The World Poker Tour just wrapped its longest season ever last month. Season XVIII started in the summer of 2019 but encountered many twists and turns in 2020. The pandemic postponed filmed final table action for more than a year, not to mention live tournaments around the world from March 2020 through most of that year. But vaccines and patience brought the WPT into 2021 with the ability to host a few main tour events and film those final tables at the PokerGO Studio.
With that, Season XVIII ended. And Season XIX already began.
The WPT Online Series on partypoker was the first official event of Season 19. It started on May 14 and wrapped this week.
The first live event of the World Poker Tour’s new season appeared to be set for Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma in mid-to-late July. But WPT executives had some things in the works and announced a fuller new schedule this week.
North American Tour Schedule
The WPT will waste no time in getting into action. Live stops on the new Season XIX schedule start next week in Florida, head to Las Vegas ,then to Oklahoma…all within the next two months. There are events now on the schedule through the end of December, though that wouldn’t stop the WPT from adding more as the season moves forward.
For example, there is nothing on the calendar yet to take players into Canada, notably to player-favorite Playground Poker. That property is only beginning to reopen this week, though. And provincial governments have yet to authorize live poker in most areas. It could be several months before that happens.
For now, here is the main tour schedule:
-WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa in Florida starts June 9 ($3,500 Main Event June 18-22)
-WPT Venetian in Las Vegas (NV) starts July 2 ($5K Main Event July 2-7)
-WPT Choctaw in Oklahoma starts July 15 ($3,700 Main Event June 23-27)
-WPT Bestbet Scramble in Jacksonville (FL) starts August 13 ($5K Main Event August 27-31)
-WPT Maryland at Live! Casino in Maryland starts September 15 ($3,500 Main Event Sept 24-28)
-WPT Seminole Rock ’n’ Roll Poker Open in Hollywood (FL) starts November 18 ($3,500 Main Event Nov 26-30)
-WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas (NV) starts December 2 ($10,400 Main Event Dec 15-19)
“Live poker is back at full strength on the World Poker Tour,” said WPT VP of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael. “We want to sincerely thank the players and global casino partners for their unwavering support during a challenging year and look forward to showcasing some of the best casino properties in North America.
Live WPT Main Tour events are back in North America!
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 3, 2021
Online Action Remains in Play
The actual first event on the WPT main tour in Season XIX just wrapped up on partypoker. The WPT Online Series started on May 14 and concluded this week. There were 43 events, but with several of them offering more than one buy-in level, the total number of tournaments exceeded 130.
The Main Event was, of course, the main attraction of the series, and it kicked off with two starting flights – one on May 23 and the next on May 30. The tournament required a $3,200 buy-in and guaranteed at least $3M in the prize pool.
The first starting day brought in 521 entries, and the remaining 78 players made it to Day 2. The May 30 flight delivered another 394 entries, out of which 58 players held chips to play another day. On May 31, they added a turbo flight that delivered another 150 entries and brought 22 players into the Day 2 mix. The grand totals were:
-Total entries: 1,065
-Total prize pool: $3,195,000 (surpassing $3M GTD)
-Paid players: 158
-Minimum payout: $6,476.20
When the final table began on June 2, there were nine players remaining. Daniel Dvoress was the chip leader, Christian Rudolph was in the middle of the pack, and Rainer Kempe was the shortest stack.
The short stacks departed quickly, and Dvoress dominated the action until Rudolph chipped up with Dvoress’ chips. By the time three-handed play began, Fabiano Kovalski became a contender and eventually took over the lead from Rudolph and Dvoress.
Eventually, Kovalski busted Dvoress and took more than 62M chips into heads-up play against the nearly 140M of Rudolph. The two decided on a prize money chop but played on for another $30K and the title. Kovalski doubled several times, but Rudolph stayed aggressive and took it down. The results were:
-1st place: Christian Rudolph (Austria) $487,442
-2nd place: Fabiano Kovalski (Brazil) $401,792
-3rd place: Daniel Dvoress (Canada) $249,324
-4th place: Marc Lange (Austria) $163,003
-5th place: Luciano Hollanda (Brazil) $111,782
-6th place: Yuri Dzivielevski (Brazil) $86,398
-7th place: Sebastian Henao (Mexico) $68,180
-8th place: Rainer Kempe (Austria) $54,088
-9th place: Stoyan Obreshkov (Bulgaria) $42,711
After a marathon final table performance, Christian Rudolph is our newest WPT Champion! 🏆
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 3, 2021
Pandemic lockdowns or not, it seems that WPT Online action is here to stay. The WPT and partypoker already put a provisional tournament on the schedule in the form of the WPT World Online Championships for September. The official announcement of this series is pending.
In the WPT Online that just finished on partypoker, there were two WPT500 events in the mix. One was Event 8 and played early in the series, with the other playing from May 24 through June 1. Both offered nine starting flights with one reentry per flight, both required a $530 buy-in, and each guaranteed $1M in prize money.
The results were:
-Event 8: $530 buy-in WPT500 NLHE Knockout
-Total entries: 2,054
-Total prize pool: $1,027,000 (surpassing $1M GTD)
-Total players paid: 307
-Minimum payout: $538 + bounties
-Winner: Ciao Pessagno (Brazil) $62,240.45 + $40,464.27 bounties = $102,704.72
The #WPTOS WPT500 Knockout event concluded yesterday with Caio Pessagno taking the lion share of the $1M GTD prizepool!
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) May 26, 2021
Event 24: $530 WPT500 NLHE
-Total entries: 2,088
-Total prize pool: $1,044,000 (surpassed $1M GTD)
-Total players paid: 312
-Minimum payout: $1,059.10
-Winner: David Afework (UK) $160,211
Imagine winning WPT500 by cracking aces 😅😅😅
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 1, 2021
WPT Special Event on Poker King
As the World Poker Tour spread its wings during the pandemic, it found a friend in Poker King. The relatively new online poker site caters to the Asia-Pacific market, with Chinese yuan as the currency and Chinese as the default language. Playing at PK8-dot-com, the site’s primary ambassadors are Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan.
In February 2021, Poker King hosted the WPT Spring Festival. That Main Event attracted 3,505 entries, resulting in the equivalent of a $1.5M prize pool. Sam “DannyAce66” won the tournament for approximately $270K.
The next event in conjunction with Poker King is set for June 18-22. It is a singular high roller tournament with a $25K buy-in and a 32-player field. There are no reentries. Confirmed participants thus far include Phil Ivey, Nick Schulman, Tom Dwan, Landon Tice, and Brad Owen. More names will be revealed in the days leading up to the event.
The WPT will livestream the action on its Twitch and YouTube channels, among other platforms.
— PokerKingMedia (@PokerKingMedia) June 3, 2021