Did Chino Rheem Forget He Had a Free WPT Championship Seat?


In 2013, David “Chino” Rheem (pictured) won the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $1.1 million, defeating a field of 146 entrants in the $25,000 buy-in tournament. This year, the WPT’s season finale moved east to Borgata in Atlantic City, where, according to F5 Poker, Rheem had a free entry waiting for him.

On Monday, Rheem Tweeted, “Wanna wish all my homies best of luck at Borgata @WPT Championship event! I won’t be there to defend last year’s title, so play well!” Day 1 of the WPT Championship was held on Monday and Rheem’s Tweet sparked a response from Robert Mizrachi, who Tweeted back, “@ChinoRheem I think you have a free roll since u won last year. I would find out.”

Rheem’s final comment on the matter was simply the two-word phrase “What freeroll?

The buy-in this year was dropped to $15,000 for the WPT Championship and the tournament’s organizers guaranteed a prize pool of $5 million. First place will earn $1.3 million and a field of 328 players turned out, more than doubling last year’s attendance.

F5 confirmed with WPT President Adam Pliska that Rheem had been gifted a seat and the news site explained, “The World Poker Tour Championship event is one of the very few events, on any tour, where the previous year’s champion gets a free seat the following year. Rheem had a seat just waiting for him… The seat is/was non-transferable or convertible.”

A PokerListings article insinuated that Rheem may have skipped the WPT Championship on purpose, even if he didn’t know he had a free seat: “Rheem… decided to skip the tournament and was instead doing ‘choice’ (which we’ll assume is Choice Leadership Program, of which Daniel Negreanu is a huge proponent).”

Whatever the case may be, at the start of the day on Friday, 18 players remain in the WPT Championship, each guaranteed a payout of at least $41,000. Here are the chip counts along with the number of big blinds each player is stacked with, according to WPT’s website:

Eric Afriat – 2,029,000 (126 bb)
Abe Korotki – 1,616,000 (101 bb)
Anthony Gregg – 1,499,000 (93 bb)
Ryan g0lfa D’Angelo – 1,369,000 (85 bb)
Curt Kohlberg – 1,097,000 (68 bb)
Justin Young – 993,000 (62 bb)
Byron Kaverman – 974,000 (60 bb)
Ray Qartomy – 955,000 (59 bb)
Brock t soprano Parker – 918,000 (57 bb)
Keven Stamdogg Stammen – 867,000 (54 bb)
Tom Dobrilovic – 786,000 (49 bb)
Chris O’Rourke – 670,000 (41 bb)
Tony bond18 Dunst – 622,000 (38 bb)
Corey Hochman – 598,000 (37 bb)
Bobby Oboodi – 525,000 (32 bb)
Glenn Lafaye – 395,000 (24 bb)
Hans Winzeler – 320,000 (20 bb)
David Grandieri – 209,000 (13 bb)

The WPT Championship concludes on Saturday.

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