Top Stories of 2023, #9: WPT Becomes a True Challenger in US Live Poker Space

Top Stories of 2023, #9: WPT Becomes a True Challenger in US Live Poker Space

The World Poker Tour (WPT) entered 2023 on a high note having successfully executed the first-ever WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December 2022. That event would go on to win Event of the Year at the Global Poker Awards, while the Wynns Ray Pulford nabbed Tournament Director of the Year due in no small part to executing that tournament.

The WPT joining forces with Wynn Las Vegas, which is largely viewed as the best place to play poker in Las Vegas, proved to be a powerful alliance. Back that with ClubWPT reaching a largely recreational demographic, and the coffers of WPT Global adding a beneficial online element, and the WPT became even more powerful within the industry in 2023. So much so that many feel its giving the World Series of Poker (WSOP) a run for its money.

Check out the WPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Another Strong WPT Championship

The WPT World Championship Festival is barely in the rearview mirror, and while the $10,400 buy-in WPT World Championship failed to hit its $40,000,000 guarantee it fell about $2.4 million short it was still a tremendous success with 3,835 entrants. That was an approximately 33% year-over-year growth (the 2022 WPT World Championship had 2,960 runners).

The winner of the event was Indiana's Dan Sepiol, who bested a 52nd place finish in the inaugural WPT World Championship with a seven-figure payday at this year's event.

1Dan Sepiol$5,282,954*
2Georgios Sotiropoulos$4,167,246*
3Andrew Lichtenberger$2,798,700
4Chris Moorman$2,095,300
5Ben Heath$1,583,100
6Artur Martirosian$1,207,000

Meanwhile, a full schedule of side events awarded millions more dollars in prize money such as the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, Alpha8, and WPT Ladies Championship.

On the Heels of a Strong Season

For the 2023 season, the WPT hosted eight Main Tour stops with Florida being its primary stomping grounds thanks to a pair of stops at the Seminole Hard Rock and one at bestbet Jacksonville. There were also two in California at Thunder Valley and Gardens while the WPT World Championship once again took place in Las Vegas. Additionally, there was a single international Main Tour stop in Sydney, Australia.

While eight stops isnt exactly a robust schedule, the WPT is once again building after the pandemic shook up the live poker landscape, especially in the United States. The WPT has already released its schedule for the first part of 2024, and dont be surprised if more stops are added in the latter half.

Could either classic stops at the Borgata, Playground, and Commerce, or maybe new stops in hot poker locales like Texas and the Midwest be on the table? Only time will tell.

MonthEventLocationEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
April$3,500 WPT Rolling ThunderCalifornia590$1,888,000Scott Eskenazi$361,660
April$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker ShowdownFlorida2,290$7,328,000Bin Weng$1,128,250
May$3,800 WPT ChoctawOklahoma612$2,142,000Jared Jaffee$400,740
May$5,250 WPT Gardens Poker ChampionshipCalifornia346$1,678,100Ky Nguyen$357,380
SeptemberAUD $8,000 WPT AustraliaSydney600$2,896,515 USDRichard Lee$550,267
November$5,000 WPT bestbet ScrambleFlorida365$1,660,750Frederic Normand$351,650
November$3,500 WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker OpenFlorida1,447$4,630,400Istvan Briski$647,300
December$10,400 WPT World ChampionshipNevada3,835$40,000,000TBD$5,678,000

In addition to the Main Tour, the mid-major WPT Prime season was a success featuring $1,000-$1,500 buy-ins. In 2023, there were 14 WPT Prime stops all across the globe. In fact, there was only one in the United States and that was at the WPT World Championship.

The $1,100 buy-in tournament had a $5 million guarantee, but the prize pool hit $10,196,640 with 10,512 entrants, nearly double last year's turnout when Stephen Song won it for $712,650. Song's payout in 2022 barely would have beat third-place money this year.

In the end, it was Calvin Anderson winning the WPT Prime Championship for $1,386,280, which you can read about in full here.

Heres a look at the WPT Prime winners from 2023:

MonthEventLocationEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
January1,100 WPT Prime ParisFrance1,071$1,127,645Fabrice Bigot$194,390
MarchAUD$2,000 WPT Prime Gold CoastAustralia1,224AUD$2,203,200Sheng Ye$253,843
March$1,100 WPT Prime CambodiaCambodia1,011$980,670Reiji Kono$131,731
March1,100 WPT Prime AmsterdamNetherlands1,000$1,050,248Philip Hollederer$186,178
April65,000 WPT Prime IndiaIndia857$618,832Prasit Chowdhury$105,809
May1,100 WPT Prime SlovakiaSlovakia552529,920Sandor Mate$118,964
MayVND25,000,000 WPT Prime VietnamVietnam1,151$1,079,611Duy Thuc Nguyen$177,764
May$1,060 WPT Prime Spring FestivalWPT Global218$218,000--
June1,100 WPT Prime SanremoItaly838$860,830Simone Andrian$157,973
August1,100 WPT Prime Aix-en-ProvenceFrance457$482,592Samy Boujmala$102,938
AugustTWD33,000 WPT Prime TaiwanTaiwan1,359$1,237,387Seonguk Huh$197,741
SeptemberCHF1,100 WPT Prime LiechtensteinLichtenstein1,644$1,841,280David Kozma$300,541
September1,100 WPT Prime MadridSpain396$387,858Oscar Gironella$73,840
December$1,100 WPT Prime ChampionshipLas Vegas10,512$10,196,640Calvin Anderson$1,386,280

WPT Player of the Year

The 2023 WPT Player of the Year race wasnt that close. Bin Weng won the second stop of the season, and he went on to crush the WPT and the poker world as a whole (hes going to win the GPI Player of the Year). On the WPT, Weng amassed 2,175 points thanks to five cashes for $3,513,004, which included two final table appearances and the aforementioned $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown win for $1,128,250.

That also included a summer win over 1,676 entries in the $10,500 buy-in WPT EveryOne for One Drop at Wynn for $2,227,054.

2023 WPT Player of the Year Leaderboard

RankPlayerPointsWPT EarningsCashesFinal TablesWins
1Bin Weng2,175$3,513,004521
2Calvin Anderson1,600$1,650,434300
3Istvan Briski1,425$667,500211
4Aaron Pinson1,250$910,000100
5Jared Jaffe1,225$432,082411
6David ozma1,200$312,320400
7Scott Eskenazi1,175$384,460311
8Sri Sangannagari1,150$745,000110
9Jay Lu1,125$696,200200
10Richard Lee1,100$550,267111

Gamble, Weng & Coleman Win at WPT World Championship Festival; Leah Claims 2nd Trophy

Whats Next for the WPT?

The WPT confirmed the first half of next year's schedule, issuing the date for twelve WPT and WPT Prime events in the first six months of 2024.

The schedule has three U.S. stops on itone each at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK; the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Hollywood, FL; and Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA. The international stops include a Virgin Voyages cruise ship in the Caribbean (WPT Voyage and WPT Voyage Prime) and multiple stops in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

As we approach both the end of Season XXI and the WPT World Championship, we are proud to share the schedule for the first half of Season XXII, WPT CEO Adam Pliska told the press. We worked vigorously with our casino partners to solidify dates for these impressive, value-packed festivals so that players can plan their 2024 schedules.

If you are in the process of planning your 2024 poker calendar, the first event to pay attention to is the WPT Cambodia at NagaWorld in Phnom Penh. The WPT Cambodia festival dates are confirmed as January 17-30, with the main eventthe WPT Cambodia $3,500 Championshipkicking off on January 25.

Meanwhile, players in the U.S. get their first shot at a WPT Main Tour event in March, with the return of WPT Rolling Thunder to Thunder Valley Casino Resort in sunny California on March 7.

Of particular interest, this coming year is the first-ever WPT Voyage and WPT Prime Voyage festivals. These overlapping events will take place aboard Virgin Voyages ship the Valiant Lady.

This 1,400-cabin cruise ship is set to pull out of the Port of Miami on March 31, carrying a cargo of poker players with it. The ship is set to return to Miami on April 6, with new WPT and WPT Prime champions aboard.

In Europe, there will be four WPT stops, one each in France (WPT Prime Aix-en-Provence from January 26 to February 5), the Netherlands (WPT Prime Amsterdam from March 15 to 23), Slovakia (WPT Prime Slovakiamain event starts April 11), and the mid-season finale in Sanremo (WPT Prime Sanremomain event starts June 6). All four events are within the Schengen area for maximum convenience.

Another popular event is likely to be the third ever WPT Prime Vietnam, which returns to the Crown Poker Club in Hanoi, Vietnam for a 25,000,000 ($1,062) Championship scheduled for May 23.

Check out the full schedule below to make sure you don't miss a thing.

Read more about the 2024 WPT Prime schedule here

World Poker Tour Season XXII First Half Schedule of Main Events

Jan 25WPT Cambodia$3,500NagaWorld Integrated ResortPhnom Penh, Cambodia
Feb 1WPT Prime Aix-en-Provence1,100 ($1,199)Pasino GrandAix-en-Provence, France
Mar 19WPT Prime Amsterdam1,100 ($1,199)Holland CasinoAmsterdam, Netherlands
Mar 23WPT Rolling Thunder$3,500Thunder Valley CasinoLincoln, CA
Mar 31WPT Voyage$1,100Virgin VoyagesCaribbean
Mar 31WPT Prime Voyage$5,000Virgin VoyagesCaribbean
Apr 11WPT Prime Slovakia1,100 ($1,199)Card Casino BratislavaBratislava, Slovakia
Apr 18WPT Prime Gold CoastAU$2,000 ($1,263)The Star Gold CoastGold Coast, Australia
Apr 19WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown$3,500Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino HollywoodHollywood, FL
May 3WPT Choctaw$3,800Choctaw Casino ResortDurant, OK
May 23WPT Prime Vietnam25,000,000 ($1,062)Crown Poker ClubHanoi, Vietnam
Jun 6WPT Prime Sanremo1,100 ($1,199)Casino di SanremoSanremo, Italy


Can you win real money at WPT Global?

Yes, you can win real money at WPT Global. WPT Global also offer the chance to win seats in any number of exciting live tournaments.

How many decks are used in poker?

In most popular poker variants, such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha, a standard deck of 52 playing cards is used. Each deck contains four suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) and consists of 13 ranks (Ace, 2 through 10, and the face cards: Jack, Queen, and King).

What is the bonus code for WPT Global Poker 2023?

The best bonus code for WPT Global is WPT777. By entering the bonus code, players will get a welcome bonus 100% up to $1,200 on the first deposit. The minimum deposit is $20.