PokerStars Pennsylvania Announces First PACOOP Tournament Series

PokerStars is wasting no time letting players in Pennsylvania that they are, in fact, playing on PokerStars. Just a week and a half after becoming the first online poker room to launch in the Keystone State, PokerStars Pennsylvania has announced the inaugural PokerStars Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP). PACOOP will consist of 50 events and $1 million in guaranteed prize pools. It runs from November 30th through December 16th.

Schedule released

Looking at the schedule, most of the events appear to be of the no-limit hold’em variety, but there are multiple flavors of games from which Pennsylvania players can sample. Other game types include Pot-Limit Omaha, Eight-Game Mixed, Stud Hi/Lo*, and Fixed-Limit Hold’em.

There are also loads of variations of No-Limit Hold’em games, like Deepstack, Big Antes, Turbo, Hyper Turbo, Six-Max, Marathon, and Progressive Knockout.

PACOOP is a fairly affordable tournament series, as well, with buy-ins starting as low as $30 and going up to $750 for the High Roller event.

The $300 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event is a two-day event starting on December 15th at 5:00 pm. Its guaranteed prize pool is $100,000.

PACOOP promos

PokerStars Pennsylvania is running a few promotions to give players a chance to play in the PACOOP for less money, though there is nothing here particularly groundbreaking or even all that interesting.

Those who deposit $50 and use the code PACOOP by an 2:00 pm the day of the main event can participate in a PACOOP $7,500 Main Event Depositor Freeroll. The top 25 finishers in the freeroll will win a $300 entry into the PACOOP Main Event.

Then there are the Second Chance Freerolls that we often see with PokerStars tournament series. Those who are eliminated from a PACOOP tournament without cashing will automatically receive a ticket into one of these freerolls. Each offers $1,250 in satellite tickets and entries into various PACOOP events. The Second Chance Freeroll will run each day from December 1st through December 16th.

There does not appear to be any sort of PACOOP leaderboard competition for this first run.

Following New Jersey’s lead

There was not much reinventing of the wheel done with PACOOP. PokerStars already had a template with neighboring New Jersey and in fact, PACOOP mirrors NJCOOP almost exactly. Both have 50 events and $1 million in total guarantees. The schedules match almost tournament-for-tournament. The one minor difference is that the NJCOOP High Roller event cost $1,000, rather than $750.

PokerStars Pennsylvania may have actually been able to go bigger than NJCOOP, though, considering how it already dwarfs PokerStars New Jersey. According to PokerScout, PokerStars New Jersey has a seven-day average of just 75 cash game players. That’s less than a quarter of PokerStars Pennsylvania’s 400 cash game players. All of the New Jersey online poker rooms combined still don’t have as many cash game players at PokerStars Pennsylvania at the moment.

Pennsylvania could be experiencing a “shiny new thing” surge, so things could calm down, but it could also just as easily grow as it establishes itself and more people in the Commonwealth discover online poker. And while the numbers cited are for cash games, they generally correlate fairly well to tournament popularity.

Nearly two decades of COOPs

PokerStars’ history with COOP series goes all the way back to the early days of online poker. It all started with the debut of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) in 2002. It was so early in the life of the internet poker industry that despite it being a “World” Championship, it was significantly smaller than this inaugural PACOOP. The 2002 WCOOP was comprised of just nine events and had more than $730,000 in total prize pools.

This year, the WCOOP had 73 events and $75 million in guarantees. Starting in 2018, PokerStars changed the format of the WCOOP to three-tiered events. That is, each event had three different buy-in tournaments running concurrently.

The popularity of WCOOP, which has become the largest online poker tournament series in the world, gave birth to the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) in 2009. SCOOP is where the triple-tier structure originated, giving more players the chance to participate.

This year’s SCOOP was just about as big as WCOOP, with $65 million in guaranteed prize pools and 73 three-tiered events. Each day also featured at least one $1 million guaranteed event.

New Jersey has had its own SCOOP since 2016. The total guarantees increased each year through 2018, when they topped out at $1.3 million. They decreased to $1 million this year. We would expect Pennsylvania to debut its own SCOOP next spring.

*Why is it always shortened to Hi/Lo when High/Low is only three characters longer?

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