Win WPT Title With New Partypoker Series – $30 Million Guaranteed; PowerFest Set For March 15

The WPT and partypoker have teamed up for the new WPT Online Series.

With the poker world feeling the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, players received a bit of good news on Friday. After postponing several events, the WPT announced an online poker partnership with partypoker for the first WPT Online Series.

The series runs May 10-26 and will feature $30 million in total guarantees including $15 million across 10 headline events. The highlight will be a $3,200 WPT Online Championship with a $5 million guarantee, set to begin May 10.

The event becomes an official part of the WPT Main Tour. Like a live event, the winner will have his or her name added to the tour’s Champions Cup trophy.

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“It is an honur for us to host the first ever WPT Online Series,” partypoker managing director Tom Waters said. “We are always looking for ways to bring exciting, high profile MTTs to our players and the World Poker Tour is up there amongst the most prestigious brands in poker.

Extending the WPT, partypoker partnership 

The addition of the WPT Online Series comes after the WPT and partypoker have been partnering on live events in recent years. The WPT has partnered with the site on its MILLIONS events.

Partypoker also offers online qualifiers to those events. Players around the world have earned the chance to play in a WPT event. 

This new series seems to come after the WPT has had to postpone or cancel several events including:

The new online series brings some of that action at least to the online felt. At a time when many players are shut out of the live scene, they can now also battle for an online WPT title.

“WPT and partypoker are proud to break new ground for both of our brands with the first WPT Online Series festival,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said. “Players from around the globe can look forward to the opportunity to play in World Poker Tour events from the comfort of their homes at all buy-in levels.”

A look at the WPT Online Series schedule

Along with the championship event, there are several other interesting events and promotions for players. Those include extending the traditional WPT-branded tournaments and a host six- and seven-figure guarantees.

A WPT500 event is set for May 10-18 and features a $1 million guarantee with 10 starting flights. A WPTDeepStacks is set for May 25-26 with a $1 million guarantee. Here’s a look at the series signature events:

DateBuy-InEventGuarantee
May 3$5,000WPT Grand Opener $2 million
May 10$3,200 WPT Online Championship$5 million
May 10$530WPT500$1 million
May 12 $5,200Bounty Hunter NLHE$1 million
May 14$5,200 PLO$500,000
May 18$1,1000 NLHE Six-Max $1 million
May 19 $5,200Mix Max$1 million
May 21$25,500Super High Roller$2 million
May 21 $2,100Turbo PKO$500,000
May 24 $10,300High Roller$2 million
May 25 $1,600WPTDeepStacks$1 million

The winner of the championship event on May 10 will also earn a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions.

 “The online festival promises to be huge and with a WPT Tournament of Champions seat on offer, it’s a really exciting opportunity for partypoker players,” Waters said.

A full slate of satellites will be available in the weeks preceding the series.

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partypoker POWERFEST Features $20 Million Guaranteed

Beyond the WPT series, partypoker players also have the opportunity for some big events beginning March 15.  The PowerFest runs through March 29 with 488 tournaments and $20 guaranteed.

There is something for every level of player with buy-ins ranging from $0.55 to $25,500. There will also be a variety of game types including:

  • Six-Max
  • Mix-Max
  • 6-4
  • Freezeout
  • Progressive Knockout (PKO)

The final day will see four Main Event champions crowned on March 29 with trophy hardware awarded to each winner. Here’s a look at the main events, with $1.25 million in guaranteed prize money on the line.

DateBuy-inEventGuarantee
March 29$2,100#141-HR: $500K Gtd [Main Event, 8-Max, PKO]$500,000
March 29$320#141-H: $500K Gtd [Main Event, 8-Max, PKO]$500,000
March 29$55P#141-M: $250K Gtd [Main Event, 8-Max, PKO]$250,000
March 29$5.50#141-L: $20K Gtd [Main Event, 8-Max, PKO]$20,000

Re-entry Tournaments Stoke Debate Among Players

Re-entry tournaments have drawn some debate recently among players.

With the World Series of Poker Europe wrapping up, a debate regarding re-entry tournaments has consumed social media in recent days. The debate has focused on whether allowing unlimited re-entries is good for poker.

Numerous players have weighed in on the issue. Daniel Negreanu has long been a critic of re-entry events, preferring the game’s old days when freezeouts were the norm.

The argument spurred comments and opinions throughout the past week. Some even offered ideas on possible changes to re-entry poker tournament formats.

The issue certainly seems to be top of mind for many with many weighing in with their own analysis.

Re-entry poker creates some differing opinions on fairness

The re-entry format has been the norm for most tournament events for several years now. Tours like the World Poker Tour make use of the format for a few reasons.

  • Prize pools – Many feel re-entries help build prize pools, and offer larger payouts, which players have come to expect.
  • Happier players – The theory is that players who travel the circuit regularly get more bang for the buck with re-entries. After spending money on travel, a chance to re-enter after an early elimination offers a chance to get back in action.

Critics argue that re-entry formats benefit well-financed pros. Players with more money can fire away until they build large stacks with a better shot to run deep.

Last December, Dylan Linde won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.6 million after firing five bullets. Those re-entries ran $10,400 each.

In an event that paid 126 players, Linde had to finish at least 24th just to make a small profit. Some players point to this type of bullet firing to show what’s wrong with the system.

Others argue re-entries are good for all involved regardless of poker status. The system is the same for everyone and players can decide what’s best for them.

“A good reg can get coolered too and have another chance,” poker pro Daniel Strelitz noted on TwitterOthers echo similar thoughts.

Criticism of the system and a few alternatives

Beyond simply favoring freezeouts and poker events with fewer re-entries, Negreanu thinks his return on investment is lower in these events.

“I believe this, but cannot prove it as fact: most pros who play a tournament with no re-entry option will have a higher ROI on that bullet than their first bullet if they are planning to reenter,” he Tweeted this week.

Kid Poker suggested paying out the number of players responsible for the prize pool rather than entries. A shorter number of payouts might help curb late registrations, he argues.

Others argued this top-heavy payout system would favor pros. Either way, Negreanu plans on adjusting his own tournament registration procedures in the future. 

One alternative idea is allowing fewer re-entries, maybe even a single extra bullet. Others favored smaller chip stacks for those who enter late or banning late registration altogether.

Some players don’t necessarily enjoy re-entry events. But they feel these can be good for recreational players when considering some pros’ expected value (EV). 

“The one good thing about it when top pros are playing re-entries at lower than their average buy-in, they tend to  play the re-entry period in a negative-EV fashion that is good for their opponents,” poker pro Ari Engel notes.

“Please don’t misunderstand – re-entries are awful, but this is one of the few good things about them for the perspective of the average player in the field, losing less money long run.”

Some tough choices when it comes to prize pools

Re-entries may be a challenge for some, but reduced fields could have a major effect on poker prize pools. Striking a balance that will still produce large payouts is a difficult needle to thread.

Some believe re-entries hurt recreational players’ chances in big events. But if prize pools diminish, would recreational players be as attracted to major poker tournaments?

Negreanu remains a believer in non-re-entry events, and believes fewer re-entries not only help recreational players but also pros. His argument is that pros tend to play better when they know there are fewer chances to get back in.

The Commerce Casino was set to kick off the LA Poker Open on Nov. 1. The property was taking a stab at finding a compromise between both side of the equation.

Players wouldn’t be allowed to re-enter in a starting flight in which they’ve been eliminated. These players could then enter another starting flight. There would also be no re-entry in one-day events.

The Commerce is attempting to find some middle ground and reach players who may favor fewer buy-ins. It will be interesting to see what players think, but the debate on the issue should continue.

A look at the WSOP in Las Vegas

The World Series of Poker has mostly been a holdout in keeping re-entries at a minimum in most events. It does offer some re-entry tournaments, including the gargantuan field record setters.

However, much of the series remain in the freezeout format or offer  limited re-entries. Here are some statistics from this summer’s 89-event series:

  • Freezeouts – 42 events including the Monster Stack, Mini-Main Event, and Main Event. These represented 46.6% of all bracelet events.
  • Single re-entry – 32 events, representing 35% of bracelet events.
  • Freezeouts and single re-entry – Combined, these made up about 80% of bracelet events.

Seth Palansky, Caesars/WSOP vice president of corporate communications, notes that the WSOP staff tends to be more conservative when it comes to re-entries. However, sometimes an additional entry can be favorable for certain events.

“When we analyzed our numbers and recognized, for example, that 44.7 percent of players in the seniors event made that the only WSOP event they played all summer, we decided adding a single re-entry to that event was favorable to all,” he says.

“If that is the one event you play and you run Kings into Aces early, you are going to want another chance to enter if you wish.”

The WSOP takes a nuanced approach, Palansky says, and doesn’t think about re-entries in isolation.

Other major considerations when scheduling events include starting: chip stack, level lengths, late registration periods, scheduled length of tournament, dealer costs, fees to pay dealers and staff, allocated dealers and staff, event location, number of events being run at the venue, venue objectives, length of series, and more.

Palansky believes the issue deserves more study in the industry beyond social media.

Striking a balance with more options

The WSOP has added more starting chips in recent years, generally with positive responses and record turnouts. Re-entries provide value for players by swelling prize pools and make it easier for operators to meet guarantees.

“There have been unintended consequences,” Palansky says. “Some have found the combination of re-entries and late registration as a way to gain an edge. Poker is all about exploiting edges or perceived value, but the other side of the coin is to understand whether there is a level playing field for all who enter an event.

“On one hand, someone re-entering seven times in an event means they have given all their chips to others seven times already. Those players receiving those chips are thrilled to get them. But when that eighth entry yields a deep run, some argue that the player ‘bought’ the result and had an unfair advantage.”

Some venues have become “addicted to re-entry,” Palansky says, as it provides better cost certainty and less risk. He argues re-entry has replaced some concurrent tournaments that could be scheduled. Palansky believes the WSOP has moved in the right direction.

“We feel at the WSOP in Las Vegas, we have struck the right balance,” Palansky says. “First off, we have a long tournament series with ample events and opportunities for everyone to either find or avoid individual events based on their preference.

“We at the WSOP feel the pendulum has swung too far with re-entries.  It’s important that everyone who enters an event has a chance to win that event. Certainly skill alters that and that’s okay – as in all of sports and competitions. But buying your way into the money is a concern. Re-entry has its place, it is just a matter of finding the right balance.”

New PartyPoker Partnership Expands Online Satellite Offerings To World Poker Tour Events

partypoker

The World Poker Tour and partypoker LIVE are global partners thanks to a new four-year deal announced on Wednesday. Seven joint events are on tap to be hosted in Canada and Europe with a prize pool guarantee topping off at  €3 million.

Montreal plays host to the first series held as part of the deal in October at the Playground Poker Club. The WPT premieres the first-ever trio of branded events to be held at a single stop. WPT500, WPTDeepStacks, and the WPT Main Tour are all represented at the festival.

Other properties named in the WPT release are Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, UK (a past Main Tour and WPT500 stop) and Casino Sochi in Sochi, Russia.

partypokerLIVE MILLIONS holds a strong base in all properties since the inception of the tour in April 2017.

WPT online qualifiers at partypoker

A key detail coming from Wednesday’s news is the availability of online satellites for all of the events involved in the partnership. Starting at only $.01, players can qualify on partypoker for all WPT Main Tour events. A minimum of 300 seats are going to be up for grabs through promotions run on partypoker.

Also now in the fold are partypoker LIVE Dollars, a form of currency won on partypoker that players are now able to transfer over to select WPT Main Tour events. LIVE Dollars can be won in satellites on partypoker and then be used to for event buy-ins, travel expenses including hotels, and visas. LIVE Dollar satellites run weekly with guarantees of over $1.1 million.

“The World Poker Tour is proud to partner with partypoker LIVE on this new, four-year global initiative,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said. “The partnership allows the WPT to continue its dedication of bringing world-class poker to people’s lives, and we are honored to have John Duthie and the entire team at partypoker LIVE sharing in this value. Together with partypoker LIVE, we look forward to elevating the game for all levels.”

Exciting stops on the horizon

The announcement expands the availability of live poker events for all three regions included thus far.

Montreal is a strong ally with partypoker and the WPT. Last year, Playground hosted the first North American partypoker LIVE MILLIONS series and raised the stakes with their festival of events in the 2018 edition. World Poker Tour utilized Montreal in past seasons as one of the few properties to host two Main Tour events. The property comes full circle in being chosen to be the first to run all three WPT-branded tournaments in a single series.

The WPT500 runs from October 26-30 followed by the Main Event from October 29-November 4. WPTDeepStacks wraps the series from November 1-4. The Main Event is a C$5,300 buy-in. Day 1 play for the Main Event can be done online through partypoker on October 28. WPT500 also allows for online Day 1s on October 21, 22, and 23.

WPT returns to Dusk Till Dawn in April 2019 for the first time since Season IX when Iaron Lightbourne joined the Champions Club against a field of 450 runners.

Russia has hosted the WSOP Circuit and partypoker LIVE in the past. The eventual WPT event held in Sochi will be a first for the country when the tour arrives in April 2019.

Players proved last month their willingness to show up for a prestigious event. partypoker LIVE MILLIONS drew 692 entrants this month for a ₽300,000 ($4,400) buy-in. Attendees can forecast a similar buy-in for the WPT Main Tour event.

“The partnership with partypoker LIVE will bring WPT Main Tour stops in Europe to unprecedented heights,” WPT VP of Europe Hermance Blum said. “We are thrilled that two major operators can join forces again to bring the best poker experience to the players with each individual savoir-faire.”

Lead image courtesy of WPT/Flickr

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