The American online poker market has seen some growth recently but is certainly still limited. However, players in unregulated states can participate in sweepstakes poker. The World Poker Tour’s ClubWPT is one of those options and now offering a million reasons to get in the game.
ClubWPT announced a new promotion on Tuesday for all VIP members as part of its regular qualifiers for WPT events. For 2020, that now includes a chance to win an extra $1 million.
Any qualifier to win his or her subsequent live event will take home a million bucks in addition to the first-place cash. ClubWPT is legal in 35 states and has been a longtime sponsor of the tour. VIP members are full members of the site, paying a monthly for a shot at cash and prizes.
A big bonus opportunity and added drama for online poker players
Sweepstakes poker sites allow players to play for a monthly fee or subscription. Tournaments and cash games are then based on points or virtual dollars.
Each month ClubWPT awards $100,000 in cash and prizes to players. That has included hundreds of packages to WPT events around the world.
“ClubWPT is a tremendously important part of the World Poker Tour and we are constantly striving to improve the experience for our club members,” WPT Vice President of Online Services Jeremy Clemons told USPoker. “The $1 million bonus will provide a life-changing opportunity for several of our members in 2020.
“A deep run for any of our qualified members will certainly provide incredible drama in any of our WPT Main Tour events. The goal of the promotion is to add value for our current members and create an attractive offering for those considering joining ClubWPT.”
A chance to go from poker qualifier to poker king
Landing in a WPT event via online qualifier isn’t easy and then actually winning the tournament would certainly be tough. However, the added $1 million bonus may have many online players dreaming of a big final table sweat even more.
Last year, 19 ClubWPT players qualified to play in WPT events. The site anticipates awarding at least 20 more seats in 2020 and that could even grow.
“ClubWPT has sent hundreds of qualifiers to World Poker Tour events over the years and we are certainly looking to build on our current offering and add more qualifying opportunities,” Clemons said. “The best definitely is yet to come for ClubWPT.”
The best finish for a ClubWPT qualifier came in 2018 at the Borgata Poker Open. Bruce Collado, from Surprise, Ariz., finished 56th out of 1,075 entries for $11,123.
Other qualifiers who have scored some cash include:
- Jim McLaughlin – 100th at the Borgata Poker Open in 2017 for $6,993
- Moshe Nizan – 143rd at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in 2018 for $6,076
ClubWPT $1 million bonus qualifying events
The first event eligible for the bonus is the $10,000 buy-in WPT Gardens Poker Championship beginning on Jan. 9 in the Los Angeles area.
Other events that qualified ClubWPT VIP members can look forward to playing for a chance at the $1 million include:
- L.A. Poker Classic
- Borgata Winter Poker Open
- Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
- WPT Choctaw
All events will be televised on FOX Sports with final table filming at HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. More qualifying events are expected to be added at a later date.
“Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of players have honed their skills on ClubWPT, and we’re proud to kick off a new decade with the ClubWPT $1 million bonus,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said.
The WPT and online poker
The WPT was purchased by Black Ridge Acquisition Corporation in late 2018. Lyle Berman, a WPT co-founder, served as Black Ridge director and was expected to be the new company’s (Allied Esports Entertainment) chairman.
While the WPT currently runs its sweepstakes poker service, branching out into real-money poker isn’t out of the question.
“That’s one of the things on our radar,” Berman told USPoker in 2018. “We’d Like to see a few more states legalize it, but clearly as more and more states legalize it, it’s certainly something that we’re going to be doing.”
Pliska has also noted that the company is willing to lend its name to a platform if the right partner came along.
“I don’t anticipate us being a platform operator,” he said during the WPT’s Las Vegas media summit in the summer of 2019. “But will we work with a platform operator to bring the WPT into real-money gaming? I think that is quite likely.”
The million-dollar gamble, however, shows the tour remains committed to growing ClubWPT and the promotion should attract interest. The new year now offers players a chance to turn that 25 bucks into a seven-figure payday.
Photo by WPT/Joe Giron