It’s already been a big year for the World Poker Tour.
The company started the year under new ownership. Private investment firm Element Partners completed its $105M purchase of the World Poker Tour in July 2021. The WPT has yet to reveal the people behind the investment group, but the change in ownership appeared to give the WPT more freedom from corporate restrictions.
Right from the start of this year, the WPT recognized its 20th anniversary and hinted at big things to come.
One of those big things was establishing a roster of WPT Ambassadors. They started with world-renowned DJ, producer, and businessman Steve Aoki. From there, the WPT signed poker pro and vlogger Brad Owen and then fellow vlogger Andrew Neeme, both known for their meet-up games and popularity with poker fans. Finally, during the WSOP, the WPT announced the biggest “get” in poker – Godfather of Poker Doyle Brunson.
There have been other newsworthy events in this 20th WPT year, such as partnerships with FanJolt and the NFT Poker Club. The tour successfully transformed its WPTDeepStacks into WPT Prime. The WPT combined its Player of the Year races into one leaderboard.
And then, the World Poker Tour made some changes to its main tour schedule.
Big First Half
The first stop of the World Poker Tour’s Season XX in 2022 was at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood Florida for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. The series was a hit, and the WPT Main Event created a prize pool of more than three times the guarantee. It became the second-largest live tournament poker field in WPT history.
There was a several-month-long break in the schedule until the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April. Turnout for that Main Event more than doubled the guarantee and surpassed its own previous milestone. This one became the second-largest WPT in history.
WPT Choctaw far surpassed its guarantee, and the WPT Venetian exceeded its guarantee by more than one-third.
- WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open: $3,500 buy-in / 1,982 entries / $6,342,400 prize pool ($2M GTD) / Alexander Yen won for $975,240
- WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown: $3,500 buy-in / 2,010 entries / $6,432,000 prize pool ($3M GTD) / Mark Davis won for $1,000,300
- WPT Choctaw: $3,800 buy-in / 787 entries / $2,754,500 prize pool ($2M GTD) / Chance Kornuth won for $486,600
- WPT Venetian: $5K buy-in / 1,178 entries / $5,418,800 prize pool ($4M GTD) / Robert Mizrachi won for $894,100
🏆It's all over!🏆
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) July 18, 2022
Bigger Second Half
While it will be tough to top those kinds of numbers, the World Poker Tour lined up some of its biggest and most popular tournaments to play out through the rest of 2022.
The first on the calendar to continue on with Season XX is the Legends of Poker. It had been a staple on WPT schedules since the first season of the show. In fact, it was the second stop ever on the World Poker Tour when it started in 2002. It disappeared from the schedule in 2020 and 2021, but the pandemic caused quite a few schedule changes. Legends will be back at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles – now called Parkwest Bicycle Casino – with a six-event group of tournaments to comprise WPT Week, set to begin on August 21, though the overall festival started on July 25.
The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa festival was already on the schedule to begin August 25, as was the WPT Australia to hit the Star Gold Coast in September. The WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic will return, though this time in October instead of the usual December series. And another trip to Florida will put the tour in action with the Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open in November.
- WPT Legends of Poker at the Bike in Los Angeles: Festival Jul 25 – Sep 1 / WPT Main Event Aug 27 – Sep 1 ($5K buy-in, $2.5M GTD, 3 flights)
- WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa in Florida: Festival Aug 25 – Sep 7 / WPT Main Event Sep 2-7 ($3,500 buy-in, 2 flights)
- WPT Australia at the Star Gold Coast: Festival Sep 15-27 / WPT Main Event Sep 23-27 ($5K buy-in, 2 flights)
- WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas: Festival Oct 7-23 / WPT Main Event Oct 19-23 ($10K buy-in, 1 flight)
- WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida: Festival Nov 16-30 / WPT Main Event Nov 25-30 ($3,500 buy-in, $2M GTD, 2 flights)
For the season finale, the World Poker Tour is bringing back the WPT World Championship. It’s doing so with a new partner, Wynn Las Vegas. And it’s doing so with big numbers and goals.
The WPT first announced the partnership in early June. They noted that the WPT World Championship would run at the Wynn in Las Vegas for the first 20 days of December, complete with a $10K buy-in finale that would offer a $15M guarantee.
The largest guarantee in live poker history.
The WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/ZFrdQOKvfV
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 6, 2022
WPT CEO Adam Pliska said, “This is one of the most ambitious initiatives the World Poker Tour has undertaken in our 20-year history.”
They also noted that there would be a WPT Prime finale and more. And for the WPT Main Event, they would be putting in at least 200 online qualifiers and “hundreds more” through live satellites. It appears that ClubWPT will be the exclusive online platform for US players to win prize packages.
This week, the WPT and Wynn released the entire schedule. It includes more mixed games and a Ladies Championship, the latter that will be filmed for a television broadcast, alongside the Main Event. Without further ado, this is the final schedule:
- Dec 1-4: $600 buy-in NLHE with 6 flights, 25K chips, $500K GTD
- Dec 4: $600 buy-in NLHE (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 5: $600 buy-in HORSE (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 5-7: $600 buy-in NLHE with 2 flights, 25K chips, $200K GTD
- Dec 6: $600 buy-in Limit Omaha-8 (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 7-8: $1,100 buy-in NLHE 50+ Seniors Championship (2 days) 30K chips, $200K GTD
- Dec 7: $600 buy-in 5-Card PLO (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 8-19: $1,100 buy-in WPT Prime Championship with 3 flights, 30K chips, $2M GTD
- Dec 8-9: $3K buy-in 8-Game Mix (2 days) 30K chips, $200K GTD
- Dec 9: $600 buy-in PLO Turbo (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 10: $600 buy-in NLHE $1K Bounty Turbo (single day) 25K chips, $50K GTD
- Dec 12-20: $10,400 buy-in WPT World Championship with 3 flights, 100K chips, $15M GTD
- Dec 12-13: $1,100 buy-in HORSE Championship (2 days) 30K chips, $100K GTD
- Dec 13-14: $1,100 buy-in Limit Omaha-8 Championship (2 days) 30K chips, $100K GTD
- Dec 14: $1,600 buy-in NLHE $500 Bounty Turbo (single day) 30K chips, $100K GTD
- Dec 15-16: $3K buy-in NLHE (2 days) 30K chips, $500K GTD
- Dec 16-19: $1,600 buy-in NLHE Mystery Bounty with 3 flights, 30K chips, $2M GTD
- Dec 16-18: $1,100 buy-in Ladies Championship (3 days) 30K chips, $200K GTD
- Dec 16: $3K buy-in NLHE 6-Max (single day) 30K chips, $250K GTD
- Dec 17: $5,200 buy-in NLHE Progressive Bounty (single day) 30K chips, $250K GTD
- Dec 18: $10,500 buy-in NLHE High Roller (single day) 100K chips
- Dec 19: $1,100 buy-in NLHE (single day) 25K chips, $200K GTD
- Dec 19: $600 buy-in NLHE Tag Team Bomb Pot (single day) 40K chips, $50K GTD
Where is WPT Global?
The new WPT Global online poker site is not open to players in the United States. That is why most people in America know little to nothing about the site.
However, it is a big part of the new World Poker Tour’s new ownership. It is linked to LearnWPT to give players free and/or discounted access to coaching. The full scope of WPT Global’s reach is not yet widely known, as it is still building a player base. We do know that Alex Scott is the WPT Global General Manager.
What is clear is that big names are participating in the partnership, though their exact roles remain unknown to the public. Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, who formerly represented Poker King are involved, as are the WPT ambassadors and hosts. Players like Jamie Kerstetter and Xuan Liu and chess star Nemo Zhou appear to work with WPT Global to some extend as well.
The first two ads from the company were entertaining, promoting a $1M GTD tournament that players could enter for just $1.
Lots of very cool @wpt_global events going right now including the $1 for 1 million. I may have gotten a little carried away with the planning of it; as a result, we expect an overlay… pic.twitter.com/mGCzkIIYm2
— Brad Owen (@TheBradOwen) July 22, 2022
— Phil Ivey (@philivey) July 23, 2022
There will be more to come. As WPT Global grows, it will reveal – hopefully – more of its associates, goals, and plans.
Meanwhile, the World Poker Tour will continue to celebrate its 20th anniversary, probably with more surprises in store.