WPT World Championship Officially One of the Largest Poker Tournaments Ever
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As it turned out, the $15 million guarantee in the WPT World Championship was merely a starting point. At around 7 p.m. PT during Wednesday's Day 1c session, registration closed with 2,960 total entries, creating a World Poker Tour record-setting prize pool of $29,008,000.
On the final Day 1 starting flight, there were 1,280 players, many of whom had already fired at least one bullet in this historic event. The tournament at Wynn Las Vegas has been a rousing success, to say the least. Just take a look at these stats from the first ever $10,400 buy in WPT World Championship.
- Largest non-WSOP Main Event prize pool in history for a live tournament with a buy in under $1 million.
- Fourth largest non-WSOP Main Event prize pool ever regardless of buy in.
- Most entrants in a WPT Main Tour event.
- Largest WPT prize pool ever.
- 21st largest live tournament prize pool ever (includes WSOP Main Event).
- Most entrants in a five-figure buy in live tournament (excludes WSOP Main Event).
- Excluding World Series of Poker events, it is the largest prize pool in Las Vegas history.
A Tournament for the Ages
The largest prize pool in poker history was the 2006 WSOP Main Event — $82,512,162 — won by Jamie Gold for $12 million. Excluding poker's longest-standing annual tournament, the next biggest pot was the 2019 Triton Million, a £1,000,000 buy in with £54,000,000 ($65,660,000) up for grabs.
But there's never been a tournament quite like the WPT World Championship. It's the first non-WSOP $10k to even come close to reaching a $30 million prize pool, and it nearly doubled a lofty guaranteed prize pool.
The build up and hype for this event was intense. Thanks in large part to the marketing efforts and preparation of the staffs within the WPT and at the Wynn, the tournament actually exceeded the hype.
Ivey, Hellmuth Take a Crack at World Poker Tour Glory
WPT ambassador Phil Ivey was among those who took a seat in the final Day 1 session. Unfortunately, for arguably the greatest player in poker history, he was eliminated late in the day. Joining the two-time WPT champion among those who couldn't find a bag included Bryn Kenney, Dylan Linde, Ema Zajmovic, Liv Boeree, and Shaun Deeb.
Phil Hellmuth, however, bagged chips — quite a few of them, in fact. The host of the WPT's "Raw Deal" segment finished with 225,000 chips, which doesn't put him up near the top of the leaderboard, but it is good for 45 big blinds. Not a bad bounce back for the "Poker Brat" following his recent loss to Jason Koon in a $1.6 million heads up match on PokerGO's High Stakes Duel III show.
Hellmuth did enough to advance, but he didn't come close to the chip leader — Krasimir Yankov — who left the Wynn with 1,062,000, the only player in the field of 1,280 to bag a seven-figure stack. Justin Bonomo racked up 1,011,000 on Day 1a, while Aryan Oliveira went on a heater to the tune of 1,551,000 chips on Day 1b and will enter Day 2 with a massive chip lead.
WPT World Championship Day 1c Top Chip Counts
*Official results and full chip counts won't be released by the casino until Thursday morning.
The winner of the WPT World Championship, to be crowned Dec. 20, will take home a whopping $4,136,000, and the runner up will receive $2,830,000. All six members of the final table will be paid more than $1 million.
In total, the top 370 finishers will get paid, with the minimum cash set at $17,400. With the blinds moving to 2,500/5,000 (5,000 big blind ante) when play resumes at noon on Thursday, players will begin to bust quickly, which means there's a strong possibility the money bubble will bust before Day 3. There were 1,212 total entries who advanced to Day 2.