PokerStars' fall Championship of Online Poker guarantees $2M in Pennsylvania, $1.5M in Michigan and $1M in New Jersey

PokerStars Kicks Off Synchronized US Championships This Week, As International WCOOP Winds Down

This coming weekend marks the Main Event for PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) for international players. As that series winds down, however, US players are about to get their own turn.

For the first time ever, PokerStars will be running its US Championships in fully concurrent fashion in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. All three series kick off this Friday, Sep. 10, and will run for more than two weeks before concluding on Sep. 27.

The similarities don’t end with the dates, either. In fact, the schedules for the Michigan and Pennsylvania series are nearly identical, save for their guarantees. The New Jersey schedule has some overlap as well, though it has fewer events overall and more significant differences.

As well as synchronizing the three series, PokerStars made one other big change this time around: It has added trophies! Each series has seven tournaments designated as Championship Trophy Events. The company didn’t release a preview of what the trophies will look like, but they’re presumably similar to those that it has been giving out for each event at the international WCOOP. This is the first time it has included such physical prizes for online events since it dropped the concept of WCOOP bracelets in 2016.

WCOOP Trophy

WCOOP 2021 Trophy / Credit: PokerStars

Michigan and Pennsylvania are near-identical

Based on the traffic enjoyed by its various sites and the history of previous series, PokerStars expects the Pennsylvania series – PACOOP – to be the largest of the three. It guarantees $2 million across 68 events for that series. The Michigan series – MICOOP – has almost as many events, at 67 total, but a more modest $1.5 million in combined guarantees. For New Jersey, NJCOOP consists of 60 events and guarantees just a hair over $1 million.

Those guarantees represent a $500,000 increase apiece for PACOOP and MICOOP, while NJCOOP‘s total is unchanged from last year. All three Main Events start on Sep. 26, feature a $300 buy-in, and have guarantees in proportion to the series totals: $200,000 for PACOOP, $150,000 for MICOOP and $100,000 for NJCOOP. Each is accompanied by a Mini Main Event with a $50 price tag.

Each series has the now-standard trio of promotions running:

  • $3 Spin & Go satellites
  • Second Chance Freerolls for players who bust any COOP event without cashing
  • Depositor Freerolls, offering the chance to win a Main Event entry on any deposit of $30 or more

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Differences between the three series

As mentioned, the Pennsylvania and Michigan series are almost identical. Aside from guarantees, the most notable difference is that the PACOOP schedule has one event that MICOOP does not. PACOOP-06 is a $150 buy-in NLHE event with Escalating Antes and a $35,000 guarantee.

The addition of that event means the event numbers are off by one, but for instance MICOOP-09 has the same buy-in and format as PACOOP-10, as do MICOOP-10 and PACOOP-11 and so on. Even some of the guarantees are the same, but most MICOOP events guarantee about 20-30% less than their PACOOP equivalent.

Aside from this, the only difference Online Poker Report noticed was one event which is 6-max in Pennsylvania but 8-max in Michigan.

NJCOOP has an identical first day (save for guarantees) to the other two, but departs from the formula after that. It even includes some formats that the others don’t, such as Rebuy, Bubble Rush and Win The Button.

Such similarities haven’t been the norm

It was also the case with this year’s Spring Championships that MISCOOP and PASCOOP were similar. That makes sense, as both are relatively new markets where PokerStars holds the lion’s share of traffic. Pennsylvania’s population is about 30% higher than Michigan’s, so the difference in guarantees follows naturally from that.

However, the spring series weren’t quite as similar as this month’s. Specifically, MISCOOP’s schedule had a few more game and format variants than PASCOOP’s.

More importantly, however, it hasn’t usually been the case that PokerStars runs the various state series concurrently. Although MISCOOP and NJSCOOP were simultaneous, PASCOOP took place earlier. Prior to that, PokerStars has generally taken the approach of staggering series in the three states. Sometimes they’ve taken place one after the another, while other times each series has started partway through the one before.

Is synchronization the first step to combination?

OPR has speculated that the reason for staggering series was to allow players to participate in more than one, if they’re willing to travel to do so. This is particularly easy for players in the Philadelphia area, since some of the city’s suburbs lie across the state line in New Jersey.

If that’s the case, though, why synchronize the series this time around? The answer probably has to do with the impending arrival of shared liquidity. Michigan officials have said they’re aiming to join the New Jersey-Nevada-Delaware compact, and may do so by year’s end. If that’s the case, then this will be the last run for MICOOP and NJCOOP, as they’ll surely be replaced by a combined series once the sites are sharing traffic.

Pennsylvania has been mum about its plans or lack thereof. However, the general expectation is that with federal interference out of the picture thanks to the outcome of the Wire Act case, the Keystone State will follow Michigan’s lead sooner or later.

This fall’s schedules may indicate optimism on the part of PokerStars in this regard. Smashing three different series into one would mean a big change for at least some of the sites, one which some players might object to. Making the three series as similar as possible ahead of time would soften the shock. This is of course pure speculation, but the timing makes sense.

Complete schedules for PACOOP, MICOOP and NJCOOP

Here are the full schedules for all three series. Because each is quite long, use the jump links below to skip to the one of your choice:

On all three schedules, events awarding a trophy have this marked in bold in the Format column.

PACOOP – $2 million guaranteed

#DateBuy-InGameFormatGTE
1Sep. 10$10NLHEVanilla$10k
2Sep. 10$100NLHEVanilla$25k
3Sep. 10$30NLHETurbo$7.5k
4Sep. 11$30NLHE/PLO8-Max$5k
5Sep. 11$50NLHE8-Max TROPHY$50k
6Sep. 11$150NLHEEscalating Antes$35k
7Sep. 11$500NLHE8-Max PKO$50k
8Sep. 11$50PL 5-Cd. Dr.Vanilla$5k
9Sep. 12$100NLHEMarathon$30k
10Sep. 12$100HORSE6-Max$7k
11Sep. 12$100NLHEVanilla$100k
12Sep. 12$100PLO8-Max$15k
13Sep. 12$500NLHE6-Max$50k
14Sep. 12$50NLHE8-Max Turbo$10k
15Sep. 12$75NLHE6-Max Hyp. PKO$10k
16Sep. 13$30NLHE6-Max Tb. PKO$12.5k
17Sep. 13$200NLHE6-Max PKO$40k
18Sep. 13$100PLO88-Max$10k
19Sep. 14$200NLHE8-Max Deep$50k
20Sep. 14$100FLHE6-Max$6k
21Sep. 14$50PLO6-Max PKO$8k
22Sep. 15$30NLHE6-Max$15k
23Sep. 15$100NLHESingle Re-Entry$20k
24Sep. 15$250NLHE6-Max TROPHY$40k
25Sep. 15$100NLHEHU Tb. PKO$25k
26Sep. 16$200NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$40k
27Sep. 16$75NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$20k
28Sep. 16$50Stud6-Max$4k
29Sep. 17$100NLHEPKO$30k
30Sep. 17$200NLHE4-Max$35k
31Sep. 18$30NLHEDeep$10k
32Sep. 18$100Stud Hi Lo6-Max$8k
33Sep. 18$50NLHE8-Max$20k
34Sep. 18$50NLHE8-Max PKO$20k
35Sep. 18$250PLO6-Max TROPHY$20k
36Sep. 18$100NLHE8-Max Tb. Zoom$20k
37Sep. 19$100NLHEDeep Marathon$30k
38Sep. 19$200NLHEVanilla$100k
39Sep. 19$30NLHEVanilla$20k
40Sep. 19$500NLHEVanilla$50k
41Sep. 19$100NLHE8-Max Turbo$17.5k
42Sep. 20$100NLHE6-Max PKO$30k
43Sep. 20$200NLHEFreezeout$20k
44Sep. 20$50NLHE8-Max Tb. Full PKO$12.5k
45Sep. 21$250NLHEVanilla$55k
46Sep. 21$50NLHE4-Max PKO$20k
47Sep. 21$75NLHETurbo$20k
48Sep. 22$100NLHE6-Max$30k
49Sep. 22$100NLHE6-Max Tb. Zoom$25k
50Sep. 23$250NLHEPKO TROPHY$55k
51Sep. 23$50NLO88-Max$5k
52Sep. 23$75NLHEPKO$20k
53Sep. 24$100NLHE4-Max$20k
54Sep. 24$200NLHE6-Max Tb. Deep$30k
55Sep. 24$20NLHEHU Tb. Full PKO Zm.$7.5k
56Sep. 25$75NLHEDeep$20k
57Sep. 25$200NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$30k
58Sep. 25$50NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$20k
59Sep. 25$1005-Card PLO6-Max$10k
60Sep. 26$100NLHEDeep Marathon$25k
61Sep. 26$300NLHEMain Event TROPHY$200k
62Sep. 26$50NLHEMini Main Event$40k
63Sep. 26$1,000 NLHE8-Max TROPHY$75k
64Sep. 26$100NLHE6-Max Hyp. Deep$15k
65Sep. 27$100NLHE8-Max$40k
66Sep. 27$10NLHE8-Max$5k
67Sep. 27$50NLHEPhased$50k
68Sep. 27$2008-GameTROPHY$20k
69Sep. 27$150NLHE7-Max Turbo$20k

MICOOP – $1.5 million guaranteed

#DateBuy-InGameFormatGTE
1Sep. 10$10NLHEVanilla$10k
2Sep. 10$100NLHEVanilla$20k
3Sep. 10$30NLHETurbo$6k
4Sep. 11$30NLHE/PLO8-Max$4k
5Sep. 11$100NLHE8-Max TROPHY$50k
6Sep. 11$500NLHE8-Max PKO$40k
7Sep. 11$50PL 5-Cd. Dr.Vanilla$4k
8Sep. 12$100NLHEMarathon$25k
9Sep. 12$100HORSE6-Max$6k
10Sep. 12$100NLHEVanilla$75k
11Sep. 12$100PLO8-Max$12k
12Sep. 12$500NLHE6-Max$40k
13Sep. 12$50NLHE8-Max$8.5k
14Sep. 12$75NLHE6-Max Hyp. PKO$8k
15Sep. 13$30NLHE6-Max Tb. PKO$10k
16Sep. 13$200NLHE6-Max PKO$30k
17Sep. 13$100PLO88-Max$8k
18Sep. 14$200NLHE8-Max Deep$32.5k
19Sep. 14$100FLHE6-Max$5k
20Sep. 14$50PLO6-Max PKO$7k
21Sep. 15$30NLHE6-Max$12k
22Sep. 15$100NLHESingle Re-Entry$15k
23Sep. 15$250NLHE6-Max TROPHY$30k
24Sep. 15$100NLHEHU Tb. PKO$10k
25Sep. 16$200NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$22.5k
26Sep. 16$75NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$15k
27Sep. 16$50Stud6-Max$3k
28Sep. 17$100NLHEPKO$20k
29Sep. 17$200NLHE4-Max$25k
30Sep. 18$30NLHEDeep$8.5k
31Sep. 18$100Stud Hi/Lo6-Max$6.5k
32Sep. 18$50NLHE8-Max$15k
33Sep. 18$50NLHE8-Max PKO$15k
34Sep. 18$250PLO6-Max TROPHY$15k
35Sep. 18$100NLHE8-Max Tb. Zoom$17.5k
36Sep. 19$100NLHEDeep Marathon$25k
37Sep. 19$200NLHEVanilla$90k
38Sep. 19$30NLHEVanilla$15k
39Sep. 19$500NLHEVanilla$40k
40Sep. 19$100NLHE8-Max Turbo$12.5k
41Sep. 20$100NLHE6-Max PKO$25k
42Sep. 20$200NLHEFreezeout$15k
43Sep. 20$50NLHE8-Max Tb. Full PKO$10k
44Sep. 21$250NLHEVanilla$40k
45Sep. 21$50NLHE4-Max PKO$5k
46Sep. 21$75NLHETurbo$12.5k
47Sep. 22$100NLHE6-Max$25k
48Sep. 22$50NLHE8-Max Tb. Zoom$10k
49Sep. 23$250NLHEPKO TROPHY$40k
50Sep. 23$50NLO88-Max$4k
51Sep. 23$75NLHEPKO$15k
52Sep. 24$100NLHE4-Max$17.5k
53Sep. 24$200NLHE6-Max Tb. Deep$20k
54Sep. 24$20NLHEHU Tb. Full PKO Zm.$6k
55Sep. 25$75NLHEDeep$15k
56Sep. 25$200NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$25k
57Sep. 25$50NLHE8-Max PKO Deep$15k
58Sep. 25$1005-Card PLO6-Max$8.5k
59Sep. 26$100NLHEDeep Marathon$25k
60Sep. 26$300NLHEMain Event TROPHY$150k
61Sep. 26$50NLHEMini Main Event$30k
62Sep. 26$1,000 NLHE8-Max TROPHY$60k
63Sep. 26$100NLHE6-Max Hyp. Deep$10k
64Sep. 27$100NLHE8-Max$30k
65Sep. 27$10NLHE8-Max$4k
66Sep. 27$50NLHEPhased$40k
67Sep. 27$2008-GameTROPHY$15k
68Sep. 27$150NLHE7-Max Turbo$15k

NJCOOP – $1 million guaranteed

#DateBuy-InGameFormatGTE
1Sep. 10$10NLHEVanilla$5k
2Sep. 10$100NLHEVanilla$8k
3Sep. 10$50NLHETurbo$6k
4Sep. 11$100NLHE8-Max TROPHY$25k
5Sep. 11$300NLHE6-Max$22.5k
6Sep. 11$75NLHE6-Max Tb. Zoom$12.5k
7Sep. 12$200NLHE8-Max Deep$25k
8Sep. 12$150NLHE8-Max PKO$20k
9Sep. 12$250NLHEVanilla$45k
10Sep. 12$30NLHEVanilla$12.5k
11Sep. 12$100PLO6-Max$7.5k
12Sep. 12$150NLHE6-Max Hyper$10k
13Sep. 13$100NLHE4-Max PKO$20k
14Sep. 13$75PLO88-Max Rebuy$10k
15Sep. 14$250NLHETROPHY$35k
16Sep. 14$30NLHEVanilla$10k
17Sep. 14$150NLHEEscalating Antes$15k
18Sep. 14$100NLHEBubble Rush$10k
19Sep. 15$100NLHEPKO$20k
20Sep. 15$1,000 NLHE6-Max TROPHY$40k
21Sep. 15$150NLHE6-Max$15k
22Sep. 16$200NLHEPKO Deep$20k
23Sep. 16$20NLHEPKO Deep$5k
24Sep. 16$100NLHE8-Max Turbo$8k
25Sep. 17$3008-GameTROPHY$15k
26Sep. 17$200NLHE6-Max Tb. PKO Deep$10k
27Sep. 18$100NLHE8-Max Deep$12.5k
28Sep. 18$300NLHE8-Max PKO$20k
29Sep. 18$100NLO88-Max$6k
30Sep. 18$100NLHE7-Max Turbo$7.5k
31Sep. 19$100NLHEMarathon$10k
32Sep. 19$100NLHE/PLO6-Max$6.5k
33Sep. 19$150NLHE6-Max PKO Big Antes$20k
34Sep. 19$300NLHETROPHY$50k
35Sep. 19$200NLHEPKO$25k
36Sep. 19$100NLHE6-Max Hyper$8.5k
37Sep. 20$300NLHE4-Max PKO$22.5k
38Sep. 20$100HORSE6-Max$6.5k
39Sep. 21$200NLHE8-Max Deep$32.5k
40Sep. 21$20NLHE8-Max Deep$7.5k
41Sep. 21$50NLHE6-Max Total PKO$7k
42Sep. 22$30NLHE6-Max$10k
43Sep. 22$200NLHEVanilla$17.5k
44Sep. 23$250NLHE8-Max PKO TROPHY$30k
45Sep. 23$30NLHE8-Max PKO$7.5k
46Sep. 23$150NLHETurbo$15k
47Sep. 24$200FLHE6-Max$6.5k
48Sep. 24$200NLHE6-Max Hyp. Dp.$10k
49Sep. 25$200NLHE6-Max PKO$17.5k
50Sep. 25$20NLHE6-Max PKO$5k
51Sep. 26$100NLHEBig Antes$12k
52Sep. 26$300NLHEMain Event TROPHY$100k
53Sep. 26$50NLHEMini Main Event$22.5k
54Sep. 26$100NLHE6-Max Win the Button$10k
55Sep. 26$200NLHE8-Max Turbo$12k
56Sep. 26$75NLHE6-Max Hyper$8.5k
57Sep. 27$100NLHE8-Max$20k
58Sep. 27$20NLHE8-Max$5k
59Sep. 27$150NLHE8-Max Turbo$10k
60Sep. 27$100NLHEHU Tb. Total PKO Zm.$7.5k
- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for OnlinePokerReport, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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