The World Poker Tour (WPT) has scrapped its long-standing championship event and has, instead, announced that a “Tournament of Champions” buy-in tournament will be the annual season-ender. The televised tournament and its $15,400 buy-in will only be open to past WPT champions.
The first of this new closed-format events will be held at the end of Season XIV (April 2016) as part of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open series in Florida. Every Season XIV Main Tour champion is automatically entered into the WPT Tournament of Champions, and former WPT champions can choose to put up the $15,400 buy-in for the event.
“The WPT World Championship has always been a tremendous event,” WPT President Adam Pliska told All In Magazine. “But we wanted to complete Season XIV with a true championship event. With the WPT Tournament of Champions, we will be able to dig deep into the WPT archives to highlight memorable moments and illuminate a narrative path in not just one tournament, but the annals of the World Poker Tour.”
The switch to a closed-format championship event has drawn online criticism from longtime fans of the traditional style:
The major change comes just two years after the WPT announced the championship was leaving its 11-year home at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and that buy-ins for its signature tournament would be reduced from $25,000 to $15,000. Since 2014, the WPT Championships have been held at Borgata.
In addition to this change, WPT announced the addition of seven more Main Tour events, including the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, WPT Fallsview Poker Classic, and the third-annual California Swing. The WPT also announced that the next season will, once again, kick off across the pond – this time in Holland.
“The World Poker Tour continues to innovate and evolve, most notably with our global footprint,” Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for WPT, told PokerNews. “We are proud that WPT continues to emphasize our international offerings, with second-half stops in the Philippines, Belgium, Malta, Vienna, San Remo, and Johannesburg, and we will be kicking off Season XV of the World Poker Tour in beautiful Holland.”
(Photo credit: Lee Davy, Creative Commons.)
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