With the huge numbers of players turning out for major poker events with $10,000 buy-ins, one tournament is upping the stakes considerably in hopes of drawing the game's top players and the valuable attention and publicity that follows them.
A new contender on the block has arisen from the poker tournament world as Sam's Town Las Vegas plays host the Heavyweight Championship of Poker (HCP) during the first week of April.
According to HCP head honcho, Stan Sludikoff, the event has been in the works for over a year. "The idea was thought of by my partner Jerry Reed, but he had a hard time getting the concept off of the ground, so he brought it to me because of my connections and my involvement with Poker Player Magazine. I was able to open up a few doors and things have moved forward ever since," Sludikoff said in a recent interview with Pokernews.
What separates this tournament from almost all other events in the poker industry, is the record buy-in of $100,000. With only 100 spots available for the tournament, the action for the $10 million dollar prize pool should be at a fever pitch. When asked why they chose such a high buy-in, Sludikoff responded, "We didn't want to come up with some preposterous number like $10 million. We felt there is still room to maneuver with this buy-in and it wouldn't be too over-the-top for the players."
In another unique twist, this annual event will crown a champion who must defend his title after three months. The winner will have a little time to rest, but will soon have to take on challengers once a month, playing them heads-up, for $1,000,000. The casino will withhold $1,000,000 from the winner's prize to ensure the future challenge matches will take place, running up to the month before the next Heavyweight of Poker event.
"The order in which players finish becomes the batting order for the champion, going right up to the next HCP tournament," Sludikoff added.
According to Sludikoff, there is a need for this kind of poker action. "I think that the format we have is very exciting, especially the part where players have to defend their title. Two players battling it out for $2 million in a challenge match is exciting and should make great television."
Another interesting policy of the tournament is that players who win their way in via satellite must wear the logo of the casino that they won their entry from and must share 32 percent of their winnings if they make it to the final table. Five percent will go to the casino that hosted the satellite, while each player at the final table where a players wins entry to the main event through a satellite, receives three percent of the satellite winner's final table earnings.
Held at Sam's Town Las Vegas, a Boyd Gaming property, the venue is looking to further cement its role as one of the heavyweight poker venues. According to Sludikoff, it's the perfect place to hold the HCP. "They're very capable and are use to having big games there. They also have a top-notch tournament director in Dick Gatewood. Plus, they have a wonderful venue as well. They've got a room that is like a theatre. It will easily hold 40 tables and is set up for television. It's perfect for this event."
Now if you don't have $100,000 lying around for one of the 40 direct buy-in spots, you will still have a chance to win a ticket to the big dance by winning a $10,000 entry into one of the events taking place during the two days of super satellites tournaments leading up to the main event.
With this enormous buy-in altering the poker landscape around the world, one can only wonder what will be next for the sport as it continues its explosive growth.
Ed Note: Become a Poker Heavyweight at Noble Poker