The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on PokerStars enters its final weekend this week and that can only mean one thing:
It’s Main Event time.
The $10,300 buy-in event has $6 million guaranteed and starts on Sunday. It’s sure to be one of the biggest online tournaments of the year, full of the best of the best.
(And if your bankroll doesn’t stretch that far, don’t worry: there are $109 and $1,050 buy-in Main Events, too, plus tons of satellites running).
Let’s have a look through the WCOOP Main Event winners we’ve seen over the past 20 years.
Perhaps you’ll add your name to the list next week.
The first iteration of the WCOOP took place in 2002, a year after PokerStars was founded.
The series had just nine events back then and it was long before the three-tier buy-in structure was introduced. The series culminated in a $1,050 Main Event–the biggest buy-in of the series–and received a modest 238 entries.
But remember, this was pre-Moneymaker and the poker boom.
The Main was won by “MultiMarine” of Sweden for $65,450.
The second WCOOP saw 11 events played and entry numbers were up significantly.
The $1050 Main Event was won by Joseph “DeOhGee” Cordi of the USA for $222,750. According to his Hendon Mob, Cordi has $722,176 in live career earnings, most notably finishing fifth in a $10K at Ceasers Palace for $177,382 in 2008. He also finished third in the WPT $25K Five-Star World Poker Classic in 2005 for $150,970.
The 2004 series increased to 12 events while the Main Event buy-in more than doubled to $2,600.
It was won by Norway’s Edgar “Ragde” Skjervold for $424,945 after he outlasted the 843-entry field. Skjervold has $300,784 in live career earnings, the lion’s share of which came from his runner-up finish at EPT Copenhagen in 2006 for $227,393.
A total of 15 events were played in 2005 and the $2,600 buy-in Main Event was the biggest yet, getting 1,494 entries.
Jordan “Panella86” Berkowitz took it down for $577,342. A young poker prodigy, Berkowitz was held in high esteem by the poker community. Here’s an article on him from Phillymag.com outlining how he drove an $85K BMW and wore a Tag Heuer wristwatch.
“Not bad for a kid who still lives at home with his mom.”
The 2006 WCOOP was bumped up to 18 events.
Well-known live pro J.C. Tran, known on PokerStars as “area23JC”, won the $2,600 buy-in big one for $670,194 and continues to have a successful career to this day, with WPT titles, WSOP Main Event final tables, and more than $13 million in live winnings on his resume.
By 2007 the WCOOP featured 23 events and the 2,998-entry, $2,600 buy-in Main Event was perhaps the most interesting yet.
Mark “TheV0id” Teltscher took it down but was later disqualified when it was discovered he’d used multiple accounts in the same tournament.
That meant original runner-up Chris “kas$ino” Lee was the champ, good for a massive $1.37 million.
We were well into the poker boom by 2008 and the WCOOP was up to 33 events.
The Main Event buy-in was doubled again to $5,200 and Carter “ckingusc” King won the $1.26 million first-place prize, defeating the 2,185-runner field. King also has more than $400K in live earnings to date.
Now boasting 45 events, the 2009 WCOOP was the biggest yet.
And the $5,200 Main Event was also the largest we’d seen. It got 2,144 entries and the first place prize was an incredible $1.71 million.
That went to Yevgeniy “Jovial Gent” Timoshenko, a successful poker pro who now has $7.8 million in live earnings, including WPT and Aussie Millions high roller titles.
You guessed it. 2010 was the biggest yet with 62 events. Even Phil Ivey won a title.
The biggest WCOOP Main Event in history took place that year and it was Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks of the USA who beat the 2,443-entry field to win a staggering $2.27 million.
The first WCOOP after Black Friday continued the 62 event schedule, but understandably, the fields were smaller across the board.
Denmark’s Thomas “Kallllle” Pedersen won the big one–which had 1,627 entries–for $1.26 million.
Three words made this year’s WCOOP extra special:
“I wont million”.
That’s what Russia’s Marat “maratik” Sharafutdinov typed in the chat when the final players from the 1,825-entry tournament were discussing a deal.
Ultimately he got his wish and took it down for $1,000,907.
Germany’s David “PlayinWasted” Kaufmann became the world champ in 2013, overcoming the 2,133 entries to win it all for $1.49 million.
Kaufmann rarely plays poker these days and instead sits on the national board of The Humanists, a German news organisation.
You’ll be very familiar with this year’s champ.
A young Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz enjoyed breakout success when he beat 2,142 others to win the WCOOP Main Event for $1.3 million.
Soon after he’d go on one of the biggest heaters in poker history.
The 2015 edition got 1,995 entries and again created a $1.3 million first-place prize.
It was Belgium’s Kristof “Coenaldinho7” Coenen who emerged victorious. Coenen continues to play in high-stakes online tournaments.
Another German topped the Main in 2016, defeating 2,091 other entries.
Jonas “llJaYJaYll” Lauck was the last player standing and banked more than $1.5 million for his efforts. Lauck continues to be a successful poker pro and won his first WSOP bracelet in 2019.
Steven “SvZff” van Zadelhoff was crowned champion in 2017 when he outlasted the 2,183-entry field to win $1.62 million.
The Dutchman remains a force in tournament poker and has more than $2.5 million in live earnings.
For the second consecutive year the WCOOP Main Event was won by a player from the Netherlands.
This time it was “wann2play” who grabbed the title and $1.35 million.
The UK’s Fraser “BigBlindBets” Russell was predominantly a high-stakes cash game player prior to the 2019 WCOOP Main Event.
He put his deep-stack knowledge to good use and ended up the champion, winning more than $1.66 million in the process.
The title returned to the Netherlands in 2020 when Andres “PTFisherman23” Marques came out on top of the 1,977-entry field.
Marques won $1.14 million and continues to battle at the high stakes online.
The reigning WCOOP Main Event is champion is very well known to grinders, but not so much to poker fans.
Not much is known about Russia’s “CrazyLissy” aside from the fact they’ve been crushing for years.
They took down the most recent edition for just shy of $1.5 million after the event attracted 1,965 total entries.
How big will it get this year?
We’ll find out when registration closes on Monday.
Best of luck to everyone playing!