We’re just one day away from the start of the World Poker Tour’s Season XVI Tournament of Champions and you can literally feel the excitement in the air. On the one hand, it’s hard to fully capture that excitement in words, but on the other hand we can certainly point out numerous components of the event that are bringing about such tremendous excitement in the poker world.
In fact, so many factors are adding to the buzz surrounding this special, once-a-year festival that we felt compelled to put together a top 10 list. Thus, without further ado…
1. Vegas, Baby!
During its first two incarnations, the WPT Tournament of Champions was held in the venerable Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Hollywood, Florida. As stupendous a venue and locale as that is, when it comes to poker its pretty much universally agreed that nothing tops Las Vegas. Add to that the electricity pulsing through Sin City right now as its NHL team, the Golden Knights, has made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and Vegas guarantees a truly one-of-a-kind atmosphere.
2. Las Vegas eSports Arena
Speaking of a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, this year’s Tournament of Champions marks a huge first. The all-new 30,000-square-foot Las Vegas eSports Arena at Luxor Hotel and Casino will host the event’s final table. If the events that the venue has hosted thus far are any measure, we’re assured a raucous atmosphere.
3. It’s open to the public and free to attend
That fans can get free front-row seats to all the action unfolding at the WPT TOC is just something special. In an age where attending major prestigious sporting and entertainment events costs a pretty penny, we poker fans ought to not take for granted the fact that it costs us absolutely nothing to show up in person and watch poker history unfold right before our eyes.
4. It’s the first BIG marquee event of the summer
Past WPT TOCs were held earlier in the calendar year. By contrast, Season XVI’s Tournament of Champions is being held at the end of May, right at the start of the huge summer of poker. The Super High Roller Bowl is on the horizon and of course just after that is the WSOP, but it’s the WPT TOC that has the distinction of “firing the starter’s pistol” to help launch another incredible summer poker season.
5. Record field expected
Part of what lends the WOT TOC its prestige is that you can only take a seat in the event if you’ve already won a WPT Title. Around 300 people hold that unique distinction, but in years past participation has hovered around the 60-70 player mark. As indicated above, the event is being held in the “right place at the right time” so it’s essentially a lock that it’ll feature a record-smashing field this year.
6. No rake!
Beyond the event’s exclusivity, part of the appeal of the WPT Tournament of Champions is that it’s a rake-free event. A buy-in of $15,000 gets you a seat; no need to pony up any additional monies whatsoever. There’s quite simply no better value to a professional poker player, making it quite worthwhile for anyone who has ever won a WPT event to attend.
7. Gift Bags
That it’s a rake-free event already means that the WPT TOC is exceptionally player-friendly. On top of that, all participants will receive player gift bags valued at more than $1,300! Being a WPT Title holder really is the gift that keeps on giving!
8. The Party
What would a championship event be without an accompanying players party?! The Hublot WPT party is scheduled to take place on May 23 from 6-8 p.m. at new Hublot Boutique at the Las Vegas Crystals shops. WPT champions in attendance will receive special gifts, plus complimentary food and drinks. Are you salivating yet?
9. The After-Party
When one party just isn’t enough, the good times keep on rolling at the Topgolf WPT party. Immediately after the Hublot WPT Party, starting at 9 p.m. and going all the way until midnight, Topgolf Las Vegas will be the setting of the after party, with complimentary food provided by Topgolf and drinks provided by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
10. Six figures of added value
All of the above-mentioned player perks go to any WPT champions in attendance, but to the victor go the true spoils. In addition to the lion’s share of the prize pool, the winner of Season XVI’s TOC will receive a huge bonus, in the form of six figures worth of added cash and prizes from the WPT and its sponsors. Yum yum!
So, are you excited yet? 🙂