World Poker Tour And WPTDeepStacks Come to Seminole Hard Rock

January 4, 2018
World Poker Tour And WPTDeepStacks Come to Seminole Hard Rock


The World Poker Tour returns to familiar territory in January with the restoration of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. The WPT and Seminole Hard Rock have formed one of the strongest brand-property bonds in the poker industry and will work together again starting next week.

The LHPO gives the WPT the rare chance to put both the Main Tour and the WPTDeepStacks brand on display. The series opens with a $1,100 buy-in $1 million guaranteed WPTDeepStacks Main Event and closes with a $2 million guaranteed WPT Main Event.

WPTDeepStacks kicks off Season 5

WPTDeepStacks opened Season 2, 3, and 4 at Seminole Hard Rock and bring their opening event of Season 5 back to familiar stomping grounds. The first year of the WPTDS and Lucky Hearts partnership produced a $300,000 guarantee and 396 entrants. In Season 3, the ante was raised to the ceiling and the results proved worth the risk.

A total of 1,684 entrants decimated the $1 million guarantee and the poker world was first introduced to Salomon Ponte. The ‘Hashtag King’ won the event along with $344,420 and gave one of the most famous winner’s interviews in poker history.

The encore for that performance drew 1,509 registrants in 2017 with Michael Graffeo topping the field to walk away with $290,687. Graffeo beat a top-notch final table that included Aaron Massey and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Loni Harwood.

This year’s turnout should fall in between those two figures and the action opens on January 11 with the first of three starting flights. The final table will be live streamed on Tuesday, January 16.

World Poker Tour opens 2018 campaign

Only three days following the end of the WPTDS Main Event at Lucky Hearts, the $3,500 World Poker Tour Main Event starts up on Friday, January 19. This is the first time the WPT has made a trip to Seminole for Lucky Hearts since Season XIII. In January 2015, Brian Altman won his first WPT title and $723,008 against 1,027 contestants.

In Seasons XIV and XV, the World Poker Tour used April as their Seminole Showcase. The $3,500 Hard Rock Poker Showdown, $10,000 Hard Rock Finale, and $15,000 Tournament of Champions took place over the span of 10 days to close out the WPT calendar.

Seminole is currently under construction for the impending Miami Super Bowl in 2020 and has less overall space available on their property. The WPT has already announced the Tournament of Champions is moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, and ARIA for an undetermined date in May.

Instead of cramming three tournaments into one series, the WPT brought back the Main Tour Lucky Hearts event and is keeping the Hard Rock Poker Showdown at its familiar April date.

The Season XVI LHPO Main Event features another multi-million dollar guarantee and two starting flights. The tournament is six total days and concludes with a live-streamed final table on Wednesday, January 24.

Large field expected, POY points up for grabs

The only competition the WPT and Seminole face for this event is the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Thunder Valley. The starting days overlap but with the number of players already traveling back from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and within the country, a four-figure field is not out of the question. Also helping the field size odds is the structure format allowing for unlimited re-entry.

There is a WPT Main Event taking place prior to Lucky Hearts in Berlin. WPTDeepStacks and the World Poker Tour are double-dipping there as well for the WPT European Championship. Berlin will draw a quality turnout but will not affect the current WPT Player of the Year standings to the point where current leader Art Papazyan should start to sweat.

Papazyan brings 2,400 points into the new year with no player closer than 1,000 points to his lead. Any player within striking distance of Papazyan needs to likely win at least one more event to pull themselves over 2,000 points. Papazyan has not formally announced his 2018 schedule as of yet but maintains he is a favorite to play at least the L.A. Poker Classic in February.

Any player firing the Lucky Hearts WPT event can count on at least 1,000 POY points up for grabs for first place.

The World Poker Tour and WPTDeepStacks are busy once again and this Florida swing should provide some large prize pools and memorable moments to start the U.S. poker season.

Photo credit: World Poker Tour Flickr page

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