as no surprise that the country with the most tournament wins was Brazil with 57. Brazil set the WCOOP for titles last year with 35, so needless to say, Brazilians put their own record way back in the rearview mirror. Russia also broke the previous record, grabbing 37 trophies.

US COOPs happening right now

Unfortunately for most poker players in the United States, the best they could do during the WCOOP was read daily updates, as they cannot play on the “dot com” version of PokerStars. PokerStars is available, however, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and as such, each state currently holding their own “COOP” from September 10 through September 27.

Across all three states, PokerStars is guaranteeing $4.5m in prize pools.

Across all three states, PokerStars is guaranteeing $4.5m in prize pools. Nearly half of that – $2m – is in the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP). Michigan’s version (MICOOP) has $1.5m in guarantees, while New Jersey’s (NJCOOP) has $1m. The three US-based COOPs have 69, 68, and 60 events, respectively.

Each COOP’s two-day Main Event has a $300 buy-in and begins on September 26. The guarantee for the PACOOP Main Event is $200,000, for MICOOP it’s $150,000, and for NJCOOP it’s $100,000. Each Main Event winner, plus the winners of six other events in each state, will also receive a trophy.

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