World Poker Tour Champions Club members got some welcome news, as the WPT announced they'll be juicing up the prize pool at the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions with $100,000 in cash overlay and a number of other prizes. Additionally, play will include a 30-second shot clock.
The WPT Tournament of Champions, a first for the long-running tour, replaced the WPT Championship as the season-ending event. In the wake of the announcement, many wondered why players should be eager to pay up $15,000 to play against a presumably tough field filled with fellow major tournament winners.
With the announcement of added prizes, the WPT has assuaged some of those fears, offering tournament participants rake-free value. The Tournament of Champions will take place April 22 following a pair of WPT events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The winner of the tournament, which features a $15,000 rake-free buy-in and free entry for Season XIV winners, will receive a special Hublot watch, an Aurae Solid Gold Mastercard, a pair of gold Monster 24K Headphones, a custom-made poker table from BBO Poker Tables, a round of golf at Shadow Creek, and a seat in Tiger's Poker Night — an exclusive charity tournament benefiting the Tiger Woods Foundation and hosted by Tiger Woods.
"It is our goal to elevate the WPT Tournament of Champions, creating an extraordinary season-ending event to celebrate the members of the WPT Champions Club and the rich legacy of the World Poker Tour," WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska said in the company's announcement. "With a significant overlay of cash and prizes the WPT has immediately increased the value of being a WPT Champions Club member."
More prizes will reportedly be announced "in the coming weeks."
The other major tidbit to come from the WPT's announcement was the inclusion of the "Action Clock" — a 30-second, dealer-controlled timer created by Protection Poker that will speed up the pace of play. Players will have the option to use five time extensions, each good for an extra 30 seconds, during the course of play leading up to the final table. At that point, time extension banks reset so each player gets four.