The World Poker Tour is at it again. Its 2022 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas was such a success that it’s happening again. This year, however, it’s a longer schedule, bigger guarantees, and more new records for the poker history books.
There were also some unique variables that could present challenges for the WPT World Championship in 2023.
Many poker rooms around Las Vegas introduced series that gave players tournament alternatives, sometimes with lower price points.The biggest challenge, however, was the introduction of the WSOP Paradise in the Bahamas. The World Series of Poker – probably completely coincidentally – set its new live bracelet series for the first half of December. There were high guarantees, free entries and rooms for a number of players, and shiny gold WSOP bracelets.
Poker players had to make some choices, as there was also the ever-popular EPT Prague in Europe and the APT Hanoi Billions in Asia.
As it turns out, the European Poker Tour posted record turnout for its largest events, as did the Asian Poker Tour. (The APT actually had to shut down days early, though, due to conflicts with permits and authoritative bodies. But it did post record fields prior to the abrupt closure.) And many players either exclusively chose the WPT festivities over the WSOP or flew to the Bahamas first and jetted to Las Vegas to catch the WPT World Championship Main Event.
Ultimately, most players found their way, and the WPT-Wynn festival did not suffer.
Largest WPT Prime in History
The WPT Prime mid-majors tournament series may still be in its first few years, but it has certainly made a statement. Its numbers have continued to rise since it became the new mid-major of the World Poker Tour, taking over where WPTDeepStacks left off.
At the 2022 WPT World Championship, Prime held its year-end finale. They hoped for big crowds for the $1K buy-in tournament and put a $2M guarantee on the prize pool. As it turned out, there were 5,430 entries and a prize pool that exceeded $5.2M. And in the end, Stephen Song beat Lara Eisenberg for the title and $712,650 first-place prize.
That success prompted the World Poker Tour to set the 2023 Prime Championship guarantee at $5M. And that brought players to the tables in record numbers…again.
Total entries: 10,512Total prize pool: $10,196,640
As of this week, the action played out until only six players remained. They will play their final table on December 19. The minimum payout will be $290K and the top payout is $1,386,280, with $910K for second place. When they take their seats, the players and their corresponding chip stacks will be:
Seat 6: Jay Lu (123.2M)Seat 1: Calvin Anderson (99.5M)Seat 4: Bob Buckenmayer (76M)Seat 5: Jon Glendinning (44.4M)Seat 2: Valeriy Pak (39.7M)Seat 3: Aaron Pinson (38.6M)Courtesy of World Poker Tour
WPT WC Main Event Leans on Day 1D
Meeting a large guarantee in a December live poker tournament, one that is near the holidays with stiff competition in other parts of the world, is a tall order. Add on a $10K price tag, and that makes it tougher.
However, that $40M guarantee on the prize pool is attractive, to say the least. And the grinders can get in on it by flying from the Bahamas or Prague to play the final of the four starting flights. The World Poker Tour is counting on this.
They’ll need 4,000 entries to meet the guarantee. Players can enter once per flight, though there are no reentries during any flight. And there is no late registration after the starting days. So far, the World Poker Tour is reporting its entries as:
Day 1A: 609 entries / 202 survivedDay 1B: 730 entries / 265 survivedDay 1C: 973 entries / 360 survived per Twitter or 337 survived per live updates
Regardless of the survivor count, the total going into Day 1D is clearly 2,312 entries. They will need 1,688 players to enter on Day 1D to meet the $40M guarantee.
All eyes will be on the WPT World Championship on Friday and Saturday in anticipation of the final number.
Courtesy of World Poker Tour