Big Birthday Bash: WPT’s 20th Season Kicks Off in January With Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts

December 7, 2021
Big Birthday Bash: WPT’s 20th Season Kicks Off in January With Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts

The World Poker Tour has announced the launch of its 20th season, which is set to begin in January. The $3,500 Lucky Hearts Poker Open kicks off the historical Season XX with events running Jan. 13-26 at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.

The championship features a $2 million guarantee and becomes the seventh time the Lucky Hearts has been a WPT Main Tour stop. The 2021 event featured 1,573 entries and brought about the return to live poker for the tour.

Ilyas Muradi won that event for $620,000 and added his name to the Mike Sexton Champions Cup. With the new season getting underway, WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska said the company has some special plans for 2022.

“Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has been a fantastic partner for the World Poker Tour and starting our 20th season in Florida is a fantastic choice,” Pliska said in a news release. “Additionally, we cannot wait to let the poker world in on some of the special initiatives we have planned for our 20th anniversary, including an updated approach to one of the most beloved events in WPT history.”

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What to expect in 2022

When Season XX gets underway, poker fans will find all final tables streamed live on WPT social media channels. That includes the Lucky Hearts final table set for Jan. 26. The first tour stop features 31 events and more than $5 million in guarantees.

The tour hasn’t released any other dates yet. However a look at the 2021 schedule might offer some insight on what to expect. The Seminole Hard Rock properties in Florida hosted events as did the following properties:

  • Choctaw Casino (Oklahoma)
  • Casino Sochi (Russia)
  • King’s Casino (Czech Republic)
  • Venetian (Las Vegas)

Events in New Jersey, California, and Maryland were canceled but possibly could return in 2022. There also remains one final event for Season XIX, the $10,400 Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

The Five Diamond is the Super Bowl of the WPT and has seen some of the biggest names in poker score the title. This year’s event is set for Dec. 15-19 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Beyond live events, the WPT transitioned to partnering with partypoker for more online series after the pandemic. Events in the US and internationally have been co-branded and produced large player pools as online poker surged.

It seems likely more online events will be included in Season XX, but nothing has been announced yet. The WPTDeepStacks tour has also featured online festivals and is currently running a series at 888poker.

Gediminas Uselis after winning the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. (photos courtesy WPT)

Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open wraps up in Florida

The launch of the new season comes after the Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open wrapped up at the Seminole. Gediminas Uselis topped a field of 1,566 entries, the largest WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll ever. The Lithuanian player walked away with $778,490 in first-place money.

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April drew a record-setting 2,482 entries. The five largest live fields in WPT history have all come from events at the Hollywood property. 

“Our team is constantly striving to deliver a premier experience for poker players, and we believe the results speak for themselves,” tournament director Jason Heidenthal said. “We look forward to being a big part of the World Poker Tour’s 20th anniversary and helping kick things off with Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January.”

Here’s a look at the final table payouts:

  1. Gediminas Uselis (Lithuania), $778,490
  2. Jacob Ferro (Florida), $573,605
  3. Harout Ghazarian (Canada), $380,000
  4. Selahaddin Bedir (Turkey), $282,380
  5. Clayton Maguire (Nevada) $211,925
  6. Anshul Rai (Westfield, Ind.) $170,835

The series opener drew 6,196 entries, breaking the record for largest field in Florida poker history. The tournament also more than doubled the $1 million guarantee.

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