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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
|5||Sep. 11||$50||NLHE||8-Max TROPHY||$50k|
|6||Sep. 11||$150||NLHE||Escalating Antes||$35k|
|7||Sep. 11||$500||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$50k|
|8||Sep. 11||$50||PL 5-Cd. Dr.||Vanilla||$5k|
|14||Sep. 12||$50||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$10k|
|15||Sep. 12||$75||NLHE||6-Max Hyp. PKO||$10k|
|16||Sep. 13||$30||NLHE||6-Max Tb. PKO||$12.5k|
|17||Sep. 13||$200||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$40k|
|19||Sep. 14||$200||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$50k|
|21||Sep. 14||$50||PLO||6-Max PKO||$8k|
|23||Sep. 15||$100||NLHE||Single Re-Entry||$20k|
|24||Sep. 15||$250||NLHE||6-Max TROPHY||$40k|
|25||Sep. 15||$100||NLHE||HU Tb. PKO||$25k|
|26||Sep. 16||$200||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$40k|
|27||Sep. 16||$75||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$20k|
|32||Sep. 18||$100||Stud Hi Lo||6-Max||$8k|
|34||Sep. 18||$50||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$20k|
|35||Sep. 18||$250||PLO||6-Max TROPHY||$20k|
|36||Sep. 18||$100||NLHE||8-Max Tb. Zoom||$20k|
|37||Sep. 19||$100||NLHE||Deep Marathon||$30k|
|41||Sep. 19||$100||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$17.5k|
|42||Sep. 20||$100||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$30k|
|44||Sep. 20||$50||NLHE||8-Max Tb. Full PKO||$12.5k|
|46||Sep. 21||$50||NLHE||4-Max PKO||$20k|
|49||Sep. 22||$100||NLHE||6-Max Tb. Zoom||$25k|
|50||Sep. 23||$250||NLHE||PKO TROPHY||$55k|
|54||Sep. 24||$200||NLHE||6-Max Tb. Deep||$30k|
|55||Sep. 24||$20||NLHE||HU Tb. Full PKO Zm.||$7.5k|
|57||Sep. 25||$200||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$30k|
|58||Sep. 25||$50||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$20k|
|59||Sep. 25||$100||5-Card PLO||6-Max||$10k|
|60||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||Deep Marathon||$25k|
|61||Sep. 26||$300||NLHE||Main Event TROPHY||$200k|
|62||Sep. 26||$50||NLHE||Mini Main Event||$40k|
|63||Sep. 26||$1,000||NLHE||8-Max TROPHY||$75k|
|64||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||6-Max Hyp. Deep||$15k|
|69||Sep. 27||$150||NLHE||7-Max Turbo||$20k|
|5||Sep. 11||$100||NLHE||8-Max TROPHY||$50k|
|6||Sep. 11||$500||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$40k|
|7||Sep. 11||$50||PL 5-Cd. Dr.||Vanilla||$4k|
|14||Sep. 12||$75||NLHE||6-Max Hyp. PKO||$8k|
|15||Sep. 13||$30||NLHE||6-Max Tb. PKO||$10k|
|16||Sep. 13||$200||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$30k|
|18||Sep. 14||$200||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$32.5k|
|20||Sep. 14||$50||PLO||6-Max PKO||$7k|
|22||Sep. 15||$100||NLHE||Single Re-Entry||$15k|
|23||Sep. 15||$250||NLHE||6-Max TROPHY||$30k|
|24||Sep. 15||$100||NLHE||HU Tb. PKO||$10k|
|25||Sep. 16||$200||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$22.5k|
|26||Sep. 16||$75||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$15k|
|31||Sep. 18||$100||Stud Hi/Lo||6-Max||$6.5k|
|33||Sep. 18||$50||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$15k|
|34||Sep. 18||$250||PLO||6-Max TROPHY||$15k|
|35||Sep. 18||$100||NLHE||8-Max Tb. Zoom||$17.5k|
|36||Sep. 19||$100||NLHE||Deep Marathon||$25k|
|40||Sep. 19||$100||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$12.5k|
|41||Sep. 20||$100||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$25k|
|43||Sep. 20||$50||NLHE||8-Max Tb. Full PKO||$10k|
|45||Sep. 21||$50||NLHE||4-Max PKO||$5k|
|48||Sep. 22||$50||NLHE||8-Max Tb. Zoom||$10k|
|49||Sep. 23||$250||NLHE||PKO TROPHY||$40k|
|53||Sep. 24||$200||NLHE||6-Max Tb. Deep||$20k|
|54||Sep. 24||$20||NLHE||HU Tb. Full PKO Zm.||$6k|
|56||Sep. 25||$200||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$25k|
|57||Sep. 25||$50||NLHE||8-Max PKO Deep||$15k|
|58||Sep. 25||$100||5-Card PLO||6-Max||$8.5k|
|59||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||Deep Marathon||$25k|
|60||Sep. 26||$300||NLHE||Main Event TROPHY||$150k|
|61||Sep. 26||$50||NLHE||Mini Main Event||$30k|
|62||Sep. 26||$1,000||NLHE||8-Max TROPHY||$60k|
|63||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||6-Max Hyp. Deep||$10k|
|68||Sep. 27||$150||NLHE||7-Max Turbo||$15k|
|4||Sep. 11||$100||NLHE||8-Max TROPHY||$25k|
|6||Sep. 11||$75||NLHE||6-Max Tb. Zoom||$12.5k|
|7||Sep. 12||$200||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$25k|
|8||Sep. 12||$150||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$20k|
|12||Sep. 12||$150||NLHE||6-Max Hyper||$10k|
|13||Sep. 13||$100||NLHE||4-Max PKO||$20k|
|14||Sep. 13||$75||PLO8||8-Max Rebuy||$10k|
|17||Sep. 14||$150||NLHE||Escalating Antes||$15k|
|18||Sep. 14||$100||NLHE||Bubble Rush||$10k|
|20||Sep. 15||$1,000||NLHE||6-Max TROPHY||$40k|
|22||Sep. 16||$200||NLHE||PKO Deep||$20k|
|23||Sep. 16||$20||NLHE||PKO Deep||$5k|
|24||Sep. 16||$100||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$8k|
|26||Sep. 17||$200||NLHE||6-Max Tb. PKO Deep||$10k|
|27||Sep. 18||$100||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$12.5k|
|28||Sep. 18||$300||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$20k|
|30||Sep. 18||$100||NLHE||7-Max Turbo||$7.5k|
|33||Sep. 19||$150||NLHE||6-Max PKO Big Antes||$20k|
|36||Sep. 19||$100||NLHE||6-Max Hyper||$8.5k|
|37||Sep. 20||$300||NLHE||4-Max PKO||$22.5k|
|39||Sep. 21||$200||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$32.5k|
|40||Sep. 21||$20||NLHE||8-Max Deep||$7.5k|
|41||Sep. 21||$50||NLHE||6-Max Total PKO||$7k|
|44||Sep. 23||$250||NLHE||8-Max PKO TROPHY||$30k|
|45||Sep. 23||$30||NLHE||8-Max PKO||$7.5k|
|48||Sep. 24||$200||NLHE||6-Max Hyp. Dp.||$10k|
|49||Sep. 25||$200||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$17.5k|
|50||Sep. 25||$20||NLHE||6-Max PKO||$5k|
|51||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||Big Antes||$12k|
|52||Sep. 26||$300||NLHE||Main Event TROPHY||$100k|
|53||Sep. 26||$50||NLHE||Mini Main Event||$22.5k|
|54||Sep. 26||$100||NLHE||6-Max Win the Button||$10k|
|55||Sep. 26||$200||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$12k|
|56||Sep. 26||$75||NLHE||6-Max Hyper||$8.5k|
|59||Sep. 27||$150||NLHE||8-Max Turbo||$10k|
|60||Sep. 27||$100||NLHE||HU Tb. Total PKO Zm.||$7.5k|