WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Championship Gets Underway

  • Championship event costs $3,500 and allows unlimited re-entries
  • The 2021 Championship fielded 1,566 entries, a record for the tournament
  • The opening event of the 2021 RRPO set a Florida record with 6,196 entries
  • December’s WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas concludes the WPT season
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood FL guitar hotel
The first of two opening flights of the $3,500 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Championship is underway in Hollywood, Florida. [Image: WPT via Flickr]

Thanksgiving leftovers will have to wait

There are two factions of people in the United States the day after Thanksgiving: those who need a day to recover from the gluttony of the previous night’s feast and those who are up bright and early trying to get the best Black Friday deals. Hundreds of poker players will form a third group today, though, as they belly up to the felt at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the 2022 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (RRPO) Championship event.

The $3,500 buy-in ($3,200 buy-in plus $300 registration fee plus $100 for staff) tournament has two Day 1 flights, one on November 25 and one on November 26. The survivors from those two days will combine for Day 2 on Sunday, November 27. Days 3 and 4 are on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, with the final table running on Wednesday, November 30, live streamed on WPT.com.

The championship event allows for unlimited re-entries during each of the two starting flights until the beginning of Level 9. Day 1 flights have 60-minute levels and will end after Level 10. As the flights begin at 11am ET, that means that, when accounting for breaks, the re-entry period will end around 9pm. Players can register for Day 1B if they are eliminated in Day 1A.

2021 RRPO shattered records

Last year’s WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open was a roaring success, as poker players got their live tournament fix after not being able to in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1,566 total entries for the Championship event absolutely smashed the previous record of 988, set in 2019.

The tournament had no problem eclipsing the $2m guarantee, finishing with a prize pool of just over $5m.

With better weather in the fall and winter than Atlantic City and an increased commitment to poker, Florida, and the Seminole Hard Rock especially, has become a popular poker destination on the east coast. The RRPO Championship has seen its entry count increase steadily over the last several years.

And it wasn’t just the Championship event that set records. The very first event of the 31-tournament poker festival, $400 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em, attracted an astounding 6,196 entries, making it the largest field for a live poker tournament in Florida history. The previous record was 5,018 entries, set at the 2016 RRPO.

WPT season winding down

After the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open concludes that the end of the month, there is just one more stop for the current World Poker Tour season: the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. Beginning December 1, the festival features tournaments – or tournament flights – every day for three weeks.

the largest guarantee in live poker tournament history

The highlight is the namesake tournament, the $10,400 WPT World Championship event, set for December 12-18. The World Poker Tour and Wynn are going all out for this one, guaranteeing a $15m prize pool, the largest guarantee in live poker tournament history.

Naturally, this will be the last chance for players to make a move in the WPT Player of the Year standings. Steve Buckner is the current leader with 2,150 points, thanks to four cashes this season and two final tables. He has earned just over $1m with those cashes, though none of that was from a WPT title.

Buckner’s closest competitor is Ray Qartomy, who has 1,700 points. After him, there are several players in the 1,400-point range. The eventual Player of the Year will receive a $15,000 WPT Passport; second and third place will receive a $10,000 and $5,000 WPT Passport, respectively.