2023 WPT World Championship to Guarantee Other-Worldly $40m Prize Pool

  • The WPT World Championship will be at Wynn Las Vegas December 12-21
  • The entire festival runs November 29-December 23, with over 30 events
  • Nearly 3,000 entries generated a prize pool of $29m last year
  • Live poker has been booming since the pandemic shutdowns
WPT World Championship dealer button
The 2023 WPT World Championship’s $40m guaranteed prize pool dwarfs last year’s record-setting $15m guarantee. [Image: Flickr.com / WPT]

Largest live tournament guarantee ever

The term “all-in” tends to be overused nowadays, particularly in the world of sports, but the World Poker Tour really did seem to go all-in last year with its bold revival of the WPT World Championship. On Thursday, the Tour announced that it is attempting to outdo itself this year, offering a $40m guaranteed prize pool for the 2023 WPT World Championship, the largest live tournament guarantee in poker history.

millions more dollars in guarantees

The $10,400 WPT World Championship will run December 12-21 at Wynn Las Vegas, with four starting flights and a televised final table. The full festival schedule spans November 29 – December 23 and covers over 30 events. There are millions more dollars in guarantees, including $5m for the WPT Prime Championship, $2m for the Mystery Bounty Event, and $1m, $2m, and $3m for different No-Limit Hold’em tournaments.

The biggest buy-in tournaments are the $27,500 High Roller, the $50,000 Alpha8, and the $1m Big One for One Drop, in which 6% of the buy-in will go to the One Drop Foundation to help provide access to safe water to people around the world.

Last year’s bold move was a success

The WPT World Championship used to be one of the most prestigious live poker tournaments of the year and with a $25,000 buy-in (later $15,000), one of the most expensive. It was the culmination of the World Poker Tour season, but in 2016, it was erased from the calendar, replaced with the WPT Tournament of Champions.

Tournament organizers were confident, but it was risky.

As live poker emerged from the pandemic shutdowns, the World Poker Tour decided to not only revive the WPT World Championship, but go all the way with it, guaranteeing a $15m prize pool last year for the $10,400 event. Tournament organizers were confident, but it was risky.

Any fears of an overlay were quickly put to rest, as the 2022 WPT World Championship was a resounding success, drawing 2,960 entries and generating a prize pool of more than $29m. Eliot Hudon won the tournament, earning $4,136,000.

2023 WSOP shattered records

If there was anything positive to come out of the pandemic and the lost year for live poker, it is that poker players realized how much they missed the in-person game, leading to a new live poker boom. Tournaments around the world have seen record after record broken, the 2022 WPT World Championship serving as one of the highlights.

The headliner for live tournament records post-shutdowns was this year’s World Series of Poker. The 2022 WSOP Main Event fielded 8,663 entries, coming a hair away from breaking the 2006 record. It was widely assumed that the 2023 version would finally be the one to eclipse the record and it did…easily.

Daniel Weinman had the honor of becoming the champion of the largest Main Event ever

The 2023 WSOP Main Event had an astonishing 10,043 entrants and a $93.3m prize pool. Daniel Weinman had the honor of becoming the champion of the largest Main Event ever, winning $12.1m. That number was originally going to be $12m, but the WSOP reallocated $100,000 to first place (when it would have been nice to add it to ninth place to make the entire final table millionaires) so that the 2023 Main Event could also break the 2006 record for largest first prize.

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