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

Posted on: September 29, 2022, 06:50h. 

Last updated on: September 30, 2022, 04:19h.

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

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 will reportedly 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 most recent World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) came to a grinding halt because of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack earlier this month.

The ONCOOP series runs from Oct. 1-17 and has 132 tournaments on the schedule. By the time the last winner stands up, more than CAN$2 million (US$1.45 million) in guaranteed prize money is expected to have been distributed.

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

Tournaments of All Shapes and Sizes

Buy-ins start as low as CAN$5 (US$3.64) and go up to CAN$2,000 (US$1,455.40). PokerStars will also award Second Chance Freerolls worth CAN$35,000 (US$25,469) throughout the ONCOOP.

Players can also grab a seat in one of the two Main Events. The CAN$50 (US$36.40) buy-in NLHE tournament has CAN$40,000 in guaranteed prize money, while the CAN$500 (US$364) buy-in NLHE event has at least CAN$200,000 (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 CAN$1 million (US$727,800) in guaranteed cash on the table. It didn’t draw the crowd PokerStars hoped. PokerStars had an overlay of at least 50% in seven 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 WPT Australian Main Tour, which Star Entertainment’s Star Gold Coast hosted. The Main Event, with a buy-in of AU$5,400 (US$3,484), was a huge success, attracting 710 players and pushing the prize pool up to AU$3.55 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 Australian Football League Grand Final. He reluctantly stuck with the event when he couldn’t cancel his flight.

It paid off, too. His first-place finish saw him pocket AU$425,712 (US$274,669). As runner-up, China’s Po Ho took home AU$277,225 (US$178,865).