The World Poker Tour Festa al Lago Main Event kicks off today at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The $10,000 Main Event is the climax of a packed poker tournament schedule that began on October 8. "Miami" John Cernuto, 2010 November Niner Matt Jarvis, James Van Alstyne, John Phan, and Scott Clements are just some of the winners of the side events so far.
It's the Main Event that everyone is looking forward to, however. Plenty of poker's best are coming out for the event. The buy-in for last year's event ($15,000) was a bit higher that this year's. There were 275 players that attended last year, creating a prize pool of $4,001,250. It was Tommy Vedes who beat that stacked field to take home the $1,218,225 first-place prize plus entry into the WPT World Championship.
The 2010 WPT Festa al Lago is the eighth stop on the ninth season of the World Poker Tour, and, if you recall, some changes have taken place this season. It was announced that Kimberly Lansing was coming back to the broadcast, but this time would provide more of an anchor role. "This is more reminiscent of other large sports media, maybe SportsCenter or you can imagine Bob Costas at the Olympics," described President of the WPT Adam Pliska at a press conference this summer.
In addition to the announcement of Lansing's return, the Royal Flush Girls were announced. They are to serve as WPT ambassadors, taking TV viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at the WPT stops, as well as making the money presentation at the final table. Matt Savage was announced as the Executive Tour Director, and a competition for poker's Simon Cowell, or the Raw Deal host, was announced. Auditions were held at the WPT Legends of Poker and it was decided that poker pro Tony Dunst would be taking that spot.
Day 1 play begins at noon local time in Las Vegas today and players have through the first eight levels to buy in. The lucky six players that make it to the televised final table will play for the title on October 20.