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Poker Stars to Give Away $1 Million in Added WCOOP Seats

Promotion Looks to Increase Turnout at Popular Series

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PokerStars' World Championship of Online PokerOne million dollars in added value. Needless to say, when it comes to its premiere poker series, PokerStars doesn’t mess around.

For the 2009 World Championship of Online Poker, the popular online poker site has announced that it will be adding $1 million in WCOOP seats to its special series of satellite tournaments, which are running daily Aug. 4-16.

“We’re calling them the WCOOP Extreme Satellites, harkening to extreme sports in the sense that we’re having a massive giveaway in the satellites,” said Mike Jones, a poker room manager for the site. “In every satellite, we’re going to be adding 50 to 100 seats to the prize pool … We’re throwing in literally $1 million worth of seats completely as added value, and those [satellites] start as low as $7.50.”

For the Extreme Satellites, players will win their way into a WCOOP tournament of a certain buy-in (such as $109, $215, $320, $530, $1,050, $2,100, and $5,200), rather than a specific tournament, so that players may have more flexibility in choosing which tournament they want to play in.

For a complete list of all the satellite tournaments and the 2009 WCOOP schedule, check out wcoop.com.

There are also specific WCOOP tournament qualifiers running every day until the start of the series, which begins Sept. 5. Similar to its World Series of Poker satellites, PokerStars will also be running Steps tournaments which start at $7.50.

The 2009 WCOOP will feature 45 events, and even with the troubling economic times, it is no secret that PokerStars expects it to be the biggest online poker series it has ever held.

“Despite the issue with the economy, we still had good growth in our business over the last year, so I think we can expect that — to some extent, at least — to translate into participation,” said Jones.

Last year, the WCOOP doled out nearly $40 million in winnings over 33 events.

The 2009 edition will feature new tournaments such as its own version of the WSOP’s Stimulus Special, a $109 no-limit hold’em tournament with a $1 million-guaranteed prize pool, as well innovative new formats, such as the $215 “big ante” no-limit hold’em tournament.

There will not be a mini-WCOOP with similar events with lower buy-ins, a trend that several sites have debuted recently for their signature tournament series and something PokerStars employed for its most recent Spring Championship of Online Poker.

“We wanted to keep the prestige of the WCOOP intact,” said Alex Scott, a PokerStars poker room manager. “The WCOOP is the World Championship … At the same time, we’re offering cheap ways to get into these tournaments.”

The WCOOP will debut several new features this year, including faster dealing compared to last year’s series (first introduced during this year’s SCOOP), synchronized breaks for its events, and new payout and blinds structures.