WPT World Championship Ditches Reentry Format and Will Be Played as a Freezeout
World Poker Tour events have become synonymous with the reentry format so common in poker tournaments these days. That includes the season-ending WPT World Championship, which has been held with a reentry format for the previous two installments. For the upcoming Season XIII WPT World Championship, though, that trend will be kicked to the curb as the event will be held in a freezeout format, allowing just one entry per player. This news came Wednesday according to Tab Duchateau, tournament director at Borgata.
Also according to Duchateau, the event will begin on April 25, 2015. With the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final €10,600 Main Event slated for Day 1a on May 2 and Day 1b to take place on May 3, this should allow the players to be able to attend both events, if they so please.
Dating back to 2003 when Alan Goehring earned $1,011,886 for topping a field of 111 entries in the inaugural event, the WPT World Championship has been a staple of the poker tournament circuit. It's arguably the most important event of the year behind the World Series of Poker Main Event. One of the big reasons the event has always stood out from the rest is its buy-in. Set at a hefty $25,000 through the first 11 seasons, the event has never awarded less than a million dollars to first place. It also topped seven figures when it awarded $1,350,000 to Keven Stammen for winning last year's Season XII event despite the buy-in being dropped to $15,400.
Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, played host to the prestigious event up until last year, when the event was moved to Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When combined with the buy-in drop, this move proved beneficial to the event's field size as it grew from 146 in Season XI to 328 in Season XII. This increase was a promising one after the event endured a year-on-year decline five of the six times it was held from 2008-2013.
Looking back into the history of the event, Season XI, which attracted a field of 146, was the first year the event was played with a reentry format, allowing one per player until the registration period closed. Last season, the event had two starting flights, and players were again only allowed one entry per starting day — if one busted the first day, he or she could reenter on the second.
Here's a snapshot of the WPT World Championship over the years:
|Year||Season||Buy-In||Entries||Format||Prize Pool||Winner||First-Place Prize|
|2014||Season XII||$15,400||328||Single Reentry||$4,852,400||Keven Stammen||$1,350,000|
|2013||Season XI||$25,500||146||Single Reentry||$3,540,500||Chino Rheem||$1,150,297|
|2012||Season X||$25,500||152||Single Entry||$3,660,500||Marvin Rettenmaier||$1,196,858|
|2011||Season IX||$25,500||220||Single Entry||$5,309,500||Scott Seiver||$1,618,344|
|2010||Season VIII||$25,500||195||Single Entry||$4,728,750||David Williams||$1,530,537|
|2009||Season VII||$25,500||338||Single Entry||$8,172,250||Yevgeniy Timoshenko||$2,143,655|
|2008||Season VI||$25,500||545||Single Entry||$13,216,250||David Chiu||$3,389,140|
|2007||Season V||$25,500||639||Single Entry||$15,495,750||Carlos Mortensen||$3,970,415|
|2006||Season IV||$25,500||605||Single Entry||$14,671,250||Joe Bartholdi||$3,760,165|
|2005||Season III||$25,500||453||Single Entry||$10,961,000||Tuan Le||$2,856,150|
|2004||Season II||$25,000||343||Single Entry||$8,342,000||Martin De Knijff||$2,728,356|
|2003||Season I||$25,000||111||Single Entry||$2,691,750||Alan Goehring||$1,011,886|
Professional poker player Dan O'Brien commented on the news by saying, "Oh wow, just one bullet?" whereas Allen Kessler, another professional player, had a little bit more to say about the change.
"Good idea, I like it," Kessler commented to Rich Ryan on the PokerNews Podcast this week. "I think it's good, these reentry things are killing poker. People like [Daniel] Negreanu buying a stack at Bellagio, I thought that was really ridiculous."
Paul Volpe, WSOP bracelet winner with two WPT final tables, said, "I always thought championships should be freezeouts. I don't like when people have the option to rebuy in the most prestigious events yearly. The structures in those events are so good that it won't change too much anyhow, but I definitely like it not being a rebuy."
It will be interesting to see if this change affects the tournament's field in a positive or negative way, and we'll be able to do that come the end of April.