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Found 9 results

  1. 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. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. [caption width="640"] If your name is on the WPT Champions Cup, you can play in the WPT Tournament of Champions.[/caption] To the surprise of many, the World Poker Tour announced last November that it would be scrapping its annual season-ending WPT Championship in favor of an invite-only Tournament of Champions event. With the event a little over a month away, the WPT has released some more details on the exclusive event, including the introduction of a shot clock and nearly $200,000 in cash and prizes. The $15,000 buy-in tournament kicks off April 22 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and is only open to WPT Champions Club members - previous WPT winners. The 21 champions from this season won their TOC buy-in as part of their original payout. Winners from previous seasons will have to pay their own entry fee. "It is our goal to elevate the WPT Tournament of Champions, creating an extraordinary season-ending event to celebrate the members of the WPT Champions Club and the rich legacy of the World Poker Tour," said WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska. "With a significant overlay of cash and prizes the WPT has immediately increased the value of being a WPT Champions Club member, and we will crown two more winners prior to the WPT Tournament of Champions during the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown festival." In addition to banking the largest slice of the prize pool, the winner of the inaugural Tournament of Champions takes home a selection of prizes including a pair of gold Monster 24K headphones, a custom premium poker table, an Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard and a timepiece crafted by luxury watchmaker Hublot. Furthermore, the first place finisher wins a seat at golf legend Tiger Woods’ exclusive Poker Night tournament, and a round of golf at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas with WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. The WPT has also decided to introduce a shot clock at the TOC. Players will have 30 seconds to act and receive five 30-second time extensions which can be used before the final table. At the final table, clocks will be reset, and players will receive an additional four, 30-second extensions. "I have always believed that being a member of the WPT Champions Club is an incredible honor," said Savage. "The World Poker Tour has added a lot of cash and great prizes to the rake-free WPT Tournament of Champions, and there is even more to come. I have to admit that I am extremely jealous not to be an eligible member of the WPT Champions Club." Champions Club members will have one opportunity to satellite their way into the big event in a $1,550 buy-in Super Satellite at noon on April 21.
  3. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour Season XV broadcasts begin Sunday on Fox Sports (WPT Photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Fret not poker fans. New episodes of the World Poker Tour are coming to Fox Sports Regional soon. Really soon actually. Beginning this Sunday, March 12, Fox Sports Regional will begin airing 27 episodes from Season XV of the World Poker Tour. This marks the beginning of a five-year extension that WPT signed with Fox Sports in late 2016. “Thanks to our award-winning production team, the World Poker Tour continues to raise the bar as the premier name in internationally televised gaming and entertainment," said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. "Season XV of the World Poker Tour promises some truly legendary moments, including the first-ever King of the Club series and the second edition of the prestigious WPT Tournament of Champions.” The action kicks off with the first episode of the WPT Choctaw final table. A total of nine events will hit the airwaves this season. Along with Choctaw, viewers will see the final tables from the Legends of Poker, Borgata Poker Open, bestbet Bounty Scramble, WPT Montreal, Five Diamond World Poker Classic, LA Poker Classic, Bay 101 Shooting Star and the debut of the Tournament of Champions. As well as the Season XV episodes, the ClubWPT.com 'King of the Club' series will make its TV debut. The two 'King of Club' episodes feature six different ClubWPT.com qualifiers playing for a piece of the $37,500 in prize money. All of the familiar faces from previous WPT seasons will be back. Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who have been in the broadcast booth since the beginning, are both back calling the action together in all but one episode. Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst fills in for Sexton for one event - but we won't spoil why.Lynn Gilmartin is also back as WPT anchor this season. Episodes air each Sunday at 8/11 PM local time with repeats throughout the week
  4. [caption width="640"] Ryan Franklin added a Sunday Major title to his impressive resume (WPT photo)[/caption] Longtime online poker tournament specialist Ryan 'HITTHEPANDA' Franklin took down the PokerStars Sunday Million for a cash prize of $159,701 with fellow veteran Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov of Russia finishing second for $112,069 and #400-ranked 'vip25459' placing third for $78,646. 'Alexey5758' was awarded $55,192 in fourth place while 'fatboi' of the United Kingdom walked away with $38,732 in fifth place. There was a heads-up final table chop in the Stars Sunday High Roller as 'fish2013' took home $59,662 for the win and 'WATnlos' earned $53,566 in the runner-up position. Belgium's Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson (ranked #92 worldwide) placed third for $37,322 in that event. The Sunday Warm-Up was won by 'anti-VGKC' who received a cash payment of $42,180 upon reaching a two-way deal. Peru's Diego Ventura (ranked #68 worldwide) captured an outright victory in the Sunday 500 for $37,333 and Brazilian Dennys 'dennysramos2' Ramos looked to move back into the Top 100 with a win in the Sunday Supersonic for $30,263. Online poker tournament specialist 'Chelsea72' came out on top in the $2,600 buy-in Super High Roller on Partypoker, cashing in for $46,857 while 'NoSaalt' finished second in that event for $34,634. The $530 buy-in High Roller was won by 'SentimenTODO23' who was awarded $31,848 with the runner-up 'josef_shvejk' of the Russia (ranked #9 worldwide) taking home $31,720 following a two-way negotiation. The $320 buy-in Baby Whale tournament on 888poker was won by 'Eat1ngAndWIN' for a cash prize of $21,500. 'RakDoll' was the winner in the Mega Deep event and collected $19,114. PokerStars Sunday Million $200 + $15 NLHE 5,914 entrants $1,182,800 paid out to 1,052 spots Ryan 'HITTHEPANDA' Franklin - $159,701.07 Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov - $112,068.64 vip25459 - $78,646.26 Alexey5758 - $55,191.57 flong78 - $38,731.85 (fatboi) s0nny_bLacCk - $27,180.86 AchoBogdanov - $19,074.77 BongadasVN - $13,386.22 (RomeuRato) cojones2010 - $9,394.15 PokerStars Sunday High Roller $2,000 + $100 NLHE 155 entrants $310,000 paid out to 20 spots fish2013 - $59,662.21 WATnlos - $53,566.43 *2-way deal Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson - $37,322.48 raidalot - $28,444.32 Apotheosis - $21,678.08 enigma2018 - $16,521.38 flong78 - $12,591.33 (fatboi) iamivar - $9,596.14 gorodski - $7,313.45 PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up $200 + $15 NLHE 1,479 entrants $295,800 paid out to 251 spots anti-VGKC - $42,180.32 Vanad3784 - $35,434.86 *2-way deal Futti18 - $23,341.48 Dominic 'BounatirouIMO' Nitsche - $16,782.74 PataNegraXD - $12,066.92 Maui2waui - $8,676.22 Gustavo '22ehnutzz' Mastelotto - $6,238.27 w3c.RaY - $4,485.36 WATnlos - $3,225.01 PokerStars Sunday 500 $500 + $30 NLHE 412 entrants $206,000 paid out to 55 spots Diego Ventura - $37,333.38 Zluka2010 - $27,441.19 joselo29 - $20,170.24 shushko19 - $14,825.82 AppelKruimel - $10,897.50 Jon 'apestyles' Van Fleet - $8,010.04 Flat - $5,887.64 pappadogg - $4,327.62 zÿax - $3,180.96 (OMGpou) PokerStars Omania High Roller $500 + $30 PLO Six Max 208 entrants $94,500 paid out to 23 spots Fresh_oO_D - $17,020.91 chico134 - $13,586.03 sadface11 - $10,844.40 Riphraph94 - $8,656.02 C Darwin2 - $6,909.25 anonymstruts - $5,514.98 PokerStars Sunday Supersonic $200 + $15 NLHE Six Max Hyper Turbo 895 entrants $183,260 paid out to 101 spots Dennys 'dennysramos2' Ramos - $30,263.33 isistar185 - $21,540.22 Steve 'Mr. Tim Caum' O'Dwyer - $15,331.76 --KarlsenA-- - $10,912.74 (andersfk) BobbyW519 - $7,767.41 masatotan - $5,528.63 partypoker Super High Roller $2,500 + $100 77 entrants $192,500 paid out to 13 spots Chelsea72 - $46,857 NoSaalt - $34,634 TheTryangle - $25,599 JeanClaude1970 - $18,922 WelshWizard - $13,986 (the beej) Patrick 'pleno1' Leonard - $10,337 mwhldwn - $7,641 ACHSO8000 - $6,607 partypoker High Roller $500 + $30 372 entrants $200,000 paid out to 63 spots SentimenTODO23 - $31,848 josef_shvejk - $31,720 *2-way deal PhileasFogg - $19,244 (hellohellohello) jaimelaviande - $13,965 Chelsea72 - $10,135 McDlsiLDrOoN - $7,355 Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov - $5,337 Batdog666 - $3,873 888poker Baby Whale $300 + $20 NLHE 210 entrants $100,000 paid out to 27 spots Eat1ngAndWIN - $21,500 trino11 - $15,500 AsaNisse4 - $11,750 tigerhooods62 - $8,750 888tonkaaaa - $6,000 nelisschuif - $5,000 TylerRM - $4,000 88TIGER889 - $3,000 888poker MEGA DEEP $200 + $15 NLHE 389 entrants $100,600 paid out to 56 spots RakDoll - $19,114 TrollKnost8 - $14,084 IceStream - $10,563 koenigskebap - $7,545 CraiEvryTime - $5,030 Imyurfriend - $3,521 GramNaKartke - $2,515 (ksieciunio) ckb4714 - $2,012
  5. Earlier this summer Adam Pliska’s phone rang. On the other end of the call was an executive recruiter. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. They call every now and then. This wasn’t just some cold call gauging the 45-year-old’s interest in looking for another job though - they had a legitimate offer and were hoping to convince the World Poker Tour President and CEO to take his talents elsewhere. Pliska politely listened to the caller’s pitch and then even more politely told him he wasn’t interested. THE ORIGIN OF IT ALL Orange, California is about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles and has just about 140,000 people who call it home. Adam Pliska grew up in Orange, the son of a sheriff and a homemaker, and it’s where the foundations for the rest of Pliska’s life come from. He has two sisters, 10 and 11 years older than him, and by the time Pliska was eight years old, they were out of the house. Family friends probably expected the youngest Pliska to grow up and take on a law enforcement career. Not only was his father a sheriff, but his grandfather was the Captain of the Newport Police Department and his great-grandmother was the first policewoman in Orange County. The first time somebody asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Pliska said he wanted to be a priest - for rich people. “I was six, and I said, ‘because I believe rich people have problems that other people don’t know that they have’,” said Pliska. Barely into high school, Pliska inherited a ‘56 Chevy after his uncle passed away. It was going to need gas and insurance. His parents made it clear they weren’t going to be the ones paying for that. “So, I do what all kids do. I go out and get a job. I literally got turned down at Subway. I got turned down at a place called Spires (a family restaurant),” said Pliska. “I decided, ‘Okay, I better start my own business’. I started printing t-shirts for the sports teams.” Adam Pliska the brand-building entrepreneur was born. [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596123-adam-pliska-final-table.jpg]Pliska has been with the World Poker Tour since 2003.[/figcaption] THE VISION When the World Poker Tour launched, one of the company’s first full-time employees was a Berkley Law School graduate named Adam Pliska. He served as General Counsel, working closely with founder Stephen Lipscomb to help the company navigate its first few years of existence. The mentality of the company at that time, when poker was booming and money from online poker sites was keeping everybody flush, was very different from the one that exists today. That change was largely driven by the lessons Pliska learned along the way. “When I started as (general counsel) of the World Poker Tour, I was 30 years old or something like that. You get caught up in ‘this is how you make money and you do this and money flows’. It’s over time that you start to care about people and the brand. I care about this brand,” said Pliska. “You have to think about the long term. So, I spend a lot of time looking at that model and persuading people that over the long term this is what you get; the result is the brand.” Pliska has quite literally seen it all with the WPT, and he vividly remembers a time when the company wasn’t viewed so favorably by the players. Over the last eight years, and through a pair of ownership changes, he’s worked hard to make sure that the paying customers - the players themselves - feel like the WPT is listening to them and that they ultimately get something out of their experience, whether they’re playing every event on the schedule or just one. “You’ve got to remember, there are 50,000 people coming to World Poker Tour events. How many of them are not cashing? A lot of people. More than 60% of the people that play in the tournament has never played in a (WPT) main tour tournament. That’s an amazing thing,” said Pliska. “But that’s the whole story of the World Poker Tour. If you just want to go to a big event, go to the World Series Main Event … but there are other things that are important, and that’s what the World Poker Tour stands for - your personal growth in poker. We just want to capture and put it in ways where people walk away and feel like it’s important to them.” Pliska has overseen international expansion of the tour, including recent WPT events in India, China and Japan, the acquisition and rebranding of the DeepStacks Poker Tour as well as a new TV deal with Fox Sports. Not everything the WPT touched has turned to gold though. In 2010 the WPT introduced the Royal Flush Girls as part of broadcasts and in 2013 they announced the creation of Alpha8, a series of tournaments with buy-ins of $100,000 or larger and in. Alpha8 struggled to find any traction while the Royal Flush Girls concept has been subject to criticism from players and media alike. In both cases, Pliska says he learned more about what the WPT is, and where it needs to be in the modern poker landscape. “There were successes and there were elements of mistakes. The mistakes were that we didn’t put enough time thinking about our wrangling abilities. We had 50 at one event and we had six in another,” Pliska said of Alpha8. “We’re not great high roller wranglers. Our specialty is to create places where people came at any time in their journey and make sure they feel comfortable and have a good experience.” While Alpha8 quietly went away after filming just one episode in what would have been its third season, the Royal Flush Girls concept is still part of the WPT, but it has undergone a transition since the press release announcing the creation of the RFG described them as “sexy, fun and approachable”. The group is now known as the Royal Flush Crew and includes a male member, Brenden Johnson. And rather than serving as eye candy, the crew is being integrated into broadcasts and live events in a much different way. “The thought process at the time was we should be more like sports and sports have cheerleaders and those kinds of things, but yes, I have really positioned that differently over time,” said Pliska. The current plan calls for the Crew to bring value to the broadcasts and live events that all players can take advantage of. “What do (the Royal Flush Crew) you do besides be a face that people go, ‘Oh, I can go up to you and take pictures?’. We all have to ask ourselves, what are we giving? The players are giving us their time - what are we giving back?” said Pliska, who expects the Crew members to have an area of expertise that they can share with players. “So now we’re looking for people who can bring something. Maybe you can do yoga. Maybe you can do some workout. It doesn’t have to be physical.” Pliska points to planned TV segments on getting in shape, healthy eating and even mental health, all hosted by members of the Royal Flush Crew who carry a passion for the subject matter as well as opportunities for players to attend events during WPT tournaments geared around the same concepts. He likens the redevelopment of the Royal Flush Crew concept to other elements of the WPT. “Raw Deal wasn’t exactly what it was before. The anchor position started off in one way and evolved a little bit over time,” said Pliska. “I actually see this really taking a future and really representing the family element in a way I’m really happy about.” [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596122-adam-pliska-wpt-standing.jpg]Pliska has overseen two ownership changes and an evolution of the TV product since taking over as President and CEO in 2009.[/figcaption] THE MENTOR While in high school, Pliska had a small part in Teahouse of the August Moon. That piqued his interest in production, so he signed up for a stage production course at a local community college. As that course was wrapping up, he agreed to be an usher in their stage production tribute to Lassie. A number of Hollywood heavyweights came to the show. Dee Wallace Stone, who was starring in E.T. at the time, got a little lost so Pliska helped her out. “I walked her into the green room and I saw this guy, Al Burton,” said Pliska, who was impressed by the way everybody in the room reacted to Burton, a TV show producer. “He was such a likable person and all of these people liked him and they got along well. He treated them with respect. They enjoyed being there. It wasn’t about egos. I remember thinking, ‘I wish I could be a part of this’.” A security guard told Pliska he had to leave. Thinking quickly on his feet, Pliska told Burton, who was the producer of TV shows Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, that he was with the school newspaper and asked for an interview. Burton agreed and told Pliska to come to his office later in the week. There was a problem, though. Pliska wasn’t actually with the school newspaper. “I remember the day I went there. Leonard DiCaprio was there, he was on Lassie at the time. Scott Baio had been in and I was so nervous, (Burton) said ‘What can I do for you?’,” remembered Pliska, who told Burton he had just three questions for him. Burton was one step ahead already though and Pliska remembers the next few minutes vividly “You know what? I”m going to take a guess, and I don’t want to offend you, my guess is that you’re not necessarily associated with the school newspaper, you just wanted to get in my office and you wanted to make a connection and if that’s true, tell me,” Burton said. Pliska copped to it and told Burton he just wanted to get his foot in the door somehow. The ploy worked and Pliska started working with Burton right around the time he began producing Charles in Charge. Burton eventually became a mentor to Pliska. “He gave me so much of my foundations of the business world, because my father was a civil servant, so I really had no context,” said Pliska. “Al Burton used to have this expression, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll exploit you for your own good’. And he did. I got paid very little money, but I learned so much." Along with learning about business, being mentored by Burton also introduced Pliska to futurist Alvin Toffler and eventually to doing business with one of the world’s richest people, Carlos Slim. Now that he’s in a position to do so, Pliska works as a mentor to multiple people. “To me, mentoring is so important because it absolutely has a chance to not just change one person, but an entire family. It completely changes trajectory (and) allows people to think,” said Pliska. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP Considering his tenure with the company and his position at the very top of the corporate ladder, it’s surprising to realize that in this era of tireless self-promotion, Pliska isn’t the face of the company. That’s by design. Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst, Vince van Patten and Lynn Gilmartin have all held visible positions in the broadcasts. Matt Savage has been out front within the poker industry as the person players can talk to about operational issues. Being in the position he’s in now allows Pliska to drive the vision while allowing his staff to execute. “Steve Lipscomb and I are still incredibly close friends. We talk about this all the time, that one day, no one will know who you are,” said Pliska. “But this brand will mean a lot to people for a long time because it touched so many people. So Adam Pliska doesn’t need to have that brand, but feeling like you made an impact and you helped shape a culture, that’s incredible.” Being the CEO of a poker company and not being a poker player - now or ever - isn’t the only way in which Pliska is a walking contradiction. The SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills has a cocktail named for him, but he doesn’t drink. To be fair, he did drink when chef José Andrés created it, but a milestone birthday and a chance encounter with a poker player at a WPT event changed all of that. “At 40, I got this point where I said my motto, which is ‘life is edited’. You want a good script? Edit it. You want a good story? Edit it. If you want good friends, edit that too,” said Pliska. “I took my own advice. I was 40 and I said, ‘You know what? You’ve got to live a healthier life and I did. I just cut (alcohol) out. I started to exercise, started to try to maintain my energy level and I think it helped.” Eight months before his 40th birthday, young poker pro Thuy Doan walked up to Pliska at the Legends of Poker and asked for some advice. “She came up to me and said, ‘I’m starting to get some attention. Would you mind helping me with some media stuff and how to present myself?’,” said Pliska. “I said, “Okay, why don’t you come to Borgata?” Doan went to Borgata and while there slipped and ended up in hospital. Pliska met her there and was bedside with her when the doctor told her the fall wasn’t random, the cancer she thought she had beaten had returned. And it was aggressive. “I’m sitting there with this 20-something-year-old girl, her step-father is driving seven hours from Virginia. It was one of the most impactful things of my life,” recalled Pliska. “I became friends with the family. I ended up staying at their home several times. On my birthday, she asked me to come in. She knew I’m a history buff, so she checked herself out of the hospital. They took me to Monticello. That was the last time she went out. It was my best birthday ever.” Doan passed away in September 2011 and her death had an immediate impact on Pliska. “I did a lot of reflection after she passed away and I looked at the things that were extraneous and I decided to cut it out,” said Pliska. “You know what? It is the greatest thing. It just makes you clear on what it is that you love. So I attribute a big part of that to a lot of lifestyle changes for me.” [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596121-adam-pliska-wpt-family.jpg]Pliska often refers to the WPT employees under his charge as the "WPT family" and uses that as a guiding principle in running the business.[/figcaption] THE FAMILY Growing up in Orange, California, working in Hollywood for a powerhouse producer, traveling the world while running the WPT and a life-changing friendship with a poker pro have all helped Pliska frame how he runs the company. “I think to me, the family approach is the only way I know how to run a company,” said Pliska. “That means you’ve got to be honest with each other and when you’re falling, you’ve got to be able to go, ‘Hey, I gotta talk to you’. We do that with each other.” It’s not the lovey-dovey approach that it might sound like. For Pliska, it helps build a sense of personal responsibility and accountability within the walls of the WPT offices. It also allows those entrusted with doing right by the business, to make a mistake once in awhile and know it’s not going be the end of the world. “You have to put an element that’s in real families. You’ve got to make people feel like if you screw up, if you make a mistake, you’re still here. Because of that, we can really get people to be at their very best,” said Pliska. The phone calls from recruiters are going to continue, especially as the business he runs now continues to grow, but they’re likely wasting their time. Pliska seems intent on continuing to serve as the leader of the WPT family and hopes that, more than anything, becomes his legacy. “If I go back 14 years or so, and I look back and what’s the most important thing, if someone says what did you do with your career? I hope somebody will say I showed that you could be serious about business and respect your colleagues that work there.” Photography courtesy of the World Poker Tour, Joe Giron and Patrick Ecclesine.
  6. [caption width="640"] Phil Hellmuth joins the WPT broadcast team as the new host of the WPT Raw Deal. (WPT photo)[/caption] Tony Dunst made the move from hosting the World Poker Tour's Raw Deal segment to the commentary booth for Season XVI of the WPT, leaving a large void to be filled. In grand fashion, none other than Phil Hellmuth is joining the WPT team as the new Raw Deal analyst. The move comes as the WPT season heads to Los Angeles for the Legends of Poker event at the end of August. Similar to Dunst, Hellmuth’s role will be to provide insight and analysis on hands that play out over the course of the WPT television broadcast on Fox Sports. Previous to the World Poker Tour, Hellmuth served in a comparable role on ESPN’s World Series of Poker episodes when he gave commentary during his segments of “White Magic.” Given his experience both as a player and commentator, Hellmuth is a natural fit for the Raw Deal and the WPT looks forward to having him on the broadcasts. World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska voiced his pleasure in welcoming Hellmuth to the team. “It is the World Poker Tour’s great pleasure to welcome Phil Hellmuth as our new WPT Raw Deal analyst. It takes a unique ability to be the WPT Raw Deal analyst, and the World Poker Tour is confident that it has found the perfect successor to Tony Dunst in Phil Hellmuth. Phil’s insightful poker analysis comes with the right amount of edginess, and his poker résumé speaks for itself, exemplifying all the WPT looks for in its Raw Deal analyst.” Known for voicing his full opinion at the table and as a member of commentary team, Hellmuth looks forward to bringing that same energy to the WPT. “I am honored to join the World Poker Tour as the new WPT Raw Deal analyst. Becoming a part of the World Poker Tour family has been a career dream of mine, and I’d like to thank Adam Pliska for providing me this exciting opportunity. Backed by my decades of poker experience, I look forward to offering no-holds-barred commentary and analysis as host of the WPT Raw Deal.” Hellmuth’s first appearance will be for the WPT Choctaw tournament, which concluded play on August 8.
  7. The World Poker Tour announced the core of their Season XVIII Main Tour schedule this week. The lineup includes 13 events in the United States plus another four international events as a part of their continued partnership with partypoker LIVE. The WPT has also scheduled the first five final tables that will travel to Las Vegas and be played tat the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor to be taped for broadcast on FOX Sports Regional Networks. “As the World Poker Tour nears the end of a record-breaking Season XVII, the WPT is proud to present our players and fans exciting events to look forward to in Season XVII, inclined the return to HyperX Esports Arena for TV final tables,” said CEO of the World Poker Tour, Adam Pliska. “Season XVII was ground-breaking of the World Poker Tour. With WPT events held for the first time in Russia, Vietnam and New Zealand, we continued across the globe,” Pliska said. “The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic drew record-setting fields. Erkut Yilmaz won two WPT titles on his way to winning the Hublot WPT Player of the Year award. As always, the best is yet to come, and we are thrilled to begin preparing for another season of premier global poker events.” With so much success on the World Poker Tour last season, it should be no surprise that fourteen of the seventeen announced events will be returns to stops the WPT made in 2018-2019. During the first half of the tour, in 2019, seven of the nine events will be the same as in Season XVII. The changes come in the form of a return to the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles for the $5,000 buy-in WPT Legends of Poker. A longtime staple on the schedule, the Legends of Poker took a year off from the Main Tour and will now be back in late August. WPT UK from the Dusk Till Dawn Casino is also back in the first half of Season XVIII, making its first appearance on the Main Tour since Season XV. Cornerstone stops such as WPT Borgata Poker Open, WPT Seminole Rock & Roll Poker Open and, of course, the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic are all back as well. DATES EVENT BUY-IN 7/20-7/25 WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 8/31- 9/4 WPT Legends of Poker $5,000 9/15-9/20 WPT Borgata Poker Open $3,500 9/28-10/2 WPT Maryland at Live! Casino $3,500 9/30-10/6 WPT UK at Dusk Till Dawn £3,300 10/11-10/15 WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble $5,000 10/28-11/3 WPT Montreal $3,300 CAD 11/29-12/4 WPT Seminole Rock & Roll Poker Open $3,500 12/16-12/20 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,000 Like the first half of the schedule, the tournaments announced for 2020 strongly resemble the schedule for the previous season. The only major difference will be a stop at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic for WPT Germany. The California Swing is still intact with back-to-back stops at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles for the LAPC and a trip up north to Thunder Valley Casino Resort for WPT Rolling Thunder. While there is no mention yet of a possible return of San Jose's Bay 101 Shooting Stars, there is a significant gap in time between stops in early March and late April where it may fit. DATES EVENT BUY-IN 1/11-1/15 WPT Gardens Poker Championship* $10,000 1/16-1/30 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open* $3,500 2/17-2/23 WPT Germany €3,300 2/29-3/4 WPT L.A. Poker Classic* $10,000 3/7-3/10 WPT Rolling Thunder $5,000 4/30-5/5 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown* $3,500 5/15-5/18 WPT Choctaw* $3,700 * final table to be played at HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas Additional Main Tour stops are expected to be announced at a later date.
  8. ClubWPT, the sweepstakes-based online poker membership club of the World Poker Tour, is upping its game for 2020. If a ClubWPT VIP member qualifies for a WPT Main Tour event and then goes on to win that WPT Main Tour event that they qualified, the qualifier will win an additional $1,000,000. The ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus comes in addition to any money won from the event itself. "Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of players have honed their skills on ClubWPT, and we’re proud to kick off a new decade with the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus," Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, said. "With millions of dollars at stake in every WPT event, and now a $1,000,000 bonus on the line, ClubWPT is clearly the most rewarding way for players to qualify for a seat on the World Poker Tour." The WPT Gardens Poker Championship is the first event eligible for the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus. Scheduled to start Thursday, January 9, 2020, this event takes place at the Gardens Casino in Southern California and features a $10,000 buy-in. It is the first televised WPT event of Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour, with the TV final table to play out on Tuesday, March 31, at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. Additional events with eligibility for the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus are the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, and WPT Choctaw. A full list of qualifying events will be available soon. In recent seasons of the World Poker Tour, Bruce Collado is the ClubWPT VIP member to run the deepest in a WPT Main Tour event that he qualified for on ClubWPT.com. Collado won his way to the Season XVII WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship and finished in 56th place from the 1,075 entries. Running deep in a big-field event wasn’t something that Collado was new to, as he beat a field of 2,400 entries to win his way to the Borgata event. Collado turned his qualifying ticket into $11,123 for his 56th-place result. The season before, ClubWPT qualifier James McLaughlin also won his way to the WPT Borgata Poker Open. In a field of 1,132 entries, McLaughlin finished in 100th place for $6,993. During his run, McLaughlin got to play with Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy, winner of the first-ever PocketFives Legacy Award. McLaughlin’s in-the-money finish broke a dry streak for ClubWPT qualifiers. Before him, Ernest Evans was the last ClubWPT qualifier to cash in a WPT Main Tour event when he took 62nd from a field 1,476 entries in the Season XIII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $12,000. What Is ClubWPT? ClubWPT is the official subscription online poker game of the World Poker Tour. VIP users pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access to full episodes from every past season of the WPT television show, plus magazine subscriptions, and coupons. Plus, ClubWPT VIP members can play poker to win a share of $100,000 in cash and prizes each month, including seats to World Poker Tour events. It is the seats to those WPT events that can turn into a seven-figure bonus for ClubWPT VIP members. ClubWPT is online poker that operates under sweepstakes rules where allowed. Included in the 36 eligible territories is Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The full list is available on ClubWPT.com. According to ClubWPT.com, starting Wednesday, January 15, 2020, ClubWPT’s VIP membership costs $27.95 monthly, $74.95 quarterly, and $264.95 annually.
  9. The World Poker Tour and partypoker have tabled their hand with their summer plans. On Friday, the two premier poker brands announced the first-ever WPT World Online Championships, a nearly two-month-long online series that offers players a shot at becoming a WPT champion while guaranteeing $100,000,000 million in total prize money. Just weeks removed from the successful conclusion of the record-setting WPT Online Championship series, the World Poker Tour and partypoker have teamed up once again. The WPT World Online Championships will take place from July 17-September 8 and hold 12 WPT Online Championship events. Five of the 12 events will be considered full-featured WPT Main Tour Events. The winners of those tournaments will earn all the same perks as a player who has gone the distance in a live event. This includes membership in the WPT Champions Club, a $15,000 seat to the Season XVIII WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, and the player's name engraved on the WPT Trophy. The $10M Gtd Main Event, which kicks off on August 29, has a $10,300 buy-in and two starting flights, each with a single re-entry available. The tournament will take five days to play out and, as the tournament progresses, has a structure close to that of a live event with levels at the final table extended to 60 minutes each. The other four WPT Champions Club tournaments each have a $3,200 buy-in and a $3 million guarantee over a variety of NLHE formats. “The WPT World Online Championships brings together the World Poker Tour and partypoker together once more for what will be the largest series in both of our histories,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour in a press release. “The spectacle on display during the WPT Online Series will be heightened once more come July with another major milestone for the World Poker Tour. Five WPT Champions crowned in a single series is a first for the WPT in 18 seasons and we look forward to welcoming them all into the WPT Champions Club.” The full schedule is packed with No-Limit Hold’em events including 8-Max, 6-Max, and Knockout tournaments. For variety, there is also a Pot Limit Omaha, PLO Hi-Lo, as well as Heads Up tournament. Most of the events also have three tiers of buy-ins. For each of the Main Events, there is a Mini and a Micro version of the events. In addition to the Main Event, there are a pair of tournaments aimed at pleasing the biggest names in the game. The $25,500 High Roller on September 5 guarantees $10 million while the $102,000 Super High Roller has a $5 million guarantee. Also of note, on July 29, the WPT is holding a one-off WPT Shooting Stars for Charity PKO tournament with a $1,100. “This is a true series for players across the board,” said Hermance Blum, WPT VP Europe. “Limited re-entries, buy-ins at all levels, and five ways to become a WPT Champion are all highlights of the first-ever WPT World Online Championships.” With no live World Series of Poker taking place in Las Vegas this summer, the race to fill the void with online offerings is on. The WPT World Online Championships will go head-to-head with the recently announced World Series of Poker online schedule which kicks off on July 1. Like the WPT, the World Series of Poker was forced to adjust to the times. They pivoted to offer 31 gold bracelet events for players in the United States on the WSOP.com platform and another 54 bracelet events on through their partnership with GGPoker which concludes on September 6. Between the two series, there will be no shortage of online titles to battle for this summer and the industry is still awaiting a potential announcement from PokerStars as to what they may have planned. “I’m delighted that we have been able to partner with the WPT to revive the WPT World Championships and bring the series online for the first time,” said partypoker Managing Director, Tom Waters. “We want to give the festival more of a live event feel, so the tournaments will be structured as such, including single re-entry for all No Limit Hold’em event, freezeouts, limited late registration, and limited Day 1’s. Due to popular demand, players will be able to see each other’s real names at the tables.” WPT World Online Championships Schedule [table id=55 /] * bold events indicate Main Tour events. For a Full Festival schedule of events, click here.
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