Posts Tagged ‘tournament’

WPT Expands Season XVI Schedule, Adds May Tournament at the Bellagio

 WPT Expands Season XVI Schedule, Adds May Tournament at the Bellagio

Not content with the outstanding season that they have put forth to this point, the powers at the World Poker Tour have decided to expand the schedule once again this year. It is but another event on the calendar, but it is what used to be their traditional Las Vegas home and where some of the biggest moments in WPT history have occurred.

The WPT announced today the creation of the WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship, a $ 10,000 buy-in tournament that will be played out from May 1-6 in Sin City. This big money tournament will be joined by the $ 25,000 WPT High Roller tournament, which will take place from May 4-6 on the same grounds. These two events will be a powerful one-two punch as the WPT invades Vegas for a month of tournaments in the city.

The High Roller will feature another first-time event – the first time a WPT event will start in one location and finish in another. The High Roller’s opening action will be contested at the Bellagio, but the final table will be moved to a brand-new location. The final day of the tournament will take place on Sunday, May 27, at the Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, a special Esports battleground built by Allied Esports.

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, said during the announcement of the new events, “Home to the first-ever World Poker Tour event, the iconic Bellagio holds a truly special place in WPT history. We are proud to return to where it all began as we start a new chapter for the tour and look forward to showcasing the game’s best at both Bellagio and Allied Esports’ new Esports Arena Las Vegas in May.”

Craig Lumpp, the director of poker operations at the Bellagio, echoed those statements. “Building off the recent record-setting success of our WPT Five Diamond, we are thrilled to welcome back the World Poker Tour to Bellagio for the WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship,” Lumpp commented. “Complete with a $ 25,000 High Roller event and several other premier tournaments, we look forward to hosting the top poker players in the world at Bellagio in April and May.”

The Bellagio used to be the site for the season finale for the WPT. For years the tour would close their season with the WPT World Championship. That event for years was a $ 25,000 “big bang” that made the history books in 2007 when Carlos Mortensen took home the largest ever WPT prize of nearly $ 4 million ($ 3,970,415, to be exact). By 2011 (Season 11), however, the numbers had fallen off for the WPT World Championship (to 146 players) and it was moved to the Borgata in Atlantic City and the buy in reduced.

With the addition of these two new events – which will both be broadcast during the upcoming season of the WPT on Fox Sports 1 that begins on April 29 – the total events on the Season XVI schedule now totals 19 tournaments. Not in that count is the WPT Tournament of Champions that will conclude the season following the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on May 20. The additional events at the Bellagio will bring the Season XVI total events just under the 21 events (counting the ToC) that were on the Season XV roster.

The two new events also ensure that the WPT will be the focal point of the poker world for much of the month of May. With the WPT Elite Poker Championship and the WPT $ 25,000 High Roller at the Bellagio and the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic and the WPT Tournament of Champions at ARIA, the WPT will engage poker audiences until deep in the month. At that point, the World Series of Poker begins as the WPT takes a break.

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partypoker Releases 2018 Tournament Series Schedule

 partypoker Releases 2018 Tournament Series Schedule

One of the nice things about the beginning of the year is that we move away from the holiday live tournament doldrums and get right into tournament season. The same holds true online and on Friday, while the site is in the midst of its Powerfest series, partypoker announced the full schedule of 10 online poker tournament festivals for 2018.

There are five different types of tournament series this year on partypoker, but two – the MILLIONS Online and High Roller Series – only happen once, at the end of the year. The Knockout Series, Monster Series, and Powerfest each occur three times and on the same rotating schedule.

Players on partypoker may already be familiar with the Monster Series and Powerfest, but the Knockout Series is new to the site this year. In the Knockout Series, every player starts a tournament with a bounty on their head; for every elimination, the player who wins the hand wins the other player’s bounty. It’s not all puppies and rainbows for the victor, though, as that person’s bounty increases, making them a juicier target. There will be three buy-in levels for each Knockout Series tournament, with buy-ins starting at $ 1.10 and going up to $ 530. The first Knockout Series will begin February 25th.

The High Roller Series, also new, is fairly straight-forward. It is simply a series with higher buy-ins than normal, $ 530 and up. It will last eight days starting November 25th and will run at the same time as the insane $ 20 million guaranteed MILLIONS Online.

On the partypoker blog, site ambassador Patrick Leonard said:

Festivals to me is what tournament poker is all about. You slog about all year honing your skills and testing strategies that you work on off the table all for that one big moment you get during a festival where you’re playing for huge prizes with great structures. Both live and online partypoker festival titles are seen as important as any to players through all stakes.

As mentioned, partypoker’s first tournament series of the calendar year, Powerfest, is going on right now, having started a week ago. It runs through this weekend and features 147 tournaments with $ 15 million in guaranteed prize pools. Like the Knockout Series, Powerfest has three different buy-in tournaments per event.

partypoker’s 2018 tournament series schedule follows. Detailed tournament schedule breakdowns can be found on partypoker’s website for the current series and usually for series starting in the near future.

partypoker POWERFEST – January 21st – February 4th
partypoker KO Series – February 25th – March 4th
partypoker Monster Series – April 29th – May 6th
partypoker POWERFEST – May 6th – May 20th
partypoker KO Series – June 2nd – June 10th
partypoker Monster Series – July 29th – August 6th
partypoker POWERFEST – September 2nd – September 23rd
partypoker KO Series – October 28th – November 4th
partypoker Monster Series – November 18th – November 25t
partypoker MILLIONS Online + HR Series – November 25th – December 5th

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WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

 WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

Originally set as a singular event, the World Poker Tour recently announced that the third running of the WPT Tournament of Champions, this year being held for the first time at ARIA in Las Vegas, would be joined by a new tournament previously unscheduled as well as other preliminary tournaments.

What is now being called the “Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions Festival” will kick off on May 17 with its first event, a $ 10,000 buy-in Omaha Hi/Lo tournament. There will also be four one-day $ 25,000 “High Roller” tournaments and a solo $ 100,000 “Super High Roller” event. What will close out the festivities are the two official WPT events on the schedule, one the previously known Tournament of Champions and the other a new event.

The final official stop of the Season XVI schedule will now be the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, a $ 10,000 buy-in event that wasn’t previously part of the discussion. The tournament is named for the former World Champion whose prowess on the poker tables and the boardrooms of Las Vegas have become legendary. With one opportunity for re-entry into the event, it is possible that the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic – which replaces the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale of the past two years – could be one of the bigger tournaments of this year when it begins on May 20.

“ARIA takes great pride in being the host of the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions,” said Sean McCormack, director of poker operations for ARIA. “We have developed a tremendous festival of events, highlighted by the premiere of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, and are excited to welcome the biggest names in poker to Las Vegas in May.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added, “The World Poker Tour is thrilled to bring the illustrious WPT Tournament of Champions to the luxurious ARIA, as we close out a historic Season XVI. The WPT Tournament of Champions is our most prized event, and the winner will join Farid Yachou and Daniel Weinman as a WPT Tournament of Champions winner. We look forward to returning to Las Vegas, the birthplace of the WPT and the global home of poker, to crown this season’s champion of champions.”

Once the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic has concluded, the WPT Tournament of Champions will kick off its action. On May 24 (the day after the conclusion of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic), the ToC will open play for its third ever event. All the champions of the Season XVI schedule will be in the field (they have already had $ 15,000 deducted from their prize winnings) and, if any previous WPT champion wishes to join the tournament, they will put up $ 15K to get in the game. In the past two seasons, there have been other additions to the prize pool, including last year’s tournament which saw an Audi up as one of the spoils to the victor.

One problem that the ToC has had:  getting the players out to take part in the tournament. Once you limit the field to only previous WPT champions (now totaling 237 players; it will be 243 by the end of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, if no previous champion wins again), you then must look at who is going to show. Some former champions, including Doyle Brunson and Mel Judah, aren’t as active in the tournament world anymore. Someone like Howard Lederer isn’t exactly considered welcome in tournaments (outside the WSOP, it seems) and unfortunately others have passed away (David ‘Devil Fish’ Ulliott). A look at the first two staging’s of this tournament demonstrate this difficulty in getting players.

When it was originally held in 2016 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, 64 players came out as Farid Yachou captured the inaugural championship. Fast forward to 2017 and the number clicked up to 66 as David Weinman defeated Michael Mizrachi to capture the title. With the move to Las Vegas for the 2018 ToC, it is perhaps thought by WPT officials that more former champs will come out and take part in the tournament rather than go across the country to play the ToC in Florida.

It promises to be an outstanding week of poker in May as the WPT wraps up its Season XVI schedule by crowning its final champion, its Player of the Year and the next “champion of champions” with the Tournament of Champions!

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2017 Year in Review: The Tournament Poker Scene

 2017 Year in Review: The Tournament Poker Scene

If you’ve looked at a calendar lately, then you know that it is the completion of another “trip around the sun,” as Jimmy Buffett famously put it. It is a time of reflection and examination of the future, so let’s get to the reflection part of the equation. In 2017, there were some great tournament moments, a popular pro who had some difficulties in the courts, and a World Champion who believes he’s ready for retirement. Without further ado, here’s a few highlights from the tournament poker scene.

The PokerStars Championships…Wait, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (Again)

At the start of January, poker players headed the Bahamas, but there were changes in the air and they all wouldn’t be for good. Instead of heading to Atlantis for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, online poker’s best and, in some case, luckiest players were met with the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, the replacement for the PCA, and the new PokerStars Championships Series, replacing the European Poker Tour. The name change of the long running tournament wasn’t the only facelift that players found once they landed on Paradise Island.

To start with, the ten days of poker action was just a little more active than players really liked. Amaya Gaming and PokerStars officials SCHEDULED 90 TOURNAMENTS for the span of the schedule, basically averaging about nine tournaments a day, not counting those in their Day Two proceedings. Many of those on the ground felt this was overkill. Add on the lack of other amenities that once made the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure one of the jewels of the tournament poker world such as player parties, SWAG and other VIP treatment and many players left the Bahamas saying they would never return.

The other events on the PokerStars Championships schedule featured tournaments that weren’t well attended, forcing The Stars Group (the renamed Amaya Gaming) to rethink its strategy. By the time the PokerStars Championships reached Prague in December, the decision had been made to bring back the old PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the EPT monikers. While those are popular moves, it remains to be seen if, in a crowded tournament circuit arena, that the players will come back to the PCA and the EPT.

I’m World Champion – Now What?

First off, the officials at the World Series of Poker made one of the biggest (and arguably best) moves of the year in ending the decade-long “November Nine” format. For the first time since 2007, the WSOP Championship Event was played straight through, with only a two-day break once the final table was determined. A sizeable contingent of the poker world widely praised that move and, in an unprecedented three-night event, the final nine played down to a champion who now could be considering retirement.

Eventual champion Scott Blumstein used a big double up through then-chip leader (and beloved amateur and grandfather) John Hesp to basically skate his way to the World Championship. Entering the final night of the tournament, he dominated Benjamin Pollak and Dan Ott, vanquishing Ott in heads-up play to capture poker’s World Championship and an $ 8.15 million payday.

Since winning poker’s greatest tournament, Blumstein has been making the rounds of the tournament poker world, but he admits that it doesn’t have the same draw as it did previously. In an interview with CardPlayer Magazine, Blumstein said he feels he’s “kind of beat the game of poker” and that there “aren’t many other goals that I can come up with right now.” While stopping short of saying he would completely quit the game, Blumstein said he is entertaining what to do with his life – and some of what he talks about aren’t poker related – post-WSOP.

It’s Tough to Be Phil Ivey

Normally anyone would give their right arm to become Phil Ivey. The ten-time WSOP bracelet winner and high stakes gambler travels the world, earning a great deal of money (from appearances) and basically betting huge stacks of money on anything. But there was one room in 2017 that Ivey found he couldn’t beat – the courtroom.

In a major decision this summer, the British Supreme Court found in favor of Crockfords, a high-end London casino, in a dispute between Ivey and the casino. Despite saying that Ivey didn’t cheat, the Court did decide that he “deceived” the casino as he won around £7.8 million (roughly $ 11 million) and that the casino did not have to pay him his winnings. After losing another case in New Jersey, where it was also concluded that Ivey’s tactics were illegal and ordered him to repay over $ 10 million, Ivey is out roughly $ 21 million. Perhaps that is the reason that Ivey, who has been a ghost on the tournament poker scene for several years, says he will be returning to the circuit in the coming year.

Anyone Got a Spare $ 25,000…$ 50,000…$ 100,000 Laying Around?

In 2017, tournament poker was put on steroids by the number of High Roller and Super High Roller events that were a part of the circuit. Usually with buy-ins from $ 25,000 to $ 100,000, these tournaments were normally well outside the budget of the average poker player. As such, these events also became the primary domain of many well-heeled players (or, some would accuse, a group of players pooling money and reaping the rewards) who were vying for the different Poker Player of the Year awards.

Bryn Kenney was the leader of many of these awards for nearly all of 2017. While there is no doubt as to the skill of Kenney, the man didn’t play the WSOP at all in 2017 and, coming to the final week of 2017, is still in the lead (or near it) in those POY races…how? Kenney has primarily played the high dollar tournaments; in the entirety of his 2017 record, only four of his 29 cashes in 2017 was in tournaments with lower than a $ 25,000 buy in.

Should tournament poker be the domain of the nobility of the poker world? Part of the charm of the game is that the Average Joe can take down even the best in the game on the right day. By secluding themselves off in the High Roller world, they’re not exactly taking on all comers. Perhaps the ranking systems will find a way to drag these players (Kenney is far from the only one who does this) into the Main Arena but, until they do, their performances must be viewed with a bit of a jaded eye.

There were plenty of other occurrences during the year…what were some of your choices for the best in tournament poker for 2017?

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Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

 Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

One of the most prestigious tournaments on the World Poker Tour calendar, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event, is set to begin on Tuesday. But that start will have a cloud over it as players – from the elite professionals to the Everyday Joe – have made their displeasure known regarding the format of the tournament.

The $ 10,000 buy in tournament is already one of the biggest by price on the WPT Season XVI schedule. The reentry rules that the tournament is being conducted under are also quite lax, allowing players to re-enter the tournament up until Level 9 of the tournament. This would allow players to get back into the event – with a 30,000 chip stack and at a point where such a stack is still quite workable – at nearly the end of DAY TWO.

Naturally, these liberal unlimited reentry event rules seem to have irritated many in the poker community. First up was noted cantankerous pro Allen Kessler, who at least had democracy to prove his point for him. Out of 623 people who voted on a poll Kessler posted on Twitter, 50% of the respondents wanted the traditional freezeout format for the WPT Five Diamond. There wasn’t a huge uprising against a re-entry, but it was resoundingly a solo re-entry (39%), while the unlimited re-entry option received 11% of the voting public.

While the public vote on Kessler’s Twitter page was dominated by the freezeout vote, there were some pros who took Kessler to task in advocating for the freezeout over the unlimited option. Matthew Waxman criticized Kessler in Tweeting, “You play plenty of re-entries that are within your financial comfort zone. You complain about this one because it’s not. If I were an elitist, I would just ignore you. You are being hypocritical and I’m just trying to show you that.

David ‘ODB’ Baker took another tack in answering Kessler’s question. “Poker tourneys can be like golf courses. Some set up better for some than others. Sit this one out if you don’t like it. I don’t like it I’m sitting it out,” Baker stated over Twitter to Kessler. Dominik Nitsche added in his two cents on Twitter, chirping, “I actually do agree with you in general that single reentry (or freezeout) is better. Just think it’s too late for this one (to be changed).”

It is one of the debates that has raged across poker for the last few years. Originally, the tournaments were called “rebuy” tournaments in the mid-2000s and those tournaments were routinely dominated by those whose deep pockets weren’t impacted. In the 2006 World Series of Poker $ 1000 No Limit Hold’em event with rebuys, Daniel Negreanu reportedly made 46 rebuys during the tournament. Along with the two add-ons he could take, “Kid Poker” spewed $ 48,000 in tournament buy-ins; in 2007, the WSOP banned the “rebuy” events.

But all that has happened to the old “rebuy” event is they have been rebranded as today’s “re-entry” events. Offering multiple Day Ones and/or allowing for a re-entry/late entry period that stretches deep into the opening action of the tournament, players can still get that “rebuy” feeling in the renamed events. In some WPT tournaments, it is possible for a player to take advantage of every Day One and a solo rebuy (some even allow players to enter on Day 2) and spend upwards of $ 25,000 should they strike out in every attempt.

Some players dislike the re-entry tournaments because it does give a professional player with craploads of money a chance to play recklessly, offering no recompense for bad play other than having to enter again, and build substantial stacks (some would say elimination would be an apt punishment for those types of pros). Other players talk about how it pushes out the recreational player, who has but one shot in a tournament and has to potentially run through someone more than twice if they are to even cash. Those that are for the re-entry tournaments point out how it can build a prize pool to levels higher than it would should the tournament be a freezeout event.

While Kessler’s poll and the results have received some notice, don’t expect a change anytime soon in the re-entry phenomenon. The casinos enjoy it because the extra juice goes into their pockets and the tours themselves like it to build big prize pools and award big payouts. The only way for the players to vote further on this issue would be to use their wallets and not play the tournaments.

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