Some of the biggest names in poker will put a target on their back as the World Poker Tour returns to Jacksonville, Florida for the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble. The WPT’s $5,000 Main Event will take place from October 19-23 at bestbet Jacksonville and feature 24 players with a $2,500 bounty on their head.
The Main Event
A staple of the WPT Main Tour, the bestbet Jacksonville has been a key stop for the past seven seasons. The Bounty Scramble Main Event carries a $5,000 buy-in ($4,630 + $290 entry fee + $80 staff) and a $1 million guarantee.
Players have the option of two starting days beginning on October 19 with both starting days allowing players unlimited re-entry. The four-day structure has the final table playing out on a lifestream on Friday, October 23. Additionally, the WPT has incorporated the big blind ante as well as a 30-second Action clock which starts when the tournament is only one table away from the money.
Capture A Bounty
The standard structure of a WPT event is normally enough to get players excited to attend an event. However, the bestbet Bounty Scramble gives players an extra incentive to grab a seat and make a loose call.
There will be (at least) 24 players in the field that, if they are eliminated of the tournament, will give the player that knocked them out $2,500 on the spot.
This year, bestbet Jacksonville has taken a positive step in continuing to promote the game of poker to women. They have doubled the number of women invited to participate as bounties from 2017. In 2018, ten of the 24 players that have been selected as bounties are not only some of the best players on the planet but they also happen to be women. The list includes 2018 World Series of Poker Ladies Champion Jessica Dawley, 2-time WSOP bracelet winner Loni Harwood, Kitty Kuo, Jamie Kerstetter, WSOP Main Event standout Kelly Minkin and more.
Joining them are some of poker’s most notable names. A sampling of those with a price tag on their backs includes 4-time WPT Champion Darren Elias, Bryan Kaverman, Martin Rettenmaier, Matt Affleck, 3-time NFL Super Bowl Champion Richard Seymour, actor Kevin Pollack and 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Tony Miles among others.
A Look Back
Bounty tournaments at the highest level come with an extra level of adrenaline. The idea that after taking out an opponent, the tournament director may be giving you four-figures on the spot gives players extra incentive to get in the mix.
bestbet Jacksonville has appeared on the WPT schedule since Season 10 (2011-2012). It wasn’t until Season 13 that they formally changed the name to the Bounty Scramble and increased the buy-in to $5,000. In that year, Ryan Van Sanford from Colorado Springs, CO took down the field of 461 players to win a career-high cash of $421,668.
Tyler Patterson, who returns again as a bounty in 2018, took down the title in 2014 besting Benjamin Zamani heads-up for $375,270. Patterson returned to the final table of the very next year in what was a stacked final table that included Noah Schwartz, Ankush Mandavia and eventual winner Sam Panzica. Panzica won over $350,000 for his first WPT title. He would go on to win a second WPT title in another bounty tournament – the 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Stars for over $1.3 million.
Like Patterson before him, Panzica also made the final table the year after he won it. Just last year, Panzica finished runner-up to Paul Petraglia. Petraglia, a Florida local, defeated the 323 player field for a cash of over $315,000. Prior to his win, his largest recorded cash was for just over $3,000.
What To Watch For
It’s still early in WPT season 17 with WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble as only the fifth event, but the WPT Player of the Year race is in full swing. After his victory in the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event, two-time WPT Champion Tony Ruberto has taken the POY lead. If he makes the trip to Jacksonville, he will be looking separate him from the field of other Season 17 winners.
Keep an eye on the core group of bounties as well. The WPT has chosen a refreshing group of young pros as well as players who have traditionally done well in this event. Minkin, Miles and Dawley will be mixing it up with players who have multiple WPT titles like Elias and Rettenmaier to vie for the title of last bounty standing. With so much talent, it’s not altogether unlikely that a bounty (maybe two) will make it to the final table of six.
Finally, the industry will be watching for the number of runners bestbet Jacksonville will register in 2018. Over the past three years, entries and the prize pool have been on the decline in Jacksonville. The $1 million guarantee placed on the Main Event is the lowest guarantee on tour (WPT Choctaw also had a $1 million guarantee which was more than doubled). Even though there’s $60,000 taken out for the bounties, the hopes are that there is an uptick at the Bounty Scramble. A prize pool of over $1.5 million, exceeding 2017, should be considered a win.
Live updates for the event will be provided by the World Poker Tour on their website. Also, the final table will be broadcast on a live streamed on Tuesday, October 23. The final table will start at 4:00 pm ET on a 30-minute delay.
Complete List of Bounties
|$2,500 Bounty Player|
|Ester ‘Etay’ Taylor|
|Nabil (Doc) Hirezi|