WPT Releases Deep Schedule of Ladies Events for 2023; Prime Gold Coast Event Breaks Record

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the WPT announced several new ladies events running throughout Season XXI on Wednesday..

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the World Poker Tour announced several new ladies events on Wednesday.

The new events are scheduled throughout Season XXI and the announcement comes after the first WPT Ladies Championship was held in December at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

As part of the announcement, the tour outlined dates for the second version of that tournament as well. The schedule also includes several tournaments at international stops.

“At WPT we take pride in the efforts we have put forth to increase women’s participation in poker,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “As we recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day, we look forward to these record-setting initiatives throughout Season XXI and seeing more women play in our events around the world.”

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A look at the WPT ladies schedule

In Season XXI, ladies events will be held at 13 WPT festivals. That includes seven tournaments at WPT Prime stops and six at Main Tour stops. The grand finale will again be the Ladies Championship at the WPT World Championship festival.

Numerous women are a part of the leadership team at WPT, tour officials noted. Vice President of global tour management Angelica Hael was a 2022 Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee.

Some other key female leaders in the company include Vice President of finance Deborah Frazzetta, Vice President of marketing Hermance Blum, executive producer Mandy Glogow, and Vice President of studio, distribution, and ad sales Loc Sondheim.

“Fostering the presence of women in poker has always been a natural part of the WPT ecosystem,” Hael said. “This year, we are proud to present dedicated ladies events at an overwhelming majority of our global festivals, culminating with the 2023 WPT Ladies Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.”

A look at the schedule, TV events

In celebration of Women’s History Month, WPT will air episodes from various ladies events across TV and streaming platforms every night in the month of March. The Season XXI scheduled ladies events include:

  1. WPT Prime Cambodia
  2. Prime India
  3. WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown (Main Tour)
  4. WPT Choctaw (Main Tour)
  5. Prime Slovakia
  6. Prime Vietnam
  7. Prime Taiwan
  8. Prime Liechtenstein
  9. WPT Australia (Main Tour)
  10. Prime Madrid
  11. WPT bestbet Scramble (Main Tour)
  12. WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (Main Tour)
  13. WPT World Championship (Main Tour)
Sheng Ye celebrate winning the WPT Prime Gold Coast. (photos courtesy WPT)

WPT Prime Gold Coast winner

In other tour news, Sheng Ye came out on top in the second WPT Prime Gold Coast on Sunday night. He topped a record-breaking field of 1,224 entries in the AUD $2,000 buy-in main event at The Star Gold Coast in Queensland.

Ye grabbed AUD $374,953 for the win, which also includes a package to play in the season-ending WPT World Championship in December.

Just a month after Prime Paris broke the “non-championship” Prime entries record with 1,071, the Gold Coast event topped that by 153 entries. That entry total produced a prize pool of AUD $2.2 million. Ben Richardson finished runner-up, securing AUD $238,978.

WPT Prime Cambodia at NagaWorld Integrated Resort in Phnom Penh is next up on the tour. The festival runs March 9-21 with the $1,100 main event set for March 16-20.

WPT Roundup: Fabrice Bigot Wins France Event, Tour Teams Up With One Drop Foundation, & More

The WPT's latest international stop concluded recently with Fabrice Bigot taking down the €1,100 Prime Paris event for $193,291.

The World Poker Tour’s latest international stop concluded recently with Fabrice Bigot taking down the €1,100 Prime Paris event for $193,291.

This marked the biggest cash of the Frenchman’s poker career. He now has more than $715,000 in live tournament winnings.

In other news, the WPT also recently announced a new partnership with the One Drop Foundation. The agreement brings a new initiative to the tour’s own charitable foundation. Here’s a quick look at the events as well as some WPT tournaments on the horizon.

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A look at the WPT Prime Paris event

The event at the Club Circus Paris in France marked the first event for the WPT of 2023. The tournament wrapped up on Feb. 5 and the event saw 1,071 entries for a $1.1 million prize pool.

Along with the payout, Bigot (pictured in lead image courtesy WPT) earned a $10,400 seat to the 2023 WPT World Championship. The December event at the Wynn Las Vegas proved popular with players and saw big numbers. The tour is once again running the championship this year with event winners grabbing a seat throughout Season XXI.

Bigot finished Day 2 second in chips going into the eight-handed final table. He sat just behind Sabare Atmani, but continued to grow his stack throughout the day.

 

The two eventually faced off heads up for the title with Bigot holding more than a 2-to-1 chip advantage – 22.3 million to 9.9 million. That proved too much and after 11 hands, Bigot finished off his opponent.

The final hand saw both players see a flop of J♠10♠9♦. Atmani checked and Bigot made a bet of 800,000. Atmani then moved all in for the last of his 6.8 million.

Bigot called with A♥J♦ and top pair while Atmani held 10♥7♣ with middle pair and inside straight draw. The 6♠ and 2♥ brought no help for Atmani and Bigot had the title.

“I feel like I am where I should be,” Bigot said before the final table got underway. That certainly proved to be the case. Here are the final table payouts.

WPT Prime Paris

  1. Fabrice Bigot – $194,390
  2. Sabare Atmani – $123,934
  3. Alexandre Le Vaillant – $92,128
  4. Federico Cirillo – $69,096
  5. Antoine Labat – $51,548
  6. Manuel Coimbra – $39,483
  7. Hakim Chniyat – $30,709
  8. Timothee Scotti – $24,129

Tour announces new charity poker initiatives

In other news, the WPT announced a new deal with the One Drop Foundation this week. The agreement sees the organizations teaming up for charity poker initiatives in the coming year.

One Drop, which has also worked with the World Series of Poker, helps provide access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene to impoverished communities. Tour officials promise charity events hosted by WPT casino partners around the world.

“WPT has always committed to giving back to those in need both locally and globally,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “Through the WPT Foundation, we have utilized our position in the poker community to raise millions of dollars in funding for non-profit organizations, and we are eager to continue this charitable thread by teaming up with the incredible One Drop Foundation.”

Over the past 10 years, the WPT Foundation has helped raise more than $45 million for numerous charities including: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Conservation International; Education Reform Now; K9s for Warriors; the NASCAR Foundation, Special Olympics, World Central Kitchen; and more. One Drop officials were pleased to join that group of beneficiaries.

“The One Drop Foundation has raised more than $25 million through poker events over the past decade,” One Drop Chief Marketing Officer Alexandre Meunier said. “We now look forward to the next milestone in our mission to improve access to safe water and living conditions for millions across the globe. We are confident the WPT is the ideal partner to help us achieve that goal, hand in hand with the global poker community.”

Since 2012, the WPT and One Drop foundations have raised a combined total of over $70 million for global causes.

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Looking ahead at upcoming WPT events

More action is on the horizon for the WPT. While the first Main Tour event isn’t until April, some other Prime events are in the works.

The Prime Gold Coast heads to The Star Gold Coast casino in Australia. The festival runs Feb. 23 – March 6 with the main event running March 2-6.

Two more Prime events are also set for the same month with the Cambodia main event running March 16-20. That’s followed by the stop in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from March 28-31.

The First Main Tour event of the year is the $3,500 Rolling Thunder in California, set for April 1-4. That’s followed by the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida from April 28 – May 2.

Chad Eveslage Rises to the Top in WPT Player of the Year Race After Massive Five Diamond Win

With the WPT's 20th anniversary coming to a conclusion in December, Chad Eveslage emerged as Season XX player of the year this week.

With the World Poker Tour’s 20th anniversary coming to a conclusion in December, Chad Eveslage emerged as Season XX player of the year this week.

The Champions Club member from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, topped the points leaderboard to earn the title. In 2022, Eveslage produced four cashes including a win and a third-place finish. He’s already looking ahead to jumping in the action this year.

“I’m honored to add my name to the list of players who have won WPT Player of the Year,” Eveslage said in a news release. “2022 was an amazing run for me and to add the player of the year to my WPT title just made the year even more special. I can’t wait to get back in action and try to defend this title.”

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An impressive year on the WPT

Eveslage was already a tour champion coming into 2022 after taking down the WPT Venetian a year earlier for $910,370. The poker pro secured his second WPT win at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in October, taking home just over $1 million.

In November, he added the third-place finish at the Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open for $390,000. In total, Eveslage collected almost $1.5 million during the 20th season.

“Chad put on an impressive performance throughout the course of Season XX,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said of his performance. “His player of the year title is well deserved. It was a momentous 20th anniversary season for WPT, and Chad’s accomplishment will live on as a part of that legacy, as will the effort of all players throughout 2022.”

Rounding out the standings, looking ahead

WPT player of the year runner-up Steve Buckner. (photos courtesy WPT)

Eveslage finished with a total of 2,325 points and  the Indiana native also collected the tour POY trophy and a WPT Passport worth $15,000. The prize can be used to enter any Season XXI event. 

Steve Buckner, who finished the season with two runner-up finishes and just 50 points behind Eveslage, earned a $10,000 Passport.

Josh Kay, who scored a runner-up and fifth-place finish last season, scored a $5,000 Passport.

Season XXI of the WPT begins in late January with a Prime series in Paris, France. The first Main Tour stop, WPT Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino in California, is set for April 1-4.

Here’s a look at the WPT’s early schedule including several international stops.

EventDateLocation
Prime ParisJan. 31– Feb. 5Club Circus Paris, France
Prime Gold CoastMarch 2-6The Star Gold Coast, Australia
Prime CambodiaMarch 16-20Naga World Integrated Resort, Cambodia
Prime AmsterdamMarch 29 – April 1Holland Casino, Netherlands)
Rolling ThunderApril 1-4Thunder Valley Casino, California
Prime IndiaApril 13-17Deltin Royale Casino, India
Seminole Hard Rock Poker ShowdownApril 28 – May 2Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida
ChoctawMay 5-8Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, Oklahoma
Prime SlovakiaMay 11-15Card Casino Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Gardens Poker ChampionshipMay 21-25The Gardens Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, California)
Prime VietnamMay 25-29Crown Poker Club, Vietnam
Prime SanremoJun 7-11Casinò di Sanremo, Sanremo, Italy

Tournament Trail: A Preview of International Poker Series Scheduled for This Winter

PokerScout previews international live poker series running over the next few months from the PSPC to WSOP Circuit and more.

For poker players looking to travel this winter, many tournaments are on the horizon this winter. Major series like the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, 888poker Live, and the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour are showcasing hot events throughout the colder months.

Big player pools and large guarantees await at many of these tournament stops. The PokerStars Players Championship also kicks off in January and promises to be one of the biggest events of the year. 

PokerScout takes a look at some of the international live poker series running over the next few months.

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WSOP International Circuit

The World Series of Poker hosts multiple international circuit stops in early 2023. All events feature championship rings up for grabs.

Each winner is also granted a spot in the $1 million Tournament of Champions freeroll, set for this summer in Las Vegas. The announced 2023 stops on the schedule include:

  • Jan. 4-24  – King’s Resort (Rozvadov, Czech Republic)
  • Jan. 11-23 – Deerfoot Inn & Casino (Calgary, Canada)
  • Jan. 14-22 – Es Saadi Gardens Resort (Marrakech, Morocco)
  • Feb. 3-13 – Casino Plaza (Dakar, Senegal)
  • Mar. 22- Apr. 3 – Casino Royale (St. Maarten)

WSOP Circuit schedule in Czech Republic

King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, will be the first international WSOP Circuit stop of 2023. The series offers multiple events and highlights include the €1,700 Main Event with a €1 million guarantee.

With 160 poker tables, King’s is the largest poker room in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. Players have a nice mix of options to pick from including No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Besides the Main Event. A few standout tournaments include:

  • €250 Mini Main (Event 1, Jan. 4-8) – €500,000 guaranteed
  • €550 Monster Stack (Event 6, Jan. 12-15) – €500,000 guaranteed
  • €440 Pot Limit Omaha (Event 8, Jan. 16) – €50,000 guaranteed
  • €1,100 Bounty Hunter (Event 12, Jan. 22) – €100,000 guaranteed

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is back

The major poker action once again returns to the Bahamas this year with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) at the Baha Mar resort from Jan. 22 – Feb. 3.

The Road to the PSPC (PokerStars Players Championship) is wrapping up and players are headed to the Caribbean for this massive event.

Platinum Pass winners won seats into the $25,000 buy-in tournament, scheduled for Jan. 30. A Platinum Pass includes a tournament and travel package worth more than $30,000. Some other events at the PCA festival include:

  • $100,000 Super High Roller – Jan. 22
  • $30,000 Mystery Bounty  – Jan. 26
  • $25,000 PLO High Roller – Jan. 27
  • $10,000 NLHE Warm Up – Jan. 28

PokerStars offers even more beyond the PCA The PokerStars EPT action returns in February with five major series planned across the continent including a new festival in Paris.

After the PCA is over, PokerStars international events start right back up. Players can expect big fields in tournaments around the world.

Here’s a look at confirmed events in the coming months:

  • Feb. 15-26 – European Poker Tour (Paris, France)
  • Mar. 2-6 – Latin American Poker Tour (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Mar. 29 to Apr. 4 – Brazilian Series of Poker (São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Apr. 26- May 6 – EPT (Monte Carlo)

Stars offers online qualifiers for many live events in the coming months. Players have a chance to win tournament packages at a bargain price.

888poker winter events approaching

Live tournament players also have a couple of events to look forward to from 888poker. The company recently released a full slate of events for 2023 with action planned all around the world. 

Players looking for some winter action can check out two upcoming events. That includes the Madrid stop from Jan. 13-23 and 888poker Live London from Feb. 9-13.

Online players have the opportunity to win a seat into the action throughout the year. 888 Live Passports are up for grabs for players completing a certain set of challenges.

888 awards exclusive packages to the live event of a player’s choice. More details on qualifying will be released in the coming weeks.

WPT plans for 2023

The World Poker Tour also has a few international tournaments planned for the winter months as well. From Jan. 22 – Feb. 5, the tour is hosting WPT Prime series in Paris, France at Club Circus casino.

Players kicking off the new year chasing player of the year points will find a mix of tournaments. The €1,100 main event starts on Jan. 31 and highlights the series.

WPT Prime then heads to Amsterdam with the main event running March 29 – Apr. 1. More events are in store for international players later in the year as well.

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Grosvenor UK Poker Tour

In the United Kingdom, the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) has a full schedule set for 2023. The tour has more major events planned out the entire year and some of those winter tournaments include: 

  • Jan. 12-22 – London, The Vic (£1,250 Main Event)
  • Feb. 2-12 – Manchester, Bury New Road  (£1,250 Main Event)
  • Feb. 25 to March 5 – UK Poker Open – Coventry (£1,500 Main Event)

PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Named as Recipient of WPT Honors

The World Poker Tour is honoring PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg as one of the latest recipients of the WPT Honors Award.

When Isai Scheinberg launched PokerStars in 2001, online poker was in its infancy. Early platforms often suffered from outages, poor software, and other user unfriendly issues.

Scheinberg set out to change that. When the site went live, players found a much-improved software experience. That helped pave the way for the company to become one of the biggest online poker operators in the world.

The World Poker Tour recently announced that Scheinberg would be recognized as part of the tour’s WPT Honors, along with commentator Vince Van Patten.

“These two men have both made transformational contributions to the poker community, Isai as a pioneer with his incredible ingenuity and boldness, and Vince with his love and dedication to expanding the game of poker,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “Both honorees are truly deserving of the award.”

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Recognizing an industry titan

When it comes to the world of online poker, not many people have meant more to the industry than Scheinberg. Stars was a key player in the poker boom era and helped increase interest in poker worldwide. The company’s efforts helped grow the game all around the world.

“I am very honored,” Shceinberg, 74, said of the award. “The World Poker Tour is a very important poker company which made major contributions to the game. The first TV advertising PokerStars did was on WPT programming on the Travel Channel. It had a major impact that led to millions of players joining us.”

Born in Lithuania before immigrating to Israel, the former programmer later moved to Toronto and worked for IBM Canada. His site resonated with players and the WPT noted that many “still consider Scheinberg to be the standard bearer for how online players should be treated.”

The WPT Honors Award launched in 2017 as the highest achievement from the company. The award is granted every year, honoring members of the poker industry who have made exceptional contributions to the WPT and the poker community as a whole.

WPT Honors recognizes those who distinguish themselves through “excellence and dedication beyond expectations.” These are the previous WPT Honors recipients:

  • 2017 – Bruno Fitoussi, Linda Johnson, Mike Sexton
  • 2018 – Lyle Berman, Steve Lipscomb
  • 2019 – Deb Giardina, Matt Savage
PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg (right) with his son Mark.

Schainberg was an online poker pioneer

The poker boom of the 2000s was a heady time for the industry. Live tournaments saw massive fields as televised poker helped the game gain even more fans and players.

When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, he’d won his seat via an $86 online qualifier at PokerStars. That helped launch the poker boom of the 2000s with PokerStars right at the forefront.

The site offered online tournaments and cash games for players around the world. Scheinberg was a poker player himself and understood the game.

The gifted computer programmer helped fine-tune software that was user friendly. The site also offered a fair game and played similarly to what a player might find at a live poker game.

“It was the tournaments that made PokerStars a hit with players,” Forbes noted of the company founder. “For a small amount of money – often less than $25 – players could buy into a single-elimination tournament and have a chance at winning a huge payday without the fear of incurring big losses.”

Rescuing Full Tilt players, selling the company

When the US government cracked down on online poker in 2011, Scheinberg and PokerStars agreed to purchase Full Tilt Poker. That company faced economic insolvency and without the deal, millions of dollars in player funds would have been lost.

Stars eventually agreed to a $731 million settlement with federal prosecutors and shifted to catering to players outside the US. 

Ironically, the company later entered back into the American market in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Scheinberg and his family sold PokerStars in 2014 for $4.9 billion. In 2019, Paddy Power Betfair (now known as Flutter Entertainment) acquired the company, creating the largest online gaming company in the world.

The Stars founder now spends much of his time working in philanthropy and spending time with his family.

ON THE BUTTON: WPT CEO Adam Pliska on the World Championship, Online Poker, & What’s Ahead

wpt ceo adam pliska wpt world championship

The World Poker Tour wraps up this week with the company’s World Championship coming to a close on Tuesday at Wynn Las Vegas. The United Kingdom’s Benny Glaer takes a massive chip lead into the final table on Tuesday, filmed for television with the action streamed live on the WPT’s YouTube and Twitch channels.

The series also featured the WPT Prime and Ladies Championship, both also streamed and filmed for TV. Players were treated to numerous other events and the festival earned high praise overall.

Many referred to the WPT World Championship as a mini World Series of Poker and believe the event filled a hole in the winter live poker schedule. Online poker also offered a chance to send numerous qualifiers to the series. Other casino partners also got on board with live qualifiers as well.

WPT CEO Adam Pliska recently sat down with PokerScout to discuss the series, what’s ahead, and the company’s growing connection to online poker.

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How did the idea for this series come about? Is it something you’d planned for a long time and didn’t have the budget for until the purchase of the company in 2021?

I think for a long time, we would have loved to have transformed the championship and give it more weight. The purchase certainly helped. But there’s also a number of components that are kind of coming together.

First, in terms of qualifiers, we now have a partner and that would be WPTGlobal and ClubWPT, and they sent over 50 qualifiers. That’s been great and just taken off. We’ve also been bringing in the ambassadors. We’ve been doing these special events throughout the year, and to have a place to kind of showcase that and bring people together, it’s been something we wanted to do.

We started to sketch this out maybe about a little over a year and a half ago. And then we literally just went to the casinos and started pitching the idea that we were going to do something and we wanted them to be united behind it, because we needed support from all the casinos because they were having to send players here.

 And so that really started in full force by October of last year. Then by the beginning of the year, we were working diligently with Wynn and by February, there were almost daily discussions.

Were you guys ever concerned about meeting the $15 million guarantee for the main event?

Well I was (says laughing) because it’s not unlimited entry and it was something new. It’s one thing to say, ‘Come to the WPT Championship’ and you know what it is. It’s another thing when you don’t know what it is.

And so in this month before, we’ve had great events, hoping that if we add all these other components, we would get to $15 million. In my mind, we would have failed if we didn’t hit $17 million. But then as we got closer, the response was very good. I think everything was hitting on all cylinders.

At that point, I started to realize, ‘okay, I’m not going to have to worry so much about this.’ By the time we started here, I wasn’t worried about $15 million.

But I did tell the group, I really wanted to hit $20 million for 20 years. We absolutely would have put $20 million (on the guarantee) if I was sure that we’d hit $20 million. I would have loved to say I knew this all the time. But that’s not the case.

So then by the time we started, I told the group, ‘knocking it out of the park would be $22.5 million.’ So the idea that it was almost $30 million was just phenomenal. I did a commercial saying, ‘thank you players for 20 years and $20 million.’ Before the day started, it was already $25 million, so that got scrapped.

What have you been hearing from players?

The response from players has truly been tremendous. And there’s a couple elements that have surprised me. It’s not only enthusiastic response, it’s an enthusiastic, constructive response.

It’s so positive and overwhelming, it’s almost so much that we’re filtering through that people are also throwing in their other ideas and stopping us and saying, ‘hey, it’d be great if you did this.’

We’ve never in 20 years received anything to this degree from the players, even in the early days in seasons one through three, which were incredibly exciting.

Any ideas you’re considering for next year?

I think I have a meeting two nights from now to start talking about next year. Throughout the week we’ve been still doing our normal debriefs. We come up with all of the things that we can do better and are taking in all the ideas. There’s a number of things we’re thinking about.

The first thing I have to consider is making sure we get more space. I think we could have accommodated more, but we just need to make sure that we get more players.

A look at some of the WPT World Championship action at the Wynn Las Vegas. (photos courtesy WPT)

How big a role is online poker starting to be for the WPT? It seems like the company is geared more toward that aspect of the game recently.

It’s an essential role for us. That was the other component that made it easier to do a $15 million guarantee, which for the WPT is still hefty. But the online support is great. I think the online qualifier support is going to double next year. 

Among WPTGlobal, ClubWPT, and the feeder and funnels (live qualifier) system, there was probably $2.5 million (in the prize pool). And online poker is another touchpoint. Just like ClubWPT has been a touchpoint in the US, especially amateur players.

Here you have a platform (WPTGlobal) that can take a broader group of players Internationally, and keep us in touch and really offer some great things on that site. It’s tremendous, and cash games as well.

And you see that in the shows we’re taping. Now we are taping three shows, the Ladies Championship, Prime Championship, and World Championship, but we’re also taping cash games (at the Wynn) as well. And you’re seeing the cash games are becoming a bigger part of our tour schedule.

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In the past, the tour has partnered with online sites like partypoker. Have some of those deals gone away?

No, it’s just that WPTGlobal’s been an exclusive partner this year. But we were open (to others) in areas. Winamax sent people (to the WPT World Championship). When you have a major commitment from WPTGlobal and you’re doing something brand new, it’s much harder to go in and say what it is.

I think next year, (online sites) are going to be wanting to send people. I already have been getting messages about home game groups who’ve been asking, ‘can we now send this for next year?’ I think that’s great. We were able to do a lot of fun things with the ClubWPT qualifiers during the week. I think that’s good.

Many players see the WPT World Championship as like a WSOP or EPT in the winter. A little different, but your own big festival. Is that something you appreciate and want to grow?

The one thing that you definitely felt in the room is that reunion effect. You felt that in the past, mostly at the WSOP. But you had this great reunion effect. And we’re definitely going to capitalize on it.

I do think it’s sustainable and we have big ambitions to continue to grow this. We’re absolutely going to capitalize on that reunion effect. We love it. It was so good to see it.

And this is just a great way for us to bring all of our partners together and showcase what we’re trying to do throughout the year. So I think we’ve kind of set a tentpole on the ground.

Benny Glaser Returns as Chip Leader in WPT Championship, Ladies’ Final Table Set

As the fifth day of action plays out at the wPT World Championship, Benny Glaser returned as chip leader for the second day in a row.

As the fifth day of action plays out at the World Poker Tour World Championship, the United Kingdom’s Benny Glaser returned as chip leader for the second day in a row.

Plenty of other big names also are back including two-time WPT champion Daniel Negreanu. Fellow Champions Club member Soheb Porbandarwala also brought a nice stack back to the Wynn. A few others still in contention also included Bryce Yockey, Frank Funaro, and Corey Paggeot.

The tournament was to play down to the final six players with the winner scoring $4.1 million from the 2,960-entry field. All six players at the final table also bag payouts of at least $1 million.

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A look at the chip leader

Glaser is no stranger to running deep in massive tournaments. He has $3.7 million in live tournament winnings including four World Series of Poker bracelets. He’s yet to record a WPT win, but seems on his way to giving it a nice shot.

“It’s been really fun,” he says. “It’s been kind of a roller coaster for a couple of days. Days one and four ended having a pretty rough last of the day and then having great ends to all the (other) days pretty much.”

On Friday’s Day 3, Glaser bagged 7.6 million and then moved that to almost 29 million to close out Saturday with the chip lead again. Beyond his success at the live felt, Glaser is also a regular in the online poker theater. In 2022, he scored four PokerStars WCOOP titles and one SCOOP win as well.

“I mostly play for the COOPS,” says Glaser, who enjoys music and playing guitar when not at the tables. “And then I’ve been traveling a lot this year. So I pretty much prioritize the COOPS partly for those reasons that I enjoy going for those titles.”

Massive cooler sends two players packing

One hand stood out during Saturday’s action. The massive development saw New Jersey grinder and Champions Club Asher Conniff pick up pocket Kings. Rania Nasreddine, of Oklahoma, also landed pocket Queens.

If that wasn’t enough, Bulgaria’s Krasimir Yankov grabbed pocket Aces. Conniff and Nasreddine both hit the rail on the cooler and Krasimir secured about 3.8 million chips.

Nasreddine finished 72nd for $53,200 while Conniff took 73rd for $46,650. After the second break, Yankov moved among the chip leaders with more than 13 million chips.

Ladies Championship reaches final table

Along with the championship event, the first televised final table was in the works for Sunday. The $1,100 Ladies Championship drew 578 entries for a $560,660 prize pool, demolishing the $200,000 guarantee.

When the dust settled, six players remained with Lina Niu in the lead with 5.6 million chips.

The chip leader hails from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, and has only $16,857 in live tournament winnings. Ukraine’s Olga Iermolcheva follows her with 5.1 million chips and has $372,359 in live tournament winnings.

Poker pro and commentator Jamie Kerstetter also sits among the final six and enters the final table with $764,958 in live winnings.

Longtime pro Kathy Liebert also remains among those looking to lock up this title. In a poker record dating to 1994, she has $6.8 million in tournament winnings. Here’s a complete look at the final table.

WPT Ladies Championship final table

  1. Lina Niu – 5,565,000
  2. Olga Iermolcheva – 5,065,000
  3. Kathy Liebert – 2,340,000
  4. Cindy Spier – 2,230,000
  5. Jamie Kerstetter – 1,405,000
  6. Dusti Smith – 680,000

ROLES REVERSED: WPT Television Anchor Lynn Gilmartin Rolls on to Day 4 at World Championship

The roles were reversed for WPT television anchor Lynn Gilmartin at the WPT World Championship as she moved to Day 4 at the event Saturday.

When cameras roll to film three final tables from the World Poker Tour World Championship next week, Lynn Gilmartin will once again be hosting the action from the anchor desk.

A regular part of the tour since 2013, the Australian is one of the faces of the tour’s television show, but has also taken on more movie roles as an actress in recent years.

That included a recent poker-related film with Russell Crowe. And at the Wynn this week, Gilmartin also transformed into another role – successful poker player. Playing in the $10,400 championship, she’s now advanced to Day 4 on Saturday with 650,000 chips and her first WPT cash.

“It’s outrageous,” she says of her deep run in the tournament. “I can’t believe it.”

Gilmartin spoke with PokerScout Friday from the Wynn about her poker success, acting career, recently becoming a mother, and more.

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Running deep in the WPT World Championship

Stroll through the Wynn ballroom and television camera teams regularly move around the room filming the action on the felt. On Friday, much of that involved Gilmartin.

While she’s accustomed to being in front of WPT cameras, having them clamor over her play at the tables is a bit unusual. She’s staying positive though, and bringing her best play to the tables.

“It’s pretty unexpected,” she says. “I’ve also really been believing in myself. I have not been studying, which I regret. But I just haven’t had the time with mum life.”

Despite not preparing as much as she hoped, Gilmartin just keeps advancing in the tournament. Consistently finding some pots going her way, that free-wheeling approach seems to be working.

Some occasional advice has also come from her husband, poker pro and WPT Spanish commentator Angel Guillen. Tour commentator Tony Dunst, who finished the championship on the bubble, also offered some tips. But Gilmartin has mostly gone it alone at the Wynn.

“When I knew I was going to play the main event, we had a plan like, ‘Okay, we’re going to have a plan. We’re going to have study sessions, two or three lessons a week.’ That never happened. We had one lesson in a playground, but it’s working. So we’re going with it.

“And that’s exactly what Angel said this morning, ‘what you’re doing is working.’ I got some advice from him, and Tony was lovely. Last night he texted me after watching the stream and sending me some advice, and some other friends as well. So I just appreciate the support so much.”

An appearance by Gilmartin at their tables has been a bit of a surprise to fellow players as well. She’s started Saturday as one of only 128 players remaining and hoping for an even deeper run at the Wynn.

“Everyone’s so shocked to see me on this side of the felt because it’s not a common scenario,” she says, “but with just the support alone, I feel like a champion already.”

On the film set, working with with Russell Crowe

In recent years, Gilmartin’s life and career has transitioned some. After COVID, she and Guillen moved to her native Australia. They now live on the Gold Coast, considered the country’s version of Hollywood.

“It’s been great,” she says. “The film and TV industry went berserk in Australia during COVID. It really boomed because we had no COVID for such a long time. So a lot of American productions are coming into Australia. In fact, Australia had to turn back billions of dollars worth of film productions because we just didn’t have the capacity.

“I worked more in Australia than I did in almost a decade in LA in terms of film. It feels great. I missed Australia so much. So getting that really nice solid dose of home for a while was wonderful. And now coming back to Vegas and traveling again for the World Poker Tour events, it just feels really nice to be back especially after having a baby. And now I just feel like I’ve got my feet back on the ground.”

In the film industry, Gilmartin recently worked with Russell Crowe. She was part of his film Poker Face, which was released in November. Crowe wrote, directed, and starred in the film with Gilmartin not only acting, but she and Guillen also helped with some poker scenes.

“Working with Russell was amazing,” she says. “It was incredible to watch a genius in action, witnessing him write about our game and bring it to life so beautifully.”

Gilmartin and Guillen hoped to offer a hand that might be seen at a normal poker table, not the Hollywood stereotype of a premier hand versus another unlikely premier hand.

WPT host Lynn Gilmartin continues running deep in the WPT World Championship. (photos courtesy WPT)

As in the movie industry, however, not everything works out as planned. She had a great time acting in the film, but some of that consulting work ended up on the cutting room floor. One of those hands, however, proved critical in the film.

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New role as a mom and kicking off Day 4

Life in Australia now includes a 1-year-old old boy for Gilmartin and Guillen. She loves her role and is thrilled to see her new son grow and develop.

“It’s amazing,” she says. “Life is busy. It’s like a constant moving freight train. But it’s the most amazing experience. All the cliches that you hear are so true. It’s just the most rewarding experience. And I’m very grateful that I’m able to take him on tour with me and I have Angel’s mom and auntie here helping us.”

Now with a minimum payout of at least $29,400 in the bag, Gilmartin hopes for something even more special. She’s on a smaller stack and will need to find some chips early, but she’s in a spot most poker players would envy. She adds laughing: “$4.1 million, that’s what I want.”

That didn’t quite happen as Gilmartin hit the rail Saturday afternoon, scoring 91st for $36,500 – a nice finish for someone who is usually reporting on card chsarks rather than being one herself.

WPT World Championship Reaches $30 Million; New Schedule Includes Several International Stops

The WPT World Championship rolled into Day 3 Friday, smashing the $15 million guarantee for a $30 million prize pool.

Much of the poker world has an eye on Las Vegas as the World Poker Tour World Championship continues playing out at the Wynn. After guaranteeing $15 million, the tournament ultimately smashed that this week with almost a $30 million prize pool.

The tournament brought in 2,960 entries with only 399 players returning for Day 3 on Thursday. The winner will score a juicy $4.1 million.

In other news, the WPT also released dates for the early part of next season’s schedule. That includes some interesting international stops such as events in Italy, the Netherlands, France, and more.

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WPT World Championship earns rave reviews among players

When cards got back in the air on Friday, Romania’s Adrian Sorel State returned as chip leader with 2.4 million. He has $584,614 in career live tournament winnings and significant online poker winnings as well, at just under $1 million.

Among those returning for Day 3 included WPT champions Daniel Negreanu, Mike Del Vecchio, Taylor von Kriegenbergh, Freddy Deeb, and Eric Yilmaz. WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin and WPTDeepStacks winner Alex Greenblatt also returned for action.

This marked only the second WPT cash for Negreanu since 2019. However, he remains one of the biggest winners on the tour.

As players continue battling at the Wynn, most players seemed pleased with how the event turned out. There is a packed schedule that includes a WPT Prime event as well as a Ladies Championship. Both of those, along with the main event, will see the final tables live streamed and filmed for television.

The WPT Prime Championship reached the final table this week and also saw huge numbers. The tournament shattered the $2 million guarantee, with a $5.3 million prize pool heading back to players in the money.

The Prime event saw 5,430 entries with the champion scoring $712,650. American  Lara Eisenberg leads the final six players with 39.2 million chips. The series saw the $1,600 Mystery Bounty and $200 Ladies Championship also kick off on Friday.

WPT releases events for 2023 season

The World Championship may bring the 2022 season to a close, but the tour already is offering players a look at what to expect for 2023. WPT officials announced the first half of the Season XXI schedule this week.

“Coming off an incredible 20th-anniversary season for WPT, we are looking forward to its progression into 2023,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “Players have much to anticipate during Season XXI, as we have established some new partnerships and continued our relationships with longstanding staples of the tour.”

The $3,500 buy-in WPT Rolling Thunder kicks off the Main Tour action from April 1-4 at Thunder Valley Casino in northern California. Thunder Valley returns after hosting the final live Main Tour tournament of 2020.

The $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown follows from April 28 – May 2 in Hollywood, Florida. The event set the WPT record for most Main Tour entries in 2021 with 2,482 and an $8 million prize pool.

The $3,800 WPT Choctaw returns May 5-8 for the property’s eighth championship. Later the same month, The Gardens Casino in southern California hosts the $5,250 Gardens Poker Championship from May 21-25.

The Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Choctaw, and Gardens Poker Championship are all slated for televised final tables.

“It is the pride of WPT to offer such a wide range of tournament festivals when it comes to buy-in and location,” WPT Vice President Angelica Hael said. “We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of our live partners worldwide and our appreciation for the players for their continued support.”

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WPT Prime events also announced with international stops on tap

Beyond the Main Tour, company officials also released part of the WPT Prime schedule. WPT Prime Paris begins the schedule from Jan. 31 – Feb. 5 at Club Circus Paris in France.

Players will find four Prime stops in March and April. The first of those is WPT Prime Gold Coast at The Star Casino from March 2-6 after setting records in the state of Queensland in 2022 with WPT Australia.

WPT Prime Cambodia next plays out March 16-20. That event broke the all-time WPT Prime entries record back in August with 1,050 runners (before being broken in Las Vegas at the World Championship).

The tour then heads to Europe with WPT Prime Amsterdam set for March 29 – April 1. The action also returns to India for the first time in over three years from April 13-17.

The tour’s first-ever stop in Slovakia is next. The Prime tournament is planned for May 11-15 at Card Casino Bratislava. That’s followed by the Prime Vietnam festival May 25-29 at Crown Poker Club. The WPT Prime Sanremo rounds out the first half of the season in Italy from June 5-11 at Casinò di Sanremo.

More stops are expected to be released in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at the 2023 WPT schedule so far.

2023 WPT schedule first half

EventDateLocation
Prime ParisJan. 31– Feb. 5Club Circus Paris, France
Prime Gold CoastMarch 2-6The Star Gold Coast, Australia
Prime CambodiaMarch 16-20Naga World Integrated Resort, Cambodia
Prime AmsterdamMarch 29 – April 1Holland Casino, Netherlands)
Rolling ThunderApril 1-4Thunder Valley Casino, California
Prime IndiaApril 13-17Deltin Royale Casino, India
Seminole Hard Rock Poker ShowdownApril 28 – May 2Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida
ChoctawMay 5-8Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, Oklahoma
Prime SlovakiaMay 11-15Card Casino Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Gardens Poker ChampionshipMay 21-25The Gardens Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, California)
Prime VietnamMay 25-29Crown Poker Club, Vietnam
Prime SanremoJun 7-11Casinò di Sanremo, Sanremo, Italy
 

World Poker Tour Announces Partnership With Texapoker for Prime Events in France, Italy

The World Poker Tour is heading to France and Italy next year as the company announced three stops in the countries for 2023 last week.

The World Poker Tour is heading to France and Italy next year as the company announced three stops in the countries for 2023 last week. The tour is partnering with the Texapoker group to present several WPT Prime festivals in western Europe.

“Even amidst an incredible 20th-anniversary season, we are preparing for our progression into 2023,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “Partnering with Texapoker provides us with a wonderful opportunity to return the WPT brand to the French market.”

The two-year agreement with Texapoker promises three poker series each of the next two years.

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A look at the French, Italian WPT events

WPT Prime kicks off the WPT’s Season XXI live tour schedule on Jan. 22 with a festival at Club Circus Paris in France. The €1,100 buy-in main event runs Feb. 1-5.

“To welcome the WPT in our Circus Club in 2023 is a big triumph for the city of Paris, the poker players, our club, and our group company,” a Club Circus Paris executive said in announcing the series.

“Paris is the poker capital of Europe. The Circus brand, which is in six countries and two continents, continues to develop and this partnership strengthens the Club as a stronghold of Parisian poker.”

The next stop is the WPT Prime Aix-en-Provence from Oct. 9-15 at Pasino Grand. This is the first time the tour has ventured to Aix-en-Provence in southern France. PMU.fr will offer online satellites for French players to win seats to the $1,100 championship events.

The WPT Prime Sanremo festival series runs June 5-11 at Casinò di Sanremo in Italy, near the southwestern border of France. The property also hosted a WPTDeepStacks event in June 2018. That tour has been phased out and now replaced by WPT Prime.

The online poker action continues in the WPT World Online Championships at partypoker through this weekend with plenty more on the agenda.

Gearing up for WPT World Championships

As an added bonus to the new partnership, Texapoker will give away seats to the upcoming WPT World Championship. Four French Championship of Poker winners will earn seats.

“Eleven years after my first WPT partnership, I am very pleased and proud to work with this brand and to run three stops in France and Italy,” Texapoker chairman and CEO Apo Chantzis said.

Here’s a look at the three French and Italian WPT Prime stops:

  • WPT Prime Paris, Club Circus Paris (France) – Jan. 22 – Feb. 5
  • WPT Prime Sanremo, Casinò di Sanremo (Italy) – June 5-11
  • WPT Prime Aix-en-Provence, Pasino Grand (France) – Oct. 9-15