WPT Reveals Tournament of Champions Dates, New Season-Ending Event
The World Poker Tour announced the dates of the highly anticipated 2018 Tournament of Champions, and the company also revealed the marquee event will be paired with a brand new WPT Main Tour tournament.
This year's Tournament of Champions, which will be held at ARIA in Las Vegas for the first time, has been scheduled for May 24. In conjunction with the $15,000 exclusive event, the WPT will roll out the new $10,000 WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic to end Season 16, starting on May 20.
Along with those two big tournaments, ARIA will be hosting its usual high roller series, with a $10,000 event on May 17 followed by four $25,000 events and a two-day $100,000 Super High Roller on May 24.
The Bobby Baldwin Classic
Bobby Baldwin is a legend of poker who has maintained an important role in the industry even with his prime playing days long in the past.
On the felt, he won four bracelets and racked up over $2 million in tournament cashes back when that was still an extremely impressive number and not representative of a losing year. His crowning tournament achievement was becoming World Series of Poker Main Event champion in 1978. He was also a top cash game player according to the likes of Doyle Brunson and other peers.
Away from the felt, he worked as a top executive for Golden Nugget in the 1980s before moving on to direct prestigious casinos like Bellagio and The Mirage. He's now president and chief operating officer of ARIA.
The WPT and ARIA now honor Baldwin's storied career in the industry with the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic. It will be a $10,000 single reentry running May 20-23 with the final table streamed on PokerGO.
“We have developed a tremendous festival of events, highlighted by the premiere of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, and are excited to welcome the biggest names in poker to Las Vegas in May,” said Sean McCormack, ARIA's director of poker operations.
The Tournament of Champions
The last two years since the WPT brought the Tournament of Champions to life, the event has been held at Seminole Hard Rock in Florida. Farid Yachou won it in 2016 and Daniel Weinman followed in 2017, besting Michael Mizrachi heads up.
As with previous years, the Tournament of Champions will be a rake-free event open to all past WPT champions, with winners from the current season having already secured seats. Both previous winners banked over $381,000 plus assorted extra prizes ranging from headphones to a car.
This year's edition begins May 24 to accommodate the final qualifier, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic champion. It will last three days, with the final table filmed on a special stage at Luxor in the new Esports Arena Las Vegas.
"The World Poker Tour is thrilled to bring the illustrious WPT Tournament of Champions to the luxurious ARIA, as we close out a historic Season XVI," WPT CEO Adam Pliska said. "We look forward to returning to Las Vegas, the birthplace of the WPT and the global home of poker, to crown this season’s champion of champions."