As you likely know by now, the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) of 2019 was a record breaker. But here are even more stats-based observations from the past three weeks than you can possibly imagine, including the $1m+ spin-up, the tournament that got done in less than the time it takes to watch a movie and some other statistical weirdness.


The core numbers from WCOOP this time around are amazing. Across 219 tournaments, there were more than 1.2 million tournament entries, prize pools exceeding $104 million and first prizes of more than $15 million. That represents a significant increase on last year’s totals, albeit from a series with more tournaments.

WCOOP 2019:
Events: 219
Entries: 1,219,969
Prize pools: $104,733,898.76
First prizes: $15,765,054.94
In-the-money finishers: 173,364

WCOOP 2018:
Events: 185
Entries: 1,062,910
Prize pools: $99,559,391
First prizes: $15,112,664.08
In-the-money finishers: 150,239

Here are a further few numbers of note:

Biggest prize pools

To nobody’s surprise, the biggest prize-pool came in the $5,200 Main Event, which had a $10 million guarantee and smashed it. But after that, it was one of the medium buy-in events that generated the second-largest total pool, with everyone who’s anyone scrabbling for the tickets to the UFC fight in New York. In all there were 28 tournaments with a prize pool of greater than $1 million. Here’s the top five biggest:

$11,180,000: WCOOP-70-H: $5,200 Main Event
$2,251,000: WCOOP-41-M: $1,050 PKO UFC special
$2,250,800: WCOOP-01-H: $215 Phased event
$2,207,250: WCOOP-25-H: $25,000 High Roller
$1,930,000: WCOOP-71-H: $10,300 PLO Main Event

Dario Sammartino: Bagged a top-five prize

Biggest first prizes

There were 43 tournaments in which the winner received more than $100,000, including bounties and after any negotiated deal. The Main Event again offered the largest single prize, won by “BigBlindBets”, with the highest buy-ins otherwise determining the biggest winners.

$1,665,962.04: “BigBlindBets” – WCOOP-70-H: $5,200 Main Event
$527,458.43: Timofey “Trueteller” Kuznetzov – WCOOP-25-H: $25,000 High Roller
$384,947.88: Joao “Naza114” Vieira – WCOOP-71-H: $10,300 PLO Main Event
$371,186.76: Dario “Secret_M0d3” Sammartino – WCOOP-57-H: $10,300 PKO
$360,309.54: Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira – WCOOP-41-M: $1,050 PKO

Biggest fields…

The “phased” tournaments — aka WCOOP-01 — ran throughout the series, starting on the first day and finishing on the final weekend. Much like major events in the live arena, “phased” tournaments offer multiple starting days and re-entry opportunities, with survivors going through to a second day, in the money, and the tournament playing as a freezeout until the end. For fairly obvious reasons, these get the biggest number of total entries. Both the low ($2.20) and medium ($22) events proved extraordinarily popular and top the list of biggest fields. (All entry totals include re-entries.)

129,080: WCOOP-01-L $2.20 Phased NLHE
56,650: WCOOP-02-M $22 Phased NLHE
37,065: WCOOP-70-L NLHE Main Event
32,820: WCOOP-41-Micro $11 PKO UFC special
25,829: WCOOP-36-L $5.50 PKO

…and the smallest

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s unfortunately plain to see that mixed games still have a long way to go to match the popularity of hold’em, at least for buy-ins of more than $1K. Seven tournaments attracted fewer than 100 entries, with the smallest fields in the following:

67: WCOOP-49-H $2,100 FL 2-7 Triple Draw
70: WCOOP-09-H $1,050 NL 5-Card Draw PKO
70: WCOOP-45-H $1,050 FL Badugi
80: WCOOP-66-H $10,300 8-Game High Roller
90: WCOOP-25-H $25,000 NLHE 8-Max High Roller

Speed it up or take it slow

Jorryt “TheCleaner11” van Hoof: Cleaning up in record time

No prizes for guessing which event played for the longest. “BigBlindBets” wrapped up his Main Event victory shortly after they went into the 52nd level, representing 26 hours and 8 minutes of playing time. (By my calculations, his hourly rate comes in at around $30,000.)

The very shortest tournament played during this WCOOP, however, was WCOOP-67-H, a $530 buy-in six-max hyper-turbo, won by Jorryt “TheCleaner11” van Hoof. In total, including tournament breaks, the event took 2 hours 43 minutes to wrap up, by which point Van Hoof had the $70,860.30 banked. Van Hoof won $435 per minute and his hourly rate was not far off “BigBlindBets”‘.

Here are the five fastest tournaments at this WCOOP:

2hrs 43mins: WCOOP-67-H – $530 NLHE Hyper-Turbo
2hrs 59mins: WCOOP-67-M – $55 NLHE Hyper-Turbo
3hrs 17mins: WCOOP-67-L – $5.50 NLHE Hyper-Turbo
3hrs 51mins:WCOOP-06-H – $1,050 Turbo Shootout
4hrs 2mins: WCOOP-06-M – $109 Turbo Shootout

Satellite spin-ups

With the help of our friends inside the big PokerStars mainframe, we’ve been able to put together a list from this year’s WCOOP of the players who pulled off the greatest spin-ups from the series. These are the players who entered a satellite, possibly even a freeroll, and were still playing when the actual tournament started doling out the big prizes.

No fewer than seven tournaments were won this year by players who had satellited into the event. Ten players who won freeroll satellites ended up in the money in the “low” Main Event. Russia’s “Virgilik” achieved the highest return on investment (ROI) of any player in this WCOOP when he turned an $11 satellite ticket into $86,331 in WCOOP-8.

But hats off please to Brazil’s Danilo “dans170′” Demetrio, who won his ticket to the $5,200 Main Event thanks to a $215 satellite and then went all the way to the heads up battle, eventually banking $1,187,553.01 for second. He became the single biggest grossing satellite winner.

Here’s a list of the satellite kings and queens.

Tournament winners:

Virgilik” – Won WCOOP-08-M: $109 NLHE PKO
Turned $11 into $86,330.72 (ROI: 784,825 percent)

JPickering” – Won WCOOP-20-L: $11 NLHE PKO
Turned $1.45 into $9,822.38 (ROI: 677,406 percent)

Sw33ney” – Won WCOOP-64-M: $55 NLHE
Turned $7.50 into $32,737.89 (ROI: 436,505 percent)

mickesch777” – Won WCOOP-02-M: $1,050 NLHE PKO
Turned $55 into $166,039.91 (ROI: 301,891 percent)

Murkovic” – Won WCOOP-29-L: $22 PLO8 6-Max
Turned $4.32 into $7,621.61 (ROI: 176,426 percent)

wulfgarrr86” – Won WCOOP-64-H: $530 NLHE
Turned $55 into $64,715.10 (ROI: 117,664 percent)

Danijelinho” – WCOOP-66-L: $109 8-Game
Turned $11 into $12,685.50 (ROI: 115,323 percent)

Freerollers in-the-money:
(All in $55 WCOOP-70-L Main Event)

“Choggard1997” (UK): 211th for $750.93
“4Aces1King1” (Norway): 330th for $527.24
“Gustavoo009” (Brazil): 533rd for $309.86
“vladut820” (Romania): 549th for $309.86
“engenheiroAJ” (Brazil): 1,213rd for $217.57
“Sevcity” (Ukraine): 1,290th for $217.57
“valerion06” (Ukraine): 1,304th for $217.57
“mrshowd0wn” (Finland): 1,509th for $217.57
“y0ver” (Ukraine): 1,593th for $217.57
“Pyxa74” (Ukraine): 1,955th for $182.17

Highest ROI:

784,825 percent: “Virgilik”
$11 into $86,330.72 (1st – WCOOP-08-M: $109 NLHE PKO)

703,076 percent: “lusu8691”
$0.55 into $3,866.92 (5th – WCOOP-65-L: $11 NLHE PKO)

698,918 percent: “Gruhu”
$2 into $13,978.35 (202nd – WCOOP-70-H: $5,200 Main Event)

684,864 percent: “RamiroUY”
$18.75 into $128,412.08 (3rd – WCOOP-70-L: $55 Main Event

677,406 percent: “JPickering”
$1.45 into $9,822.38 (1st – WCOOP-20-L: $11 NLHE PKO)

Highest grossing satellite winners:

$1,187,553.01: Danilo “dans170′” Demetrio
2nd – WCOOP-70-H: $5,200 NLHE Main Event

$430,148.26: “19Pistike93”
5th – WCOOP-70-H $5,200 NLHE Main Event

$166,039.91: “mickesch777”
1st – WCOOP-02-M: $1,050 NLHE PKO

$128,412.08: “RamiroUY” UY
3rd – WCOOP-70-L: $55 NLHE Main Event

$86,330.72: “Virgilik”
1st – WCOOP-08-M: $109 NLHE PKO

The other ROI beasts

Some of the particularly enormous fields in this year’s WCOOP meant some amazing opportunities to build eye-watering ROIs, even if you bought straight in. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to determine accurate ROIs for the phased events, or the re-buy tournaments as we can’t tell how many entries players had. But even so, these top five ROIs are breathtaking:

236,327 percent
Jesseonboss (Finland)
WCOOP-70-L – $55 Main Event
$55 buy-in –> $130,035.12

211,743 percent
sep_itl914 (Brazil)
WCOOP-04-L – $5.50 NLHE
$5.50 buy-in –> $11,651.39

180,500 percent
eirowin88 (Latvia)
WCOOP-41-Micro – $11 NLHE UFC Special
$11 buy-in –> $19,865.97 (plus UFC tickets)

153,694 percent
denimblodturbo (Germany)
WCOOP-31-L – $11 NLHE
$11 buy-in –> $16,917.37

151,895 percent
Leha1107 (Russia)
WCOOP-07-L $5.50 NLHE
$5.50 buy-in –> $8,359.73

Most titles

The displaced Portuguese duo of Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira and Joao “Naza114” Vieira both won three titles apiece, with Vieira waiting until the final few days, and the PLO Main Event, to bag his third.

3: Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira
WCOOP-28-M $530 NLHE PKO
WCOOP-41-H $10,300 NLHE PKO
WCOOP-49-H $2,100 FL 2-7 Triple Draw

3: Joao “Naza114” Vieira
WCOOP-26-H $530+R PLO
WCOOP-52-H $530 NLHE Midweek Freeze
WCOOP-71-H $10,300 PLO Main Event

Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira: Three time!

Double winners

In addition to the two triple champions, eight others players won two titles during this WCOOP. They were:

“xnrobix” (Hungay)
Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (Mexico)
Thomas “sandman201” Taylor (Canada)
rickv17 (UK)
Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara (Japan)
“merla888” (Belgium)
“kimokh” (Lebanon)
“geokrinikali” (UK)

Always the bridesmaid

It’s no mean feat getting heads up in a WCOOP tournament. But getting it over the line is quite another matter. One player, Canada’s “TruthBeTold7” managed the first part of that three times during this WCOOP, but lost heads-up on all three occasions. Among the eight players who lost heads-up twice we find two players — Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser and Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira — who also converted one of their heads-up situations into a win. It’s also worth noting that Joao “Naza114” Vieira, who won three events, finished second in another one too. And hats off to Dan “woodbine av” Scott, who was (as far as I can see) the only player to finish first, second and third in three separate tournaments in this WCOOP.

Three-times runner-up:
TruthBeTold7

Twice a runner-up:
Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser
Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira
Ryan “PROTENTIALmn” Laplante
“Odonkor1”
Dzmity “Colisea” Urbanovich
“boerni21”
Denis “aDrENalin710” Strebkov

Champions who also came second:
“WTFOMFGOAO” (Russia)
Dan “woodbine ave” Scott (Canada)
Francisco “Tomatee” Benitez (Uruguay)
Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser (UK)
Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira (Netherlands)
“rickv17” (UK)
Joao “Naza114” Vieira (UK)
Stefan “mindgamer” Jedlicka (Austria)
“merla888” (Belgium)
Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (Canada)
Adam “Adamyid” Owen (Mexico)
Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden

Hard to win a WCOOP

Arguably the most surprising stat from this year’s WCOOP is the following:

Number of titles won by Pocket Fives’ Top 25 ranked players: 0

It’s true. All of players of the tournament calibre of Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, Andras “probirs” Nemeth, Niklas “lena900” Astedt and Sami “LrsLzk” Kelopuro went through the entire WCOOP series without bagging a title. Flat-track bullies? Yes and no. More realistically, it’s just this simple fact: It’s very hard to win a poker tournament, and variance is a thing.

Niklas “lena900” Astedt: A WCOOP blank this year

For the record, the highest ranked player on the Pocket Five rankings to have secured a title this year was Denmarks’ “Igorkarkarof”, currently 28th on the leader board.

Heads up defeat as a national sport

Our daily WCOOP reports gave regular updates on which countries could be most proud of their players’ WCOOP achievement, with the UK and Russia ending the series with 28 titles apiece. But what of those runner-ups? Well, time for our Canadian friends to step forward. Despite winning only 13 events outright, players based in Canada finished second on 30 occasions, more than any other nation. Similarly Brazilians, who usually top the countries leader board but this year finished only third, had 29 runner-up finishes. That’s considerably more than the 23 outright wins. Meanwhile, Swedish players won only five titles but came second 10 times.

Runner up tallies
Canada — 30
Brazil — 29
UK — 24
Russia — 22
Sweden — 10
Netherlands, Austria — 9
Romania, Malta, Hungary, Finland — 7

Smashing the guarantees

Guarantees are there to be broken. In fact, in the world of WCOOP, they’re there to be smashed. Though it doesn’t always go to plan — six of 219 tournaments in this series overlaid — guarantees were often surpassed by six-figure sums. In the case of the $5,200 Main Event and the $1,050 UFC Middleweight events, the guarantees were broken by more than $1 million.

There were also five events with actual prize pools more than double their advertised amounts.

Here are the tournaments that broke their guarantee by the highest amount in real terms, followed by the top five ordered by the percentage over the guarantee the tournament managed.

In real terms:

$1.18 million
WCOOP-70-H $5,200 Main Event
Guarantee: $10 million
Actual prize pool: $11.18 million

$1.001 million
WCOOP-41-M $1,050 NLHE UFC Special Edition
Guarantee: $1.25 million
Actual prize pool: $2.251 million

$930,000
WCOOP-71-H: $10,300 PLO Main Event
Guarantee: $1 million
Actual prize pool: $1.93 million

$750,000
WCOOP-48-H: $10,300 High Roller
Guarantee: $1 million
Actual prize pool: $1.75 millon

$675,000
WCOOP-69-H: $1,050 PKO Sunday Warm-Up
Guarantee: $750,000
Actual prize pool: $1.425 million

By percentage:

119.71 percent
WCOOP-65-M: $109 NLHE PKO
Guarantee: $350,000
Actual prize pool: $769,000

112.55 percent
WCOOP-20-M: $109 NLHE PKO
Guarantee: $200,000
Actual prize pool: $425,000

105.4 percent
WCOOP-65-H: $1,050 NLHE PKO
Guarantee: $500,000
Actual prize pool: $1,027,000

104.03 percent
WCOOP-10-M: $22+R NLHE Turbo
Guarantee: $75,000
Actual prize pool: $153,020

100.88 percent
WCOOP-50-M: $215 PKO
Guarantee: $250,000
Actual prize pool: $502,200

For anyone interested, the six tournaments that overlaid were:

WCOOP-55-L: $5.50 NLHE
Guaranteed: $50,000
Collected: $45,755

WCOOP-59-L: $5.50+R
Guaranteed: $100,000
Collected: $97,755

WCOOP-37-L: $55 PLO 6-Max
Guaranteed: $125,000
Collected: $117,600

WCOOP-58-L: $22 HORSE
Guaranteed: $35,000
Collected: $34,040

WCOOP-21-H: $1,050 FLHE 6-Max
Guaranteed: $100,000
Collected: $97,000

WCOOP-35-H: $1,050 Stud Hi/Lo
Guaranteed: $100,000
Collected: $91,000

And here’s an odd thing

Naoya Kihara: Statistical weirdness

Both of Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara’s victories in WCOOP came in tournaments with 104 entries, and with prize pools of precisely $104,000. What’s more, both times he also beat another WCOOP champion heads up. In WCOOP-23-H $1,050 Razz, his final opponent was Adam “Adamyid” Owen. In WCOOP-62-H $1,050 2-7 Single Draw Kihara beat Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser heads up. Additional weirdness: in the first of those tournaments, Dzmitry “Colisea” Urbanovich finished 17th and stone bubbled, while “TruthBeTold7” min-cashed in 16th. In the second, “TruthBeTold7” stone bubbled, while Urbanovich min-cashed in 16th. Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna finished ninth in both tournaments.

INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS!

Seven years after the first, another WCOOP for Dan Scott

We caught up with a heap of winners from this year’s WCOOP, all of whom have been happy to share the secrets of their successes. Click through for first-person accounts of WCOOP triumph, from those who have been there many times before to newcomers sampling the limelight for the first time.

Dan “woodbine ave” Scott: Second victory was “a long time coming!”
Maxim “Pylusha” Pylev: From 15 big blinds to NL08 champion
“Mr. No way”: It’s not easy beating “Colisea” heads up. Or is it?
Germany’s “Gaul4200”: “$44K is a lot of money for a 20-year-old student in Germany”
• Joris “BillLewinsky” Ruijs: Two-time winner says “It’s like when you jump out of a plane”
Russia’s “myIT4”: A friend told him to “fight to the end!”. He did.
Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira: The 2019 breakout star on winning three titles in a week
• Espen “_sennj_” Sandvik: “It’s my first win in an official tournament”
• Rodrigo “guinHuuh” Freire: Brazilian’s roller coaster ride turns $11 into $13K
• Patrick “prepstyle71” Serda: No more pizzas for the three-time winner
• Jeffrey “Jefffrr8” Reardon: He wanted a five-figure score. He got one.
• Maxime “Daghemuneguu” Chilaud: Malta-based Frenchman wins first WCOOP of the series
• Norway’s “19_Kumite_79”: First two-day event, biggest field, biggest cash
• Viktor “TsiTool” Kovács: Puts Hungary on the WCOOP map
• Italo “sep_itl1914” Carandinas: Brazilian chooses his own adventure
• Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara: Woken up by a kick from his 3-year-old, plays Razz and wins!
• “snovalshik1”: first-timer, who turned $5.50 into $3,408
• Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin: Won PLO while streaming live
• Alex “dynoalot” Difelice: Second win, but “I feel I have a ways to go.”
• Pedro “PaDiLhA SP” Padilha: Akkari’s acolyte, who sets the record straight
• Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb: Seventh title, surely not the last

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