As the World Poker Tour celebrates its 20th anniversary, the tour made quite an announcement on Monday. The company is partnering with Wynn Las Vegas in December for the largest guaranteed tournament in poker history.
The property will host the $10,400 WPT World Championship featuring poker’s first $15 million guaranteed prize pool.
“This is one of the most ambitious initiatives the World Poker Tour has undertaken in our 20-year history,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “We expect this to be a highly anticipated festival and are elated to be partnering with Wynn Las Vegas to bring this concept to life.”
Details on the WPT World Championship at Wynn
The entire WPT World Championship runs Dec. 1-20 with the championship event final table filmed for television. Players will find three starting flights on Dec. 12, 13, and 14 with a champion crowned on Dec. 20.
Each features a freezeout format, with players only permitted a single entry per flight. The new event may have poker fans wondering about the future of the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. That event was the tour’s first and is traditionally also held in December.
The company offered no insight on that tournament’s future, but WPT Vice President Angelica Hael spoke with USPoker about the new Wynn event.
The property has become a popular spot for big-guarantee tournaments, including the Wynn Millions over the last two years. Hael said the tour and Wynn wanted to make a bold statement and the massive guarantee does that.
“We felt that this amount was reflective of the power of both brands and achievable via the many ways that one can play in this event,” she said. “ClubWPT is the exclusive online platform in the US that will be offering satellite qualifiers to the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.
“Select casinos and other global partners will also run satellites for this event and very soon, we’ll be in a position to outline other avenues where players from around the world can win their seat to this festival.”
A new highlight for the WPT season
The Wynn event is expected to become the major exclamation point for each tour season, Hael said. Winners from each WPT tour stop automatically earn a seat into the World Championship.
Tour officials foresee hundreds of live and online satellite winners as part of the mix. The partnership offers a new opportunity for the tour, Hael said, to work with one of Las Vegas’s premier properties.
“Throughout the years, we have had discussions with Wynn regarding a joint partnership but the timing just wasn’t right,” she said. “It’s fitting that in our 20-year anniversary, this partnership has finally been solidified and we are incredibly grateful and honored to have the opportunity to deliver this festival to the global poker community.
“A massive and special thank you to (Wynn executive director of poker operations) Ryan Beauregard for supporting the vision and for having the commitment and dedication to bring to life a one-of-a-kind and must-attend festival.”
The largest guarantee in live poker history.
The WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/ZFrdQOKvfV
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 6, 2022
Other major events on tap
There is much more beyond the championship and the Wynn series includes more than a dozen tournaments. The $1,100 WPT Prime Championship is also a televised event and runs Dec. 8-12 with a $2 million guarantee.
The festival concludes Dec. 16-19 with the $2 million guaranteed Wynn Mystery Bounty. Players have a chance to draw for cash prizes up to $100,000 after eliminating fellow competitors.
“We offer our guests the biggest and best poker experiences available, coupled with the world-class service and amenities that can only be found at Wynn Las Vegas,” Beauregard said. “In partnership with WPT, we have created a festival that will be a one-of-a-kind, must-attend event for both our current and new players.”
Numerous online qualifying opportunities
At least 200 online qualifiers will attend the WPT World Championship via ClubWPT, the tour’s sweepstakes/subscription online poker platform. Numerous qualifying opportunities begin June 12 on the site.
ClubWPT offers at least one qualifying event every weekend through October with winners earning a $12,000 VIP tournament package, which includes:
- hotel stay
- travel allowance
- a dedicated VIP host
- WPT party invitations
- chats with WPT talent
In addition to weekly qualifiers, ClubWPT plans special promotional events later in the year to award tournament packages. The tour previously partnered with partypoker to co-brand live and online events. That seems not in the near future anymore after the company was purchased in 2021.
“We have been honored and extremely proud of the successful partnership with partypoker over the years,” Hael said. “While WPT continues to work alongside our worldwide partners to deliver a premier experience, we do not currently have any events planned with partypoker.”
The new Wynn stop seems to offer a renewed effort to promote ClubWPT. Along with the championship events, satellites for the Prime Championship will also run online.
“We couldn’t be more excited to provide a pathway for our ClubWPT members to qualify for this unprecedented event,” WPT Vice President of online services Jeremy Clemons said.
“This opportunity really defines what ClubWPT is all about. Our players are extremely passionate about poker and many wouldn’t have the capability to test skills at the highest level without winning their way in. Our series of qualifiers for the WPT World Championship will turn poker dreams into reality for dozens of players.”