PokerStars Hopes To Avoid More Issues as the Ontario Championship of Online Poker Begins

Now that online gambling is expanding in Ontario, everyone wants to get in on the action. PokerStars is joining them, ready to introduce its inaugural PokerStars Ontario Championship of Online Poker (ONCOOP). First, it has to keep its servers working properly.

Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr
Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr
Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr in a promo photo as a PokerStars cultural ambassador. The online poker platform is launching a new tournament in Ontario next month. (Image: PokerStars)

PartyPoker already ran an Ontario-based online poker tournament this month and BetMGM is reportedly going to introduce its own version at some point. Flutter’s PokerStars will add its name to the list with its ONCOOP beginning this weekend.

Players may approach the virtual tables with a little trepidation, and rightfully so. PokerStars recently dealt with a major embarrassment when its World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) this month came to a grinding halt due to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Hopefully, its Ontario servers are in better shape.

Tournaments of All Shapes and Sizes

The ONCOOP has something for everyone. The series runs from October 1-17 and has 132 tournaments on the schedule. By the time the last winner stands up, over CAD2 million (US$1.45 million) in guaranteed prize money will have been distributed.

All standard poker formats are available – Texas Hold’em, Omaha and more. There will be DeepStack and Knock-Out events, as well as Turbo and Hyper Turbos.

Buy-ins start as low as CAD5 (US$3.64) and go up to CAD2,000 (US$1,455.40). PokerStars will also award Second Chance Freerolls worth a total of CAD35,000 (US$25,469) throughout the ONCOOP.

Players can also grab a seat in one of the two Main Events. The CAD50 (US$36.40) buy-in NLHE tournament has CAD40,000 in guaranteed prize money, while the CAD500 (US$364) buy-in NLHE event has at least CAD200,000 (US$145,600) up for grabs.

There will also be two PokerStars Platinum Passes as part of the prize pool. These provide access to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas next January. Each pass is worth US$30,000, which covers the $25,000 buy-in and $5,000 in travel cash.

While this is the first COOP series in Ontario, it isn’t the first tournament PokerStars organized in the province. That belongs to the Ontario Platinum Series in July.

That series included 90 events and had CAD1 million (US$727,800) in guaranteed cash on the table. However, it didn’t draw the crowd PokerStars had hoped. PokerStars had an overlay of at least 50% in seven of the events. It still came out ahead, though, as more than 35 tourneys surpassed their expected goal by at least 20%.

WPT In The Land Down Under

September was a busy month for poker. As PokerStars tried to complete its WCOOP, the World Poker Tour (WPT) was looking for winners in the land down under. This month marked the first-ever WPT Australian Main Tour, which Star Entertainment’s Star Gold Coast hosted. The Main Event, with a buy-in of AUD5,400 (US$3,484), was a huge success, attracting 710 players and pushing the prize pool up to AUD3.55 million (US$2.29 million).

In the end, it was a player who didn’t even want to be there who won. David Tang of Melbourne had initially planned on participating before he tried to back out at the last minute.

Instead, he wanted to watch the Grand Final of the Australian Football League. However, when he couldn’t cancel his flight, he reluctantly stuck with the event.

It paid off, too. His first-place finish saw him pocket AUD425,712 (US$274,669). As runner-up, China’s Po Ho took home AUD277,225 (US$178,865).

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