The World Poker Tournament (WPT) has a new venue in which to mark the end of the annual series of WPT international poker tournaments. The $15,000 + 400 Buy-in Season 12 WPT Championship Event sponsored by PartyPoker, kicked-off last Monday April 21 at the Borgata Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, and will culminate with the 2014 Final Table competition on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Apparently, the change is in line with Borgata Hotel Casino’s new role as Atlantic City terrestrial partner to Bwin.Party, the parent company of NJ-PartyPoker.com. As early as March 26, 2014, the Party Poker online site started giving New Jersey poker enthusiasts, a chance to win a free seat in the 2014 Season 12 WPT Championship by way of Sit and Go satellites, namely the WPT Shootout, WPT 3 and The WPT Last Chance Tournament Borgata (AC) Hotel Casino on the other hand, previously hosted two of the live tournaments of the Season 12 WPT series.
The first was prior to the launching of New Jersey’s regulated online gambling industry, the “Borgata Poker Open” held in September, 2013 in which 1,189 entries vied for a share of the $3,805,989 prize pool.
The second was the “Borgata Winter Poker Open”, held in January, 2014 and had as many as 1,229 poker players competing for a share of the $3,934,029 prize money at stake. Out of the 20 tournaments of the 12th WPT competition, both Borgata-hosted live WPT tournaments had the largest number of entries; but only next to the record-breaking 1,795 entries of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown held in Florida earlier this April.
Aside from replacing Bellagio, Las Vegas as official WPT title fight venue, the $15,000 + 400 entry fee for this year’s WPT Championship is more affordable, compared to the previous $25,000 buy-in. Last year, only 146 players, including the winners of the free seats, competed in the 11th WPT Championship held at Bellagio in Las Vegas. It was the lowest number recorded since WPT debuted in 2002.
Last Tuesday, Day 1B of the 12th WPT World Championship, an overall field size at 328 players was recorded, which is definitely a large improvement from Season 11’s total of 146 championship aspirants. Another welcome change in this year’s WPT Championship meet is the awarding of a “Hublot King Power Unico Chronograph” watch to the player who will emerge as the 2014 WPT Champion.
The luxury Swiss watch to be awarded on April 26, 2014 is only the first, as it will continue to be a regular championship prize in the succeeding seasons of the World Poker Tour, in addition to the WPT Championship Cup, the Monster 24k headphones and of course, the more than $1 million guaranteed share of the prize pool as first place reward. For this year, at least $1.35 million of the $5,000,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool will go to the winner who will bag the 2014 WPT Championship Cup and title.
As an aside, Canadian poker pros Matthew Lapossie and Eric Afriat secured their seats in the 12th WPT Championship, by winning at the final table of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic (Feb. 2014) and the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown (April 2014), respectively.