WPT Axes WPT Championship, Adds Tournament of Champions

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The schedule for the final World Poker Tour events of Season XIV was unveiled on Wednesday and included one major change. The WPT Championship as we know it is no more. In its place is the WPT Tournament of Champions, an invite-only event to be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in mid-April.

Only Season XIV champions and WPT Champions Club members can participate in the Tournament of Champions, which has a buy-in of $15,400. The event won’t come cheap for WPT officials either, as every Season XIV Major Champion is automatically entered into the Tournament of Champions and will have their airfare and hotel accommodations covered. Champions Club members can buy in.

WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska (pictured) commented in a press release, “By combining Season XIV winners and WPT Champions Club members, the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions will truly be a championship event. We will promote the ‘champion of champions’ to our millions of television viewers and to the thousands of players in the community for seasons to come, solidifying the winner’s place in the World Poker Tour’s rich history.”

Several PocketFivers have made the WPT Champions Clubthis year, including Taylor taypaurPaur, Asher yasmellmeConniff, and Aaron aaronmermel Mermelstein.

The new Tournament of Champions begins on April 21. Here’s a look at the tournaments leading up to it:

January 4 to 8
WPT National Philippines
Solaire Resort & Casino
Manila, Philippines
$1,500 + $150

January 8 to 11
WPT DeepStacks Hustler
Hustler Casino
Gardena, California
$1,000 + $100

January 14 to 18
WPT DeepStacks Hollywood
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
$1,000 + $100

January 29 to February 1
WPT DeepStacks Malta
Dragonara Casino
St. Julian’s, Malta
€500 + €50

January 31 to February 5
WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Atlantic City, NJ
$3,300 + $200

February 21 to 24
WPT Fallsview Poker Classic
Fallsview Casino Resort
Ontario, Canada
CAD $4,700 + CAD $300

February 25 to 28
bwin.be WPT National Brussels
Grand Casino Brussels
Viage, Belgium
€1,100 + €100

February 26 to 29
WPT DeepStacks – BigStax
Parx Casino
Bensalem, Pennsylvania
$1,500 + $100

February 27 to March 3
WPT LA Poker Classic
Commerce Casino
Commerce, California
$9,600 + $400

March 7 to 11
WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star
Bay 101 Casino
San Jose, California
$7,150 + $350

March 8 to 13
partypoker WPT Vienna
Montesino Vienna
Vienna, Austria
€3,000 + €300

March 12 to 16
WPT Rolling Thunder
Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Lincoln, California
$3,200 + $300

April 8 to 11
Gioco Digitale WPT National San Remo
Casino San Remo
San Remo, Italy
€900 + €90

April 15 to 17
WPT National Johannesburg
Emperors Palace Hotel Casino
Johannesburg, South Africa
R10,000 + R1,000

April 14 to 20
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
$3,200 + $200 + $100

April 21 to 23
WPT Tournament of Champions
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
$15,000 + $400

The WPT Championship’s attendance dropped 27% from 2014 to 2015, so the writing was on the wall for a major change to the event. Here’s a look at the WPT Championship attendance each year it has been held. Season XIII ended in April 2015:

Season I: 111 entrants
Season II: 343 entrants
Season III: 453 entrants
Season IV: 605 entrants
Season V: 649 entrants
Season VI: 545 entrants
Season VII: 338 entrants
Season VIII: 195 entrants
Season IX: 220 entrants
Season X: 152 entrants
Season XI: 146 entrants
Season XII: 328 entrants
Season XIII: 239 entrants

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