A mouth-watering prize
The World Poker Tour (WPT) Prime guaranteed a prize pool of $2m but three Day 1s have culminated in a 5,430 runner field. The $1,100 buy-in event drew an enormous crowd and generated a prize-pool of $5,267,100. There’s smashing a guarantee and then there’s obliterating one.
the Las Vegas edition has defied all expectations
The Prime Tour is WPT’s new baby, launched at the beginning of the 20th season to replace the old WPT Deepstacks. It’s mission statement is bringing the brand’s Main Tour experience to new venues and locales around the world. So far, there have been successful stops in Australia, Vietnam, Madrid, Cambodia, and Taiwan but the Las Vegas edition has defied all expectations.
With the winner likely receiving a prize of $712,650, the WPT Prime is certainly whetting the appetite for the $10,400 WPT World Poker Championship next week. A whopping $15m is promised in that one but many in the community are already predicting that it will exceed the $20m mark.
Zhang leads the way
Day 1 played to the money in the WPT Prime with 150/1,205, 233/1,868, and 294/2,357 players all reconnoitering a receptacle which will contain their Day 2 stacks. Big stacks emerged from each starting flight but leading the way is Aaron Zhang who ended Day 1C with 992,000.
Other players who gave themselves a better than average shot at glory include Alex Wong (938,000), Furkan Beg (913,000), Dan Kusnerak (887,000), Jared Jaffee (872,000), Linh Le (859,000), three-time GPI female POY Kristen Foxen (856,000), Rick Mechammil (733,000), Lars Kamphues (687,000) and poker end-boss Alex Foxen (670,000).
WPT champions Dylan Linde (151,000) and Nick Schulman (121,000) are also in the running
Other big names still in the mix are WSOP Main Event champions Scott Blumstein (363,000), Scotty Nguyen (126,000), and Joe McKeehan (90,000), November Niners Kenny Hallaert (467,000), Joe Cheong (290,000), and Cliff Josephy (275,000), bracelet winners Kathy Liebert (355,000), Benny Glaser (270,000), David Pham (128,000), Chris Brammer (169,000), Brian Hastings (118,000) and Michael Wang (93,000. Former WPT champions Dylan Linde (151,000) and Nick Schulman (121,000) are also in the running.
The verdict is in
Players have taken to social media to congratulate the WPT on what is already a record-breaking festival:
It’s always nice to be chainsaw-approved. Joe Cheong likes it so much, he wants more:
Ryan Laplante was also lavish in his praise:
In terms of likely numbers for the WPT World Poker Championship, this exchange between Laplante, WPT commentator Tony Dunst, and Brian Hastings was noteworthy:
Day 2 of the WPT Prime Championship begins Sunday at midday local time. The final day is set for December 19 with the final table both livestreamed and filmed for television. WPT Prime events are also eligible for the WPT Player of the Year Leaderboard, which will award $30,000 in prizes at the end of Season 20.