One of — if not THE — premier events of the online poker calendar year is PokerStars’ WCOOP series. The 73-event schedule offers buy-ins at all levels, meaning that players with meager, middling, or massive bankrolls all have the opportunity to notch big scores. WCOOP began just about a week ago and continues until September 25th, at which point the $5,200 Main Event will crown a winner.
Tens of thousands of players have been, are, and will be clamoring to get their hands on the combined $75 million in guaranteed prize pools on offer, and one such player in the midst of a heavy online poker grind is PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis.
And so it begins. The World Championship of Online Poker.
— Lex Veldhuis (@LexVeldhuis) September 5, 2019
No stranger to the WCOOP, having come originally come up as an online player well over a decade ago, Veldhuis had a couple of tips to offer that would serve any ambitious online poker player well:
I like to take some time out the week before a big series like WCOOP, to make sure I’m fully rested and recharged. I also like to have a clear idea of what I’ll be playing, so I know which days will be my busiest and can plan the next two weeks around that. This year I’ll be most looking forward to playing the Sunday events because they’re massive, any bounty builder tournament because they’re insanely hype and awesome for streaming, and also the PLO events.
When asked what his specific advice would be to new players giving the WCOOP a shot for the first time, Veldhuis kept it simple:
Make sure you play what you feel comfortable with, don’t work yourself too hard trying to play everything. This year’s series is the biggest yet for WCOOP and will undoubtedly attract a huge number of players, so get prepared and just enjoy it.
If you’re not yet ready to dip your toes in the water, but are a Veldhuis (or general online poker) fan, he’s streaming all of his WCOOP play on Twitch. Beyond watching for pure entertainment reasons, witnessing one of the game’s greats tackle a field in one of online poker’s most prestigious tournaments is a great way to learn and improve your own game.
Insane week ahead. Rough start but can’t wait for the bulk of the grind. Running a replay of yesterday’s massive stream today (Monday). Rest of the week is going to be non-stop action. Lots and lots of high-stakes.
— Lex Veldhuis (@LexVeldhuis) September 9, 2019
One of the things I like most about event series like WCOOP is that they offer players the chance to test their mettle at non-Hold’em variants without breaking the bank. While, as expected, most (49) of the 73 events are in NLHE, the remaining events are contested in a diverse selection of poker variants including razz, H.O.R.S.E., 2-7 triple draw, PLO, badugi, and even an 8-game mix. As opposed to, for example, the World Series of Poker, where you’re usually paying a minimum of $1,500 to play in non-NLHE variant events, in WCOOP you can compete in these disciplines for three- and even two-figure buy-ins.
In a new wrinkle, as testament to their ongoing partnership with the UFC, PokerStars has also included some UFC-themed tournaments in the WCOOP schedule. Beyond prize money, players will also be competing for the chance to experience the thrill of the fight with a package to UFC® 244 in New York on November 2. While Lex is and will be competing in those knockout tournaments, last we heard he will NOT be competing in the squared circle on that UFC fight card. 😉