The biggest year-end poker festival has kicked off… or shall we say, blasted off with opening week of the highly anticipated 2022 WPT World Championship seeing massive turnouts and star studded tables at the Wynn Las Vegas. Throughout the year the World Poker Tour has been celebrating its 20th year anniversary all over the globe culminating with its most ambitious tournament in poker history, the WPTWC Main Event featuring a mind-blowing $15 Million guarantee. This is the largest live tournament prize pool ever announced by any brand, and gauging by the pre-events attendance, it may well exceed that figure.
Running from December 1 to 20, the WPTWC festival offers a total of 24 events and a combined $22,200,000 in guarantees. Doors opened with The Premier Meet Up Game: WPT Poker Icons Experience, which was a day to remember for everyone that was lucky to find a seat. During the four hour session, the room was filled to capacity as players clamored for a chance to play alongside WPT Ambassadors Phil Ivey, Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen, Steve Aoki, and poker legend Doyle Brunson.
Over on the tournament floor, the tables were also sizzling with the first title up for grabs. The $600 buy in No Limit Hold’em drew a crushing 2,999 entry field over six starters to drive the $500K guarantee more than three times for a prize pool of $1,559,480. Out of the 327 players that earned a cut were fifteen Asians with Filipino Andrew Gaw running the deepest of 21st place. USA’s Sean Banahan shipped it for his first ever live title and a career high heads up payout deal of $136,220. Also cashing in was USA’s Jesse Lonis in 2nd place who added $122,184 to his incredibly long list of achievements this year which included a first ever WSOP bracelet.
Two other events also completed during opening week, both smashing its $50K guarantee. 310 entered the $600 buy in No Limit Hold’em for a bloated prize pool of $161,200. Canada’s Constantino Psallidas bagged it and collected the highest four way deal payout of $27,179. Only two Asians reached the money, 2017 WPT Beijing champion from Taiwan Pete Yen Han Chen (16th) and China’s Wei Guo Liang (25th).
At the $600 buy in H.O.R.S.E. event, 261 signed up for a larger $134,415 pot. 27 players got paid with the top four also striking a deal. USA’s Rafael Concepcion claimed it for a payout of $23,377 and his first WPT title.
WPT Prime Championship underway
The WPT Prime Championship $2 Million guaranteed was up and running on December 8 and to say it was a full house was an understatement. Day 1A drew a massive crowd of 1,205 entries to bring the tally to over $1.1 Million. With two more entry days to play out at $1,100 buy in, the guarantee will definitely be shattered and there’s no telling how enormous the pot will grow. Among the Asian representatives was Taiwan’s CTP Club owner David Tai.
WPTWC Main Event
The festival centerpiece is the WPTWC Main Event featuring a mighty $15 Million guarantee. As mentioned above, it is the single largest live tournament guarantee ever announced by any brand. Aside from what is certain to be a huge top prize, the winner’s name will be engraved on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup alongside past WPT Main Tour champions.
The Main Event runs from December 12 to 18 with the final table on December 20. Buy in is $10,400. This is a repechage format which means players can only enter once per day. A total of three starting days kicks it off. In addition to the Taiwan contingent that has already arrived, WPT Prime Cambodia Main Event champion David Erquiaga is en route. Erquiaga also won the WPT Player of the Festival $5,000 passport which he will likely be redeeming.
WPTWC Livestreamed events
Players will be happy to hear that WPT has also announced it will broadcast 12 days of games which includes the four-day coverage of the WPTWC Main Event and one of the highest stakes cash games in poker history. It will stream on WPT YouTube and WPT Twitch channels starting December 8.
Dec. 8 – Vlogger Game
Dec. 9 – Ladies Game
Dec. 10 – 11 – Rail Heaven
Dec. 12 – $25K High Roller Final Table
Dec. 12 – 14 – Only Friends Podcast: Pre-Game Show
Dec. 14 – 15 – Creator Game
Dec. 16 – 18 – WPT World Championship Coverage
Dec. 18 – WPT Ladies Championship Final Table
Dec. 19 – WPT Prime Championship Final Table
Dec. 20 – WPT World Championship Final Table
Dec. 21 – Televised Cash Game