The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) held at PokerStars is the most anticipated online tournament series in the industry. Every year, thousands come out in droves to play in mid and high stakes tournaments for ridiculous paydays and overnight fortunes. This time around, however, there is a lucrative wrinkle to the series that is sure to make waves with players. For the first time at the 2014 WCOOP, four players will be mentored by stellar Team PokerStars Pros as their protégés.
Win Big, Learn Much
Four winners will be awarded the opportunity of a lifetime by receiving training from four of the most popular and successful players in the game today. Andre Akkari, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, and Vanessa Selbst, who boast four WCOOP titles between themselves, will be the instructors offering wisdom to the lucky winners.
Not only will these fortunate players receive training, they will also be awarded free entry into three World Championship events, including the $5,200 Main Event. The four finalists will also fight it out to win the Grand Prize of the promotion, which is a 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package.
“This is going to be a fun and incredible experience for four players. They’ll get some great training with in-depth strategy discussion from four Team PokerStars Pros that should really help their games going into the World Championship events,” Vanessa Selbst said of the mentoring concept.
How to Qualify for the Promotion
The competition started on July 20 and runs through August 3, with four daily $5.50 tournaments that correspond to a qualifier for each of the four mentors-to-be. The tournaments break down every day as the following:
13.00 ET – Eugene Protégé Qualifier
14.00 ET – ElkY Protégé Qualifier
17.00 ET – Vanessa Protégé Qualifier
18.00 ET – Andre Protégé Qualifier
There is a prize pool for each of these tournaments, and on top of the cash, the top two finishers in each tournament are then allowed to make a one-minute video directed to the appropriate Team Pro mentor. The applicant will give their reasons why they should be chosen to become a protégé. Each Team Pro will then shorten their list down to their two favorites and the eight finalists will be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. From there, it’s up to the public to vote and decide who the final four will be to win the promotion.
Once the four are chosen, they will receive training from their mentor. PokerStars will also be charting the progress of each of the four throughout the 2014 WCOOP. The protégé with the most amount of money earned during the tournament series that they received entries into will win the 2015 PCA Grand Prize package.
About the Mentors
Vanessa Selbst is one of the most successful players on the tournament scene these days. Having gained fame for Pot Limit Omaha coaching and a run of impressive finishes in both live and online tournaments and cash games, Selbst has broken through to poker’s elite in recent years. She has three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, eight final table finishes, and finished 73rd in 2012 at the Main Event. She has two final table runs at the World Poker Tour and according to Internet poker databases, is the all-time money winner for players hailing out of the state of New York.
Bertrand Grospellier, otherwise known as ElkY, was an accomplished StarCraft player in South Korea before turning to the world of poker. Now, he’s the winner of a WSOP bracelet, a WPT title, and EPT title, and countless online tournaments. He has the distinction of being the first person ever to reach both “Supernova” and “Supernova Elite” statuses on PokerStars, having done so in two weeks and four months respectively.
Andre Akkari is a Brazillian poker player and has been a member of Team PokerStars Pro for a number of years. He won the 2011 WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event and has almost $1 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. He is also an active figure in the poker community in his native Brazil.
Eugene Katchalov was born in Ukraine, but raised in Brooklyn. While he has a degree in business from NYU, he turned to poker and won the biggest payout of any non-championship event when he took down the 2007 Five Diamond Classic at the World Poker Tour for more than $2.4 million. Since then, he’s also won a WSOP bracelet and had 30 in-the-money finishes.