After an arduous ten month battle across the United States and Canada, the World Poker Tour will once again crown not only their champion but also their Player of the Year, as poker’s finest gather for the WPT Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The pinnacle of the World Poker Tour season, the WPT Championship is the largest buy-in tournament on the circuit. The $25,000 buy in ensures that only the best will be at the tables to vie for a championship that has in the past rewarded the winner with millions of dollars and prestige nearly equal to the World Series of Poker Main Event winner. A look at the players who have won the title of WPT Champion and their final table battles demonstrates the difficulty of the tournament.
Last year, veteran poker player David Chiu joined such notable names as former World Champion Carlos “El Matador” Mortensen, Joe Bartholdi, Tuan Le, Martin deKnijff and Alan Goehring as the only players who have ever captured the WPT Championship. These players had to wade through such greats of the game as Gus Hansen, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Ted Forrest to win the title. With every champion on the WPT tournament schedule guaranteed a seat at this year’s event – as well as every player who wins a tournament during the schedule of the Five Star World Poker Classic, which the WPT Championship is a part of – the field is normally heavily pro-laden and presents the greatest challenge a poker player can face.
In addition to the battle on the felt for the WPT Championship, the award for WPT Player of the Year is also up for grabs. Each WPT event over the past year has earned its players points for their finishes and this year’s list of players contending for the title includes two of the top online players in Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and defending WPT POY Jonathan “FieryJustice” Little. If Little can finish deep in the WPT Championship, he would become the only person to ever defend his Player of the Year title on the WPT, which has also been awarded to players such as Full Tilt Poker’s Howard Lederer, PokerStars’ Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren and Gavin Smith.
The preliminary events at the Five Star World Poker Classic that leads up to the WPT Championship normally gives an idea of the quality of the talent that will be at the tables. This year’s preliminary events have drawn such poker notables as defending WSOP H.O.R.S.E. champion Scotty Nguyen, two time WSOP bracelet winner and WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen (both men have cashed twice during the Five Star schedule), top female player Joanne “J. J.” Liu, David “The DevilFish” Ulliot and Michael and Nick Binger.
The tournament will come to a close on April 25th, after a week of battle at the Bellagio, and Tight Poker will keep an eye on the action as the WPT crowns its seventh champion.

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