World Poker Tour Goes to Las Vegas for Five Diamond

Matthew Clark November 29, 2017 402 Reads
WPT Five Diamond Classic

The end of the poker calendar is near and few elite events remain on the schedule. Perhaps the most prestigious event on the World Poker Tour calendar is among them with the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic starting up on December 5. The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada always put on a great show and is playing host once again for the event.

A poker event filled with history

The Five Diamond holds a special place in the hearts of the WPT and its fans as it is the first ever tournament to be played on the tour. Gus Hansen became the first player ever to lift the Champions Cup in 2002 and many famous names have joined him since then.

Among the players to claim victory at Five Diamond this decade are Dan Smith, Antonio Esfandiari, and two-time WPT winner Kevin Eyster.

The buy-in for this event has always remained at least $10,000, bringing both large prize pools and poker’s best in for the event.

Last year, James Romero came from relative obscurity to overcome a record-breaking field of 791 entrants and win the title. Romero also claimed $1.92 million and forever etched himself into poker lore with his win.

Art Papazyan running away with Player of the Year

Season XVI brings a few storylines into Las Vegas with Art Papazyan chief among them. The cash game sensation from Los Angeles recently entered the tournament scene and is winning everything in his path.

Papazyan won Legends of Poker in his hometown earlier this season in his first ever WPT event, beating Phil Hellmuth heads up. A few weeks later, Papazyan went to WPT Maryland and took down the title there to add to his accumulating collection.

Papazyan carries a dominating lead into Five Diamond for the WPT Player of the Year race and will look to build on it there.

The lead of Papazyan is hefty with his 2,400 points but the race could swing. With 1,400 points expected to be up grabs at Five Diamond any player who has already made a deep run has a chance to pull close.

Will the tournament regs finally win one?

So far in Season XVI, the established tournament pros have fallen by the   wayside in place of upstarts making their first WPT splash. Jay Lee set the early trend for this in Choctaw and Guo Liang Chen at Borgata followed by Paul Petraglia in Jacksonville built on this.

The elites have had their chances but have yet to capitalize. Darren Elias and Sam Panzica were looking for title number four and three, respectively, in Jacksonville and Petraglia denied them both. David Peters reached the final table in Montreal and remains without a WPT title.

In recent seasons, Jake Schindler, Justin Bonomo, and Tobias Reinkemeier all had their chance to win at the Five Diamond final table. There will undoubtedly be some of the game’s greats who make a run toward winning a title for the old guard.

How big will the field get?

The field size has grown in the last few years and has the potential to do so again in Season XVI. In 2014, Mohsin Charania beat 586 entrants and in 2015, Eyster overcame a field of 639. Very few in the poker world expected last year’s record number and a high bar is set for next week.

There is a reason to be optimistic with numbers up across a few $10,000 events this year including the World Series of Poker Main Event. The third-biggest field size in WSOP history assembled with 7,221 tallying a receipt. Given the re-entry nature of Five Diamond and registration open until late on Day 2, we could see a surge in event entries as well.

Where to watch the WPT Five Diamond Classic

The Five Diamond final table will be live streamed on PokerGO on Sunday, December 10. This is the first time ever that every single hand from the WPT stage will be available to watch.

If recent history is any indication, it should be an exciting tournament and the final table will be can’t miss with over $1 million up for grabs for first place.