WPT Roundup: World Championship Qualifying Begins, Model Wins NY Charity Event, Australia Champion Crowned

October 14, 2022
WPT Roundup: World Championship Qualifying Begins, Model Wins NY Charity Event, Australia Champion Crowned

The World Poker Tour World Championship heads to Wynn Las Vegas in December with a $15 million guarantee and qualifying is already underway.

The tour expects more than 500 players to qualify via online and live satellites. The $10,400 buy-in championship event is set for Dec. 12-18 and has become the highlight of the WPT schedule.

“By offering so many different avenues to the WPT World Championship, poker players of all backgrounds and skill levels can be a part of this record-breaking event,” company CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “We look forward to greeting all qualifiers at the renowned Wynn Las Vegas in December.”

In other tour news, the WPT Foundation recently hosted a major fundraising event in New York. A new champion also recently emerged in the tour first Australia event.

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WPT World Championship qualifying opportunities

Players looking to grab a seat in the event have numerous options. The tour is offering online qualifiers through WPT Global on the international front and via ClubWPT, the tour’s US subscription online poker option. The WPT Feeder and Funnel Program also offers satellites at live casino partners around the world.

WPT ambassadors Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen recently hosted an online meet-up game on ClubWPT. The event awarded a $12,000 World Championship passports to the winners, which were:

  • Stacey Breslin, product manager from Lakemoor, Illinois
  • Billy Haines, a semi-retired airline pilot from Superior, Colorado

A passport includes buy-in, a four-night stay at Wynn, and $1,000 cash for travel expenses. Owen won his own tournament and gave the grand prize to the second-place finisher, which turned out to be Haines.

Along with the Passport, satellite winners receive WPT merchandise and access to exclusive VIP experiences. ClubWPT players can win a package every Sunday in October, except for Oct. 16. There is no purchase necessary to play on ClubWPT.

Wynn also will hold live satellites throughout October, November, and early December. That includes $1,100 tournaments on Oct. 16 and Oct. 30 with 10 seats guaranteed. A $1,100 satellite guaranteeing 50 seats is also set for Dec. 11, one day before Day 1A of the World Championship.

WPT hosts charity event in New York, raises $2 million for education group

In other news, the WPT Foundation held the 12th Annual Take ‘Em to School Charity Poker Tournament on Oct. 6 at Gotham Hall in New York City. The event raised $2 million for the Education Reform Now (ERN) group and New York-based model Alejandra Cata took the top spot.

“We’re proud to partner with the WPT Foundation on our event again this year, and greatly appreciate the continued support from our generous attendees,” ERN President Shavar Jeffries said. “At this critical time, with so many students and families facing additional educational challenges due to the pandemic, this event allows us to do even more to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education.”

Big names in the field

This marked the sixth time the WPT hosted the annual event. ERN is a non-profit organization that works to ensure all children have access to a high-quality public education. The national advocacy group pushes policy makers to invest in public education and proven programs aiding in closing educational opportunity gaps.

“WPT and the World Poker Tour Foundation are proud to support worthy charities that make meaningful impacts in communities in need,” Pliska said.

Guests included WPT founder Steve Lipscomb, commentators Vince Van Patten and Tony Dunst, and poker pros Scotty Nguyen, Maria Ho, Moshin Charania, and Erik Seidel.

Others in the field included Rounders co-writer Brian Koppelman, statistics guru and poker player Nate Silver, former NFL player Justin Tuck, and former NBA players Rod Strickland, Latrell Sprewell, and Hall of Famer Kenny “the Jet” Smith, who was also the keynote speaker.

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WPT Australia winner crowned

David Tang winner os the WPT’s first Main Tour event in Australia. (photos courtesy WPT)

The tour crowned another winner in September with David Tang, of Melbourne, winning the first-ever WPT Main Tour stop in Australia at The Star Gold Coast. He defeated Po Ho heads-up for the title and $425,712. 

The win also came with an entry into the WPT World Championship. Tang’s win may have seemed a bit unlikely considering his interesting turn of events.

“I’m still a bit stung, but it’s awesome,” Tang said after the win. “I wasn’t expecting to get this far.

“To be honest I was actually trying to cancel my flight here because I wanted to watch the (Australian Football League) Grand Final in Melbourne, but they wouldn’t give us a refund on our flights so it just all worked out.”

The $3,400 event produced a field of 710 players and saw a $2.2 million prize pool. Ho claimed a payout of $265,128 for finishing runner-up.

The $10,400 Five Diamond World Poker Classic is next up for the tour. The championship runs Oct. 19-23 at Bellagio in Las Vegas with a $5 million guarantee.

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