RCOOP's a failure?

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Posted on Nov 29th 2010  -  Subject: RCOOP's a failure?

PokerStars recently announced the launch of a new worldwide series of region specific tournaments -COOP (Championship of Online Poker). The winners of each region would advance to one finale of winners to crown a world online champion of sorts. 

The last couple years, every event and tournament that PokerStars has launched or promoted has seemed to do well, meeting or exceeding guarantees.  Players have become accustomed to never encountering overlays on Stars, unlike they find on lesser populated sites.  That was until the current RCOOP.

Event #4 of the USA region's COOP, a $320 NLHE event had an overlay of $350k. Based off the $750k guarantee, they had expected at least 2,500 players, while only 1,326 played. Even with word spreading rapidly online of the big overlay, the numbers didn't jump at the last minute as they often do for big tournaments.  Blame was put on the late start and the tournaments' close proximity to Thanksgiving. A number of the other USA and other region COOP events had large overlays as well.

Jump to the weekend and the two day USA COOP main event drew just 1,650, giving an overlay to reach its $1 million guarantee. The Canadian COOP drew just 350, causing a $14,500 overlay.

The results are surprising as PokerStars has had such a golden touch with with its tournament schedule.  Their regular big Sunday tournaments all exceeded their guarantees without a problem. There was a total of $764,650 in combined overlays. The only two events to get more money in the prize pool than their allotted guarantee were the first and the tenth events. Even so, those events only beat the guarantee by a combined $98,850. The bulk of that came from the first event; the tenth event was only $900 over the $150,000 guarantee.

Is it a matter of the timing? The lack of press and marketing of this new event? The faulty region specific offering?  Whatever the cause, PokerStars will need to correct it soon or cancel the series moving forward if they will continually be paying up for the big overlays in all these tournaments. 

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