It is spring time and while that can often mean a decrease in online poker players as people begin to enjoy the outdoors, it also means that it is about time for the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). Now in its eighth year, SCOOP was once merely second-banana to the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) as far as online poker tournament series go, but it has evolved into the largest internet tournament festival of the year. PokerStars released the 2016 SCOOP schedule yesterday; it features 165 tournaments and more than $40 million in guaranteed prize pools.
As always, each event in the SCOOP is split into three separate tournaments with “low,” “medium,” and “high” buy-ins. With a record 55 events (up from 46 last year) and three tournaments per event, that makes, as mentioned, 165 total tournaments across the entire series.
The 2016 SCOOP begins May 8th with five events, four of which are of the No-Limit Hold’em variety. As the SCOOP progresses, game variations broaden, so there is something for everyone. The low buy-in events are very affordable, with many as low as $7.50. They do tend to get more expensive the further into the series we look; many towards the end are $27. Medium buy-ins jump up significantly, as the cheapest ones are $82 and $109. The least expensive “high” buy-in tournaments are $700.
The SCOOP Main Event begins on May 22nd with buy-ins of $100, $1,000, and $10,000. The guaranteed prize pools are $1 million, $2 million, and $4 million.
Interestingly, almost all of the tournaments are multi-day tourneys. Only 22 are scheduled to start and finish in a single day (though with three tournaments per event, it seems like that number should be 21).
Aside from the Main Event, PokerStars has highlighted a few new events, such as SCOOP’s first Player’s Choice event, voted on by the players. All three tourneys will be No-Limit Hold’em. The $7.50 low buy-in tourney will be ultra-deep, hyper-turbo, progressive super-knockout; the $82 medium buy-in portion will be eight-max, progressive knockout; the $700 high buy-in tournament will be a progressive super-knockout.
There will be a three-max event for the first time, which will also be a Zoom tournament to boot, so everyone will be moved to a new table after every hand. And then there is Event 51, the first-ever Phase tournament in SCOOP. A Phase tournament is like what we see in major live poker tournaments: a tournament with multiple starting days.
As usual, there will be Player of the Series leader boards for each buy-in level. The winner of each will receive a trophy, a WCOOP Main Event ticket, and $5,000 cash. The overall SCOOP winner will receive both a trophy and $20,000 cash. Many players up and down the leader boards will earn various WCOOP ticket prizes. Poker pro Jason Mercier was the Overall Player of the Series last year, winning three SCOOP events. In a press release, he said, “After a very successful SCOOP last year, winning three titles and the overall Player of the Series, I’m going to be fully focused on defending that title and taking down some more events. There are 165 tournaments and an incredible array of games and formats – it’s just a great time of year for online poker players and I can’t wait for the series to start.”