Poker players around the world are gearing up for what promises to be the most exciting online poker festival of the year, the 2015 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on PokerStars from September 6-27.

The year's WCOOP marks the 14th edition of the poker series and promises to be the biggest in history featuring 70 events with a combined $45 million in guaranteed prize pools. This represents a sizable increase from 2014, when the WCOOP schedule consisted of 66 events with a combined $40 million in guaranteed prizes.

The highlight of this year's schedule is the $5,200 buy-in Main Event on September 27, where thousands of players will compete for a piece of the advertised $10 million guaranteed prize pool. Last year, Germany's Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz etched his name into the history books after shipping the WCOOP Main Event for a life-changing $1.3 million.

Over the years, we have witnessed many players become overnight millionaires by shipping the WCOOP Main Event. American poker pro Tyson "POTTERPOKER" Marks holds the record for largest first-place prize after winning the 2010 WCOOP Main Event for a whopping $2,278,097.50. Marks' record should be safe this year and in years to come, as when he shipped the Main Event, it was the last WCOOP before Black Friday rocked the poker world.

Other household names to win the WCOOP Main Event include high-stakes poker pros JC "area23JC" Tran, winning $670,000 in 2006, and Yevgeniy "Jovial Gent" Timoshenko, who won $1,715,200 in 2009.

While the first events don't start until Sunday, many players have already begun their journey to the WCOOP by playing in the many satellites, including the Mega Path satellites. In fact, records are already being broken thanks to Czech Republic's "DomMarty" qualifying for this year's WCOOP Main Event for just 12 FPPs, the fewest ever spent in the WCOOP's history.

Additionally, many players have begun to earn their seat to the two-day flighted WCOOP-01: $109 NL Hold'em, with the first flight starting last Sunday and continuing throughout the week until the second day begins on September 6 at 13:30 ET.

A New York Senate committee will hold an online poker hearing next week to consider the pros and cons of including online gambling into New York’s poker-only bill.

The Senate website announces that The New York Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee will “discuss the future of online poker in New York State” at a hearing scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on September 9, Wednesday. The hearing will be live streamed.

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The sponsor of New York’s poker-only bill, also known as S 5302, is Senator John Bonacic. His bill will be examined in detail at the hearing. Since it is a poker-only bill, it does not advocate the legalization of other forms of online gambling. A close examination of the online gambling revenue figures posted by New Jersey, New York’s neighbor, indicates that New York will profit more if it converts its poker-only bill into an online gambling bill that embraces all forms of online gambling.

New Jersey’s newly regulated online poker industry contributes around 20% of its total online gambling revenue. Taking into consideration the fact that New York has a population of more than two times that of New Jersey, one cannot make a comparison between the two states. But New York doesn’t have any other option while weighing the pros and cons of online gambling legalization.

Gambling regulators in New Jersey said that they were shocked to realize that online poker did not turn out to be as popular as they had expected it to be. Lawmakers in New York can learn a lot from states that have already legalized and regulated various forms of online gambling, and one of these lessons could be that going poker-only is not really a wise option.

Several representatives of the gambling industry will take part in the hearing along with the members of the committee. John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA), is one of those who will testify at the hearing.

New York is not ready to think about legalizing and regulating online gambling as it is busy expanding its existing land-based gambling industry.

Previously, Bonacic had announced that the hearing of next week will explore the “pros and cons of moving” the poker-only bill. The committee is likely to come to the conclusion that moving a poker-only bill will not generate the desired revenue and Bonacic may end up proposing a bill that includes online poker as well as online casino gaming.

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