The WPT Online Championships officially kicked off at partypoker July 17 and players can expect a massive series. The festival includes the biggest overall guarantee in the site’s history – $100 million.
The series, which runs through Sept. 8, is designed to replicate an authentic live WPT experience. That includes adding new players to the WPT Champions Club.
The series comes at a time when online poker is reaching record numbers of players. Series continue to attract massive fields and that should include the WPT series.
Partypoker ambassador Jason Koon has more than $31 million in live tournament winnings. He’ll be looking to add his own name to the Champions Club and spoke with PokerScout about the series.
Koon sees the WPTOC as a way to replace some big live poker action that’s missing right now.
“The series has been warmly received, with players being locked up and itching to play some higher-stakes tournaments,” Koon says. “This is of course a difficult year for live poker, and while online poker has seen higher traffic, what poker really needs is that familiarity with the large-scale live events we are used to seeing.”
A chance for WPT glory via partypoker
Winners of five of the championship events will receive individual trophies. These players will also win a $15,000 entry and travel accommodations for the WPT Tournament of Champions.
“Winning a big field, high-buy in tournament online versus great players is an excellent accomplishment, deserving of being in the Champions Club,” Koon says. “While it may not quite be the same as it would with TV cameras there in front of you, it still gives an added edge to events and I’m sure players will be going all out to win their place.”
Koon describes the series as “player friendly,” even beyond the championship events. Some buy-ins will be priced as low as $3 and $20.
“It’s important to make players of all levels feel like they are welcome to play in the series,” Koon says. “Having a tiered structure like this means the quality of the festival can still be at a high level without making people feel like it’s too exclusive for them to be involved.”
Another nice bullet point for the series, Koon says, is that players will only be allowed one re-entry for championships. He hopes that is the trend in major online poker events.
“Online operators have gone a bit bonkers with allowing unlimited rebuys and overall, I don’t think it’s good for the poker economy and I don’t think it’s something many players will ever be in favor of,” he says. “Give players an opportunity to re-buy, but don’t saturate the field and make it too easy. It’s meant to be a challenge that rewards only the best players.”
Partypoker enhances Twitch stream for series
As part of the Online Championships, partypoker has upped its streaming game for fans as well. Players can follow the action via Partypoker’s Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook platforms.
Party has teamed with ShareHand, its production partner for live partypoker MILLIONS festivals. The effort is meant to provide an experience as close as possible to watching a live series. That includes:
- Live streaming of the 12 championship events.
- All final tables featuring cards up on a short delay.
- Real names of all final table players will be shown on screen to replicate a live WPT final table.
Partypoker also promises tournament ticket giveaways to viewers. Commentary will be provided by traditional WPT commentators Vince Van Patten, Tony Dunst, and Mike Sexton.
Others will also be joining in including James Dempsey, Joey Ingram, and Team partypoker pros Koon, Isaac Haxton, Roberto Romanello, Sam Trickett, and Ludovic Geilich. WPT executive tour director Matt Savage will be lead commentator for the five Champions Cup events.
Several side events will also be streamed. James Dempsey and Henry Kilbane will offer coverage of those events up to four times per week.
Commentary for all streams will be available in English as well as Russian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
“The WPT World Online Championships is special for so many reasons,” Sexton says. “Give it a go and good luck. I hope to see you on a final table where I’ll be commentating.”
Leaderboards offer an extra $100,000 in prizes
There are even more opportunities for players to win during the WPT World Online Championships. Two tournament leaderboards will pay out a guaranteed $100,000 to players of all buy-in levels.
The top leaderboard is for events with a buy-in of $320 or more (excluding High Roller week). The winner takes home $50,000 and the top 10 finishers on the leaderboard will cash. Points will be awarded based on:
- finishing position
- tournament buy-in
- number of entries
The series will also feature the WPT Rising Star leaderboard for players in smaller buy-in events. The promotion features a guaranteed $25,000 paid, including $10,000 to the winner.
Players earn points by competing in events with a buy-in of $300 or less. A player’s 10 best scores count toward the leaderboard, meaning everyone has a chance and the outcome isn’t bankroll dependent.
The top 10 finishers will cash with prizes ranging from $500 to $10,000.
Second chance freerolls offer players an extra $400,000 in prizes
Players have extra opportunities to qualify for WPT World Online Championships throughout the series. Partypoker is offering numerous second chance freerolls through Sept. 6.
Any player taking part in any satellite or tournament will win a ticket into one of the two daily freerolls. These events will offer more than $400,000 in WPT World Online Championships event tickets.
The series offers several weeks of big poker action. Here’s a look at the complete schedule.
|Aug. 29||#07 World Championship Main Event Day 1A [4-Day Event]||$10,000||$300||$10,000,000|
|Aug. 30||#07 World Championship Main Event Day 1B [4-Day Event]||$10,000||$300||None|
|Sept. 2||#08 World Championship Heads Up [No Late Reg, 256 Cap, 2-Day Event]||$3,000||$200||$500,000|
|Sept. 2||#08 Mini World Championship Heads Up [No Late Reg, 512 Cap, 2-Day Event]||$300||$20||$100,000|
|Sept. 2||#08 Micro World Championship Heads Up [No Late Reg, 1024 Cap, 2-Day Event]||$30||$3||$20,000|
|Sept. 5||#09 World Championship Mix-Max Day 1A [3-Day Event]||$3,000||$200||$3,000,000|
|Sept. 5||#09 Mini World Championship Mix-Max Day 1A [3-Day Event]||$300||$20||$1,000,000|
|Sept. 5||#09 Micro World Championship Mix-Max Day 1A [3-Day Event]||$30||$3||$300,000|
|Sept. 5||#10 World Championship Super High Roller Day 1A [3-Day Event]||$25,000||$500||$10,000,000|
|Sept. 6||#09 World Championship Mix-Max Day 1B [3-Day Event]||$3,000||$200||None|
|Sept. 6||#09 Mini World Championship Mix-Max Day 1B [3-Day Event]||$300||$20||None|
|Sept. 6||#09 Micro World Championship Mix-Max Day 1B [3-Day Event]||$30||$3||None|
|Sept. 6||#10 World Championship Super High Roller Day 1B [3-Day Event]||$25,000||$500||None|
|Sept. 7||#11 World Championship Super High Roller [2-Day Event]||$100,000||$2,000||$5,000,000|
|Sept. 8||#12 World Championship Turbo||$3,000||$200||$1,000,000|
|Sept. 8||#12 Mini World Championship Turbo||$300||$20||$300,000|
|Sept. 8||#12 Micro World Championship Turbo||$30||$3||$100,000|
|*** All events allow one re-entry per Day 1|
Champions Cup photo courtesy of WPT