PokerStars homepage
2018 SCOOP – the top five tournaments and how to win them
The 2018 SCOOP is almost here, with an incredible $110m in guaranteed prize money up for grabs. With Low, Medium and High buy-ins for each tournament there's something for everyone across 61 events and 183 tournaments that run May 6-21. Each day there's at least one tournament with $1m guaranteed and buy-ins from $2.50 up to $25,000.

What's more, there are three $30k Platinum Passes up for grabs across the three Main Events. Win one of these and you'll also get a shot at the 2019 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold'em Championship in the Caribbean.

Check out the full SCOOP 2018 schedule here.

Not sure what to play? Take your pick from these five SCOOP highlights and follow our tips to give yourself the best shot at getting amongst the big money. Good luck!

Sunday May 6
$22 PLO (6-Max)
$100,000 guaranteed

If you've never played pot limit Omaha before, this is the time to correct a dreadful life mistake. PLO provides action with a capital A, with four hole cards delivering a draw-heavy game that's full of swings. This tournament is 6-max for even more aggro.

Tip 1 - No danglers!

You get four cards in PLO and you want all of them play for you. Don't get tempted in by a hand that looks pretty but is stymied by one card that's effectively useless. If you get dealt Kh-Js-As-4c, the 4c is the dangler and it reduces the value of your hand considerably. We're not saying never play a hand with a dangler – there might be a very valid reason, depending on your position and other tournament dynamics. But play them with caution and as a general rule try to play hands with four good, connected cards. 

Tip 2 - Strength is strength

We're not saying there's no bluffing in PLO tournaments, but you'll generally find that a show of strength in PLO means a strong hand. If you come up against someone who is screaming that they've got the nuts and you don't, proceed with caution.

Tuesday May 15
$5.50 NLHE (Deep Stacks)
$50,000 guaranteed

Deep-stack poker is great fun and for just $5.50 you can have a crack at a $50k guaranteed prize pool, across two days. Are you ready for the long haul?

Tip 1 - Prepare to win

Day 1 of the Deep Stacks is played across 36 15-minute levels, which means that you need to be ready for a full nine-hour shift. There are five-minute breaks every 55 past the hour, and you're going to have to keep yourself fed and watered throughout. Make sure you've got healthy food to hand that you can eat and snacks to keep you going. Think berries, nuts, salad and yoghurt.

Tip 2 - Know your opponents

You start with 300 big blinds so take your opportunity to get a really good handle on the other players at your table. Start with the two seats to your left and two seats to your right, and make notes. Look out for the players that don't appreciate the fundamentals of deep-stack play and target them. Most of all, keep your attention levels high. Deep-stack poker tournaments are as much of an endurance contest as anything else.

Wednesday May 16
$22 NLHE (Heads-Up)
$40,960 guaranteed

Heads-up is the purest form of poker and a lot of tournament players are not that good at it. Think about it – most tournament players will only get to heads-up a few times and playing big-blind heads-up at the business end of a tournament is very different to playing someone with a big stack and small starting blinds.

Tip 1 - Aggression!

You're not going to get anywhere by playing timidly. This isn't full ring where you can adopt a winning tight-aggressive strategy. In heads-up, you're in for a minimum of a small blind in every hand, and if you don't open up your starting hand range you're going to fall at the first hurdle. Raise the majority of your buttons and generally ramp the aggression up.

Tip 2 - Know your foe

It's hard to get a handle on all your opponents when you're playing at a full ring table. Heads-up you've got no excuse. Work out your opponent as quickly as possible, paying close attention to every hand he shows down. Make notes and use them to give yourself the edge. And keep your own game as unpredictable as possible.

Sunday May 20
$109 NLHE Main Event
$1.5m guaranteed

This is it, the big one with a huge guarantee of $1.5m, meaning you're playing for life-changing cash up top for just a $109 buy-in. You start with 50,000 chips, a 200-big blind stack at the starting level of 125/250, and levels are 15 minutes up to 32 (end of Day 1) and 20 minutes after that.

Tip 1 - Patience is a virtue

You can't win the Main Event on Day 1 but you can lose it. It might be great to come charging out of the gate and build a big stack but it's not mandatory. You don't need to force the action early on and you shouldn't despair if you lose a few pots early on. It doesn't matter – what matters is the number of big blinds you've got.

Tip 2 - Attack the bubble

Play tightens up when the bubble approaches and if you've got a small stack, that will mean you too. However, if you've got an above average or big stack then it's time to have fun. Target the players that have shut down, and go one step above and target the people who you've spotted are also attacking the shut-downs. This is your opportunity to build a stack that will see you to the final table.

Monday May 21
$11 NLHE (8-Max, Progressive KO, Wrap Up)
$200,000 guaranteed

The fun doesn't stop once the Main Event's finished. The final tournament of the 2018 SCOOP is a blast – an $11 Progressive Knockout with $200k guaranteed. In these tournaments you get half of a player's cash bounty instantly when you knock them out and the other half adds on to yours. And that has a huge bearing on strategy.

Tip 1 - Be better than average

PKO tournaments are fun and they attract a load of players that will play fast and loose as they try to hoover up bounties. You should just play your standard tournament game and aim to get to the end when the bounties are insanely high. Make a deep run and you'll pick up bounties naturally. You'll need to call more against short stacked all-ins, but don't get fixated on the bounties. Build a stack and they will come.

Tip 2 - Go for the win!

This might seem a bit obvious but it's super important in PKO tournaments. Bounties are high at the end and if you win you'll get your opponent's and keep your own. That makes first spot even more valuable than in a standard tournament. Forget laddering – go for the win!
Are you planning on playing in any of this year's SCOOP tournaments? Post below if you are and then come back to tell us how the tournaments went for you!

And there's more... Check our Poker Forum for more chances to win!

X Cookies Information

We have placed cookies on your computer to improve your experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.