PokerStars is introducing another online poker tournament series, announcing that players from three countries will be able to participate in SECOOP – the Southern Europe Championship of Online Poker – later this fall.
SECOOP will be open to players in France, Spain, and Portugal, three countries that share liquidity in their online poker markets. Tournaments run from Oct. 28 through Nov. 12.
A COOP for Europe
The new series follows in the tradition of other “COOP” events that have become the signature festivals for PokerStars. The largest examples – both open to those who can play on the global version of the poker site – are the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP).
Players in some regulated markets don’t have access to the global site, however. SECOOP aims to remedy this by giving players on PokerStars Europe a similar experience to WCOOP, if on a slightly smaller scale.
The series will feature a total of 149 events and €10 million in guaranteed prizes. Three Platinum Passes to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas in January 2019 will also be awarded through various methods.
SECOOP will culminate in a €250 Main Event on Nov. 11, which will feature a €1 million guarantee.
“We are happy to transform our renowned COOP series into a COOP specifically for our players in Southern Europe that will allow them to compete for bigger prize pools in prestigious tournaments,” Severin Rasset, director of poker innovation and operations for PokerStars, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing everyone playing at the SECOOP virtual felt.”
Alongside SECOOP, PokerStars also announced an Italian Championship of Online Poker (ICOOP), which will feature 68 events and €4 million in guaranteed prize pools over the same two-week period.
SECOOP Shows Strength of Shared Player Pools
Presuming it goes off successfully, the SECOOP name will probably bring added prestige to the tournaments in this series, as it has in the case of other COOP festivals. But this isn’t the first time that PokerStars has shown that the shared player pool in France, Spain, and Portugal is capable of generating major tournaments with enticing guarantees.
In August and September, PokerStars held the Galactic Series, a tournament series that ultimately awarded nearly €17 million in prize money. The main event of that series had a €1.5 million guarantee – 50 percent larger than the SECOOP Main Event.
The success of the Galactic Series and the anticipation for SECOOP have helped confirm what the poker industry has long preached: that while online poker can thrive in regulated markets, shared player pools are key to generate enough liquidity to keep the poker room ecosystem healthy.
That has certainly been the case for PokerStars Europe. According to PokerScout, the site ranks third in the world in traffic, averaging 1,800 players at its cash game tables over the past week. That trails only the global PokerStars site and Asian online poker giant IDNPoker.