The World Poker Tour is placing a major emphasis on events geared toward women at the upcoming World Championship Festival at Wynn Las Vegas. The company recently announced several female-focused initiatives, including giveaways and dedicated events.
A big part of that is the $1,100 WPT Ladies Championship featuring a $200,000 guarantee and running Dec. 16-18. The event offers the largest guarantee for any ladies poker tournament in history.
This is also the first open ladies event filmed for television and broadcast across WPT platforms. The tour also has more in store for female players in attendance.
“We are so encouraged by the tremendous initial response to the World Championship Event,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. “Considering the immense efforts by our very own vice president of global tour management, Angelica Hael, it is only fitting to advocate for the progression of women in poker, including the many women who have been critical to the WPT story.”
In other tour news, several online poker players have also recently earned WPT World Championship seats. The tour also outlined online qualifying opportunities.
Getting more women into the tournament
As the championship event approaches, the WPT is awarding Ladies Championship seats in several ways. Those include events through partnerships with women’s organizations. Here is a look at winning opportunities and those who have already won a seat.
- WPT Choctaw – Yvette Barrera (May 4)
- JACK Cleveland Casino – Katie Kopp (Aug. 27)
- SHARE Inc. – Heidi Straus (Oct. 13)
- Poker League of Nations – Stephanie Nolan (Oct. 15; one more to be awarded)
- Women’s Poker Association – Angel Smith via Facebook giveaway (Nov. 8); another to be awarded Dec. 14 during Women in Poker Hall of Fame
- Women in Poker – Two seats awarded Nov. 28 and in December during group’s Winter Festival
- Milestone Satellite – 10 seats guaranteed Dec. 15 during $200 live satellite at Wynn
- Malta Poker Festival – one seat guaranteed
“The WPT World Championship Festival is set to be a record-setting event and we wanted to ensure it also showcases our commitment to growing the presence of women in poker,” Hael said. “We can’t wait to shine a spotlight on these amazing women in the Ladies Championship with a televised final table for our 20th-anniversary broadcasting schedule.”
Hael has been with the WPT for over a decade and consistently spearheaded women’s poker initiatives. The Australia native was recently named as an inductee for the 2022 Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
More opportunities for women in poker
Another Ladies Championship Passport opportunity comes with Hael’s Hall of Fame induction. ClubWPT, the tour’s subscription online poker site, will host an open tournament on Nov. 27.
Hael will be among the field, along with other Women in Poker HOF members. Those knocking out a member earn a $100 ShopWPT voucher and knocking out Hael grants the Passport bounty prize. There is no purchase necessary to play on ClubWPT.
Beyond the Ladies Championship, even more is on tap for female players. The WPT Ladies Meet-Up Game runs Dec. 17. Hosted by Jamie Kerstetter, the game features $1/$2 and $2/$5 No Limit Hold’em cash games in the Wynn poker room. Kerstetter will be joined by WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin as well as poker players Xuan Liu, Ashley Sleeth, and more.
Online poker players earn World Championship seats
In other ClubWPT news, the site is sending more than 50 players to the World Championship. In Las Vegas, these players will find exclusive promotions and experiences. ClubWPT offers the only online qualifying in the US and has awarded:
- World Championship packages – 27 players
- Prime Championship package – 22 players
- Special events package – seven players
“WPT World Championship packages are the most prestigious prizes we have ever awarded on ClubWPT, and we are proud to host qualifying players at our 20th-anniversary celebration,” Pliska said.
The “Passport” initiative was introduced this year and packages include a tournament buy-in, stipend for travel expenses, ClubWPT merchandise, accommodations at the Wynn, and special events with WPT talent and ambassadors.
The seven special event winners attending the festival qualified for one of two experiences. Five competitors will attempt to win a World Championship seat in the Tony Dunst Battleship Bounty on Dec. 9.
The other two players will take on each other for a $10,400 seat in the six-handed WPT Phil Ivey Home Game on Dec. 6. The poker legend recently signed as a tour ambassador.
The players will compete to see who lasts longer at the table with Ivey and fellow WPT ambassadors Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen as well as WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin.
“We’re always excited to offer ClubWPT members unique experiences and promotions,” WPT Vice President of online services Jeremy Clemons said. “It is nice to be able to grant our online qualifiers from across the nation with major live event opportunities at the World Championship.”
Bruce Ramoth, out of Selawik, Alaska, is one of those who has already won a seat. He’ll be playing in his first-ever live poker tournament. Others entering the World Championship include ClubWPT player of the year Mark Symons, 86-year-old Charles Ralston, and more.