It's just 12 events into a 33-event schedule, but the 7th Annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is well on its way to blowing the doors off of its previous bests in both participation and prize money.
Last year the WCOOP, which is put on by PokerStars.com, had a prize pool of $15 million and saw 17,000 unique players take part in 23 events. This year after just the first 12 events, the 2008 edition has already handed out more than $11.8 million -- which is $3 million more than was guaranteed -- while 17,700 different players from 107 countries had participated through Wednesday's action.
Two events per day are scheduled through Sept. 20. Then on Sept. 21 it's the $5,200 No Limit Hold'em Main Event, which is guaranteeing a $10 million prize pool.
The biggest tournament thus far came on Sunday when 7,351 bought in for the $530 No Limit Hold'em event, creating a total purse of more than $3.6 million. Last year, this event ran for 20 hours so the tournament organizers decided to play this year's event over two days. Day 1 consisted of 22 levels and 11 hours of play. Seventy-two players made it to Day 2 and 9 ˝ hours later "Calvin32" was crowned champion and took home nearly half a million dollars ($452,086) for his efforts.
With the victory, "Calvin32" sits in third place of the money list for the 2008 WCOOP through 12 events. A player using the name "dorinvandy," who won $617,925 in Event #5, leads the pack with $619,368.41 while "DuckU" is in second with no bracelets, but $460,816.62 in winnings.
U.S. players have dominated the first 12 events, capturing seven bracelets. The U.S. has had 12,894 players participate. Germany is second with 2,343 players, with Canada (2,117), the U.K. (1,906) and Sweden (1,484) in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Coming into this year's event, the past six editions of the WCOOP has paid out a total of $65,194,250 over 88 events.