The World Poker Tour has announced that ALL televised Season XVII Main Event final tables will switch to the Las Vegas Esports Arena in Las Vegas, and publishes the 2018 Season XVII schedule.
I have a spasm an inch to the left of the top half of my spine. The crushed beermat beneath one of the four table legs keeps moving, and each time it does, the water in my glass shakes as if a Tyrannosaurus Rex approaches from the East.
Now my calf is spasming.
I blame the World Poker Tour (WPT).
How many of you have fallen in love with a star of the silver screen, and have gone to bed, hand on it, dreaming of waking up to the sound of roosters in the morning, cold toes tiptoeing up warm calves.
Well, that happened to me one day in Venice.
I turned up at the Casino di Venezia for my first day on the job as a WPT contractor. I remember asking where the other writers were. There was none. Me. Alone. Nobody else.
Let’s get to it.
And for many years, I walked, and I stood, and I wrote, and I photographed, and I wrote some more, and I complained, and I travelled, and I wrote some more.
And now I am paying for it.
And it’s not only me.
The WPT is a juggernaut of a company. To witness the full splendour of the TV and live streaming crew turning a casino broom cupboard into a TV set is a sight to behold.
Men and women lug and chug interspersed with the occasional hug.
It’s hard work.
It’s also hard on the bottom line.
Take the WPT trophy for example. The WPT needed two. One for North America, and one for Europe. It’s the only time I have ever taken a WPT title home. I volunteered to do so to reduce costs on my way to Dublin.
It costs a small fortune to move a trophy or two around the world, not to mention the rest of the equipment the poker community take for granted as they turn on their computer and BOOM there is a final table sitting in a tab alongside Netflix and YouPorn.
The kettle goes on.
The steam rises.
Feet go up.
Buttons get sewn into blazers.
The WPT Outline The Final ‘Table’ Solution
Adam Pliska, Lord of the WPT Manor, told PokerNews that once he saw the Las Vegas ESports Arena, he knew it could be a ‘great opportunity’ for the brand.
For once, I don’t believe him.
The WPT has announced that with immediate effect all televised WPT Main Events will switch to the purpose-built esports stadia in MGM’s Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip.
It must have been a decision made many moons ago. The new esports arena belongs to Allied Esports, the daughter of Ourgame International Holdings Inc., and the brother of the WPT.
When you spend $25 million on a toy this capable, you need to make sure you get the most use out of it. Switching the entire roster of the WPT Final Tables to the new arena will save the WPT an awful lot of money. And it’s good news for the poker industry because it signifies that the WPT will be around for another 17 seasons and counting.
The plan is to pause WPT Main Events once they reach the final table. The pause allows the WPT to create a more expansive narrative for the TV audience, in a way that Poker Central has tried to do with the Super High Roller Bowl with the release of Insiders.
What will the players think?
Last season saw the return of a televised WPT event in Europe, but it was only one. Yes, it will be a pain to fly back and fore to Las Vegas, to compete in the final table, but the WPT plans to host them all in a single week, so there will be opportunities to host cash games, side events and other promotional activities for the players.
It will be a massive change not just for the players, but for the WPT, and although people will complain, through time, it will become the norm, and everyone will forget what all the fuss was about, preferring the razzmatazz that the new arena provides.
We talk about poker as a sport.
It’s nice to see a company treating it like one.
The WPT Season XVII Schedule
Outside of that groundbreaking announcement, the WPT has released details of eight Season XVII events this side of 2018. The tour kicks off at the Garden Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California with a $5,000 buy-in Main Event. The festival takes place July 21-26.
Choctaw is next (Aug 3-7) for a $3,700 buy-in Main Event. It’s back to California Aug 18-27 for the WPT500 at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens where punters can turn $570 into a big money payday.
The Eastside gets into the action Sep 16-21 with the WPT Borgata Poker Open. WPT Maryland Live! Takes place Sep 21-25, before the focus switches to Florida for WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble (Oct 19-23) and WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open (Nov 23-28).WPT
Finally, the $10,400 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic returns to the Bellagio Dec 10-15.
How many of these will end in the new esports arena is still up for internal debate, but I’m sure you can figure it out.
Here is the link to the new schedule.