As the 2020 World Championship of Poker nears its conclusion, PokerStars has already paid almost $100 million in prize money to winning players in the series. Even so, Stars executives may be somewhat disappointed in this year’s numbers.
The three main events are set to conclude on Wednesday, but the key numbers for the series are already in.
Thanks to the Low, Medium, and High WCOOP main events, another $15.5 million was added to the series’ prize pool on Monday. That means this year’s overall payout stands at $99,939,230.
More than One Million Players Enjoy WCOOP
Despite the WSOP Online and WPT World Online Championships taking place at similar times, WCOOP 2020 still attracted more than one million entries. When the final registration periods ended Monday, the total number of entrants across the entire series hit 1,119,186.
Those figures put WCOOP 2020 on par with its 2018 counterpart and ahead of the 2017 festival. However, this year’s series failed to surpass what PokerStars achieved in 2019.
WCOOP by the Numbers
- WCOOP 2017: Total Prize pool = $90.6 million – Total Number of Entries = 677,000
- WCOOP 2018: Total Prize pool = $99.5 million – Total Number of Entries = 1,101,677
- WCOOP 2019: Total Prize pool = $104.7 million – Total Number of Entries = 1,219,969
- WCOOP 2020: Total Prize pool = $99.9 million – Total Number of Entries = 1,148,057
PokerStars may not have continued its tradition of breaking records, but 2020 hasn’t been a normal year. COVID-19 lockdowns radically altered the tournament scene over the last six months, with live events making way for digital offerings.
The emergence of new options has, according to the numbers, been detrimental to WCOOP. Although it hasn’t suffered a catastrophic downswing, it didn’t have the pulling power it had in 2019. Moreover, WCOOP no longer had a monopoly on big-money online festivals.
Competition Challenges WCOOP’s Status
The WSOP’s online series paid out almost $150 million in prize money this summer, while the WPT World Online Championships is on course to breach the $100 million barrier. Having three MTT series all taking place at the same time, and coming close to, or exceeding the $100 million mark, is unprecedented.
The upside for players is obvious, but there’s no doubt the recent dynamics have challenged WCOOP’s hold on the market. The question is whether the events of 2020 have altered the online tournament landscape for good.
If the WSOP and WPT decide to rerun their online events next year, PokerStars will have to respond. How much bigger and better can WCOOP become? That’s an unknown that only time will tell.
PokerStars’ WCOOP has been around since 2002 and, over the years, it’s become one of poker’s premier events. However, with WPT titles and bracelets now available online to a global audience, we may be witnessing a changing of the guard.