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The Biggest Online Poker Tournaments

By Sam Welch in Poker
| April 7, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Sunday Million Logo WCOOP Logo and Poker Online

Poker boomed in the mid-2000s and is continuing to grow today. When the old brass of the World Series of Poker was taken down by a new wave of fresh, college-aged kids, David Williams was perhaps the most shining example.

Making the Main Event table in 2004, David had a look and attitude that no one at the WSOP had seen before. His charisma and skill combined with his rookie status left many wondering, “How did he get here?” The answer: the internet.

With the internet still niche at the time, very few were aware of how powerful the tool was.

While smoke-filled rooms were still the backdrop for many major poker plays, a new class was cutting their teeth on tables online. Many, like David Williams, came from a gaming background. Before becoming a world-class poker player, Williams was handling cards professionally as a Magic: the Gathering player.

This new generation was developing skill quickly and looked poised to take over the world of poker. And take over they did. Fourteen years later, the prestige of online poker has come to rival even the biggest casinos and poker series. It would be silly for a poker player with any ambition to avoid online tables, as they are where the best of the best play.

Of course, as the industry grew, so did the pot. Now, online tournaments are handing out prizes that compete with the World Series itself.

The PokerStars Sunday Million

The Sunday Million is the world’s biggest online poker tournament, full stop.

Broadcast on their website, this tournament has a guaranteed pot of $1 million, with first prizes stretching beyond $150,000 regularly.

After becoming the biggest online poker tournament with a prize pool once in excess of $1.3 million, the PokerStars Sunday Million has gained quite a bit of prestige. Week in and week out, the best of the best can be seen competing at the top tables of this tournament.

Getting there is no small task. The cheapest way to enter is through PokerStars Satellites, which run constantly throughout the week. Satellite entry costs as little as 55 cents or a small amount of PokerStars’ own currency “StarCoin.”

Competitors can skip qualification and simply buy in, though the cost is steep. At $215, competitors should be confident before entering this tournament.

PokerStars is hosted from the Isle of Man, off the coast of Britain. You can enter their tournaments, including the Sunday Million, from anywhere that real money betting is legal. The Sunday Million is a No Limit Hold‘em tournament, making it one of the most cutthroat tables to play at.

There are often bounties placed on players and tables, upping the stakes even higher. The tournament generally fires at 2 PM EST each Sunday.

PokerStars will soon be celebrating their 11th anniversary, as well, and the company is throwing a special event in honor of this. On Sunday, April 2nd, 2018, the PokerStars Sunday Million will be upped to a guaranteed prize pool of $10 million.

The event is sure to attract many of the biggest names in poker and will (as always) be viewable from PokerStar.tv.

World Championship of Online Poker

Also produced by PokerStars is the World Championship of Online Poker, or WCOOP. Running every September since 2002, the WCOOP has become one of the largest poker series ever. In 2005, the prize pool jumped to $12,783,900, making WCOOP the biggest online poker tournament ever, and the third biggest poker series ever, online or otherwise.

As the name would imply, the WCOOP sees players from all around the world. In the past 7 years, winners have hailed from the United States, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

If the player quality at the WCOOP didn’t make things tough enough, the event is designed to be one of the most skill-testing poker events ever. Players play almost every poker variant including:

  • Badugi
  • 2-7 Single Draw
  • 2-7 Triple Draw
  • 5 Card Draw
  • H.O.R.S.E
  • Pot Limit Omaha High
  • Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Razz
  • Seven Card Stud
  • Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo
  • and (of course) Limit
  • Pot Limit
  • and No Limit Texas Hold’em

Much like the Sunday Million, the main event of the WCOOP is No Limit Texas Hold’em.

You can enter the WCOOP with a $5,200 buy-in, through Spin & Go, or through Satellite Qualifiers. The exact date for the 2018 WCOOP is yet to be announced, but it will take place in September.

Why You Should Be Aware of The Biggest Online Poker Tournaments

If you are a poker player, these events should unquestionably be on your radar. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of these events is that they are open to the public. Yes, the price is steep, but not entirely unachievable. And with no travel costs involved, joining in the competition is as simple as clicking a button.

If you are a spectator or looking for a bet without all the checks and raises, you should also have your eye on these events. With hundreds of players and millions of dollars on the line, these events are where the big dogs now come to play.

It won’t be long until the WCOOP eclipses the World Series of Poker. PokerStars.tv is currently where stars are made. The fanfare surrounding the event, the flashy production, and the prestige the event has created can create a new poker phenomenon in an instant.

The internet is undoubtedly the new home of poker. People are stepping away from casinos and into the comfort of their own home, while the competition only grows sharper. Additionally, moves from several large states in the US to legalize real money online betting will help increase the popularity.

New Jersey has allowed online betting, even garnering their own PokerStars division, and it seems that New York will soon follow suit. As the opportunity for it grows, online poker tournaments are set to take over the world of card games.



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