To WPT, EPT, or WSOP? That Is The Question

  • In December, the WPT World Championship, Prague EPT, and GGPoker WSOP will compete
  • WPT has a $40m guarantee, EPT a high-class location, and the WSOP a $15m Main Event
  • VegasSlotsOnline News spoke with 21 poker pros to find out where they are headed
21 poker pros
VSO News writer David Lappin spoke with 21 of his fellow poker pros to find out which competition they favor for December.

Three Choices

The poker boom is about to be tested bigly as the game’s three largest live brands go head to head, face to face, and toe to toe in a clash of the poker titans. This coming December, the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship returns to the Wynn after putting on the most beloved tournament festival in living memory. At the same time on the other side of the planet, the Prague European Poker Tour (EPT) will occupy its usual slot on the calendar. Also at the same time, the GGPoker World Series of Poker (WSOP) will take up residence in The Atlantis Hotel and Resort in The Bahamas, promising 15 bracelet events.

WPT is guaranteeing a $40m Main Event in the most plush and salubrious property on the Las Vegas strip

Poker players cannot be in two places at once, let alone three, so a tough decision will have to be made. The WPT is guaranteeing a $40m Main Event in the most plush and salubrious property on the Las Vegas strip. The EPT Prague Main Event takes place in the high-class Hilton Hotel, historically the second most popular stop on the European poker circuit, generating a prize pool of around €7m-$8m ($7.4m-$8.4m). Meanwhile, the WSOP is bringing its roadshow to The Caribbean with the promise of a $15m Main Event. 

It’s certainly an interesting decision by GGPoker and WSOP to enter into a multi-front war with this scheduling choice. Online, they will tussle for satellite liquidity with both Pokerstars who have just launched their ‘Power Path,’ and WPT Global who are aggressively ramping up their online operation. Live, they are effectively copycatting the old Pokerstars PCA whilst simultaneously in a battle for America with WPT, who will benefit from the enormous goodwill around their event last year. 

The Players Weigh in

VegasSlotsOnline News asked 21 professional poker players where they plan on going in December and why:

Isaac Haxton (Bowl-Comp Champion)

“I will definitely play the million-dollar Wynn event and skip Prague. My tentative plan, which seems to be the plan of most people who are interested in the Wynn million, is to play the early high buy-in events in the Bahamas and then leave before the Main Event to come back to play the WPT Wynn 10K. There are pretty serious guarantees on the WSOP high-rollers, so they will either be pretty good or overlay.”

Vanessa Kade (Sunday Millions Binker, People Know Who She Is)

“I wish the WSOP could have staggered their dates so it was possible to play both, but I plan on going to WPT Wynn. Vegas is just so easy to access, the city is inexpensive, last year they did a beautiful job putting on a great series in a gorgeous casino, and I don’t want to miss the largest guarantee in live poker history.”

Terrence Chan (Bracelet-Winning Limit Hold’em Player, Un-Decorated Podcaster) 

“As a dad, it’s hard to resist the allure of the Bahamas and warm weather/outdoor activities in December. So Atlantis would be the family choice. Personally, the location that interests me most is Prague, because I’ve never been, and because of the potential to see a new culture and city/country. As a poker player, I know that the WPT always puts on class events. Matt Savage and his team always do an amazing job. But Vegas is obviously somewhere I’ve been a lot, and while it feels familiar, it’s not as exciting for that reason.”

Donna Morton (Godmother of UK Poker, Antonio Esfandiari Fan Club Founder)

“I will be going to the Wynn in Las Vegas in December as all my friends from Twitter Spaces will be there! The people from WPT are kindly flying me over for a meet and greet. I’m especially looking forward to meeting Matt Savage.”

Doug Polk (Upswing Poker Owner, The Lodge Cardroom Owner, not the Mayor of Las Vegas)

It’s tough to say. If I had to sit down and think about all of my options in December, I just couldn’t pass up the Lodge Winter Main Event $500k Guaranteed. With over half a million dollars in the prize pool, come on down to The Lodge for your chance at a six-figure score this December! In all seriousness, I will most likely not play any of them but, if I do, it will be the WPT.

Ian Simpson (Coerced Lovely Girlfriend Into Marrying Him by Proposing the Moment He Won the Irish Open)

“I don’t like some of GGPoker’s business practices, so whilst I wouldn’t entirely rule out playing one of their live events, they would be bottom of my list. Prague is a beautiful city, so that’s got appeal, and it’s a shorter flight time. On the other hand, The Wynn is the best poker room that I’ve ever played in, and it has that huge guarantee! Honestly, it’s a 50/50 between those two events for me!”

Barny Boatman (Poker Veteran, Alleged Mobster):

“I’ve only just got over the summer jet-lag, so, as amazing as the Wynn schedule is, I’ll probably play my first ever EPT Prague and hope a lot of the strongest players are elsewhere. I’ll leave the costly Bahamas trip to the sponsored pros, bracelet hunters and winter sun seekers. In fact, I may just go down the Vic.”

Dominik Nitsche (4-time Bracelet Winner, Human Solver)

“The Wynn is the best option – the prizepool, the location and flights to get in/out are very reasonable. Prague is also an option if I’m somehow still in Europe then. It’s a shorter journey. The WSOP Bahamas is out for me for a ton of reasons but mainly the venue. I’d be really happy if I never went to Atlantis ever again.”

Jamie Flynn (Unibet European Deepstacks, IPT Killarney and Dublin Student champion)

“The WPT Wynn would be my preference. It was an epic event last year and the Wynn is always a great place to play poker. It feels like the American poker community will see the WSOP in the summer and the Wynn at Christmas as the bi-annual poker pilgrimages.”

Angela Jordison (Poker Bridesmaid, Ugly Betty Stand-In)

“For me, there is only one choice… the Wynn! The combination of WPT and The Wynn is unbeatable. The player experience is top notch and the $40m guarantee makes it a no-brainer. Not to mention, I don’t want to see poker players in their speedos on the beach in paradise. Sounds awful.”

Kevin O’Donnell (Old Guy Who Gets Dropped Off at the Poker Room Each Day by His Daughter)

“I am already booked to stay in the Wynn. They run the best tournaments outside of Lincoln, California and the WSOP hasn’t cared about the players for a long time now.”

Alex O’Brien (Detector of Truth)

“The Wynn seems like the most enticing! Even if the WSOP is luring with sunshine, we would all be stuck indoors anyway. So, yeah, let’s go where there’s a $40m prize pool.”

Matt Hunt (Recovering Ginger)

“I’ll definitely be at the Wynn. The WPT World Championship is the second-biggest $10K on the planet and I already live in Vegas, so there was nothing on either the EPT Prague or WSOP Bahamas schedule that would have made it worth traveling a long way.”

KL Cleeton (Doesn’t Give Walks) 

“I’m absolutely crushed to not be attending this year, but WPT at the Wynn represents a monumental step forward in the growth of poker. The events and the host location are second to none.”

Michael Dwyer (Poker Player, Businessman, Top Paddy)

“The Wynn would be my choice. It’s the best venue and I like the idea of Vegas in December. Also, I love that Main Event structure.”

David Docherty (Irish Open Champion, Scotland’s Finest)

“Having heard so many good things about the WPT Wynn last year, and seen the $40m guarantee that they are putting up, I did consider making the trip over. The thing is, I love being in Prague at Christmas and it’s much closer to home for me. I didn’t give much thought to WSOP Bahamas. Bracelets have been devalued in my eyes for a while now (230 will be awarded this year alone).

Ivonne Montealegre (Poker Organizer, Force of Nature)

“I am currently making arrangements to participate in the highly anticipated WPT Wynn event in Las Vegas. The organizers have gone to great lengths to ensure that this event is nothing short of exceptional. Moreover, they have introduced a platinum partner program that allows us to organize various activities for our esteemed Malta Poker Festival Group. It is evident that their dedication extends beyond the poker tables, as they are committed to providing us with an unforgettable experience both on and off the felt.”

Michael Lech (Fiesta-Enthusiast)

“The WPT will be the best for sure but I can go to Vegas anytime. That’s why I am planning on going to the Bahamas, a destination that I’ve never been before. I like that I can buyin with my GGpoker funds plus they’re handing out packages like Halloween candy. It is a pity though that they can’t all be at different times.”

Kevin Rabichow (Runs It Once) 

I’ll certainly be at WPT Wynn – I’d committed to being in Vegas long before the WSOP Bahamas schedule came out and I don’t enjoy Atlantis enough to try and do both. It would take a lot to convince me to skip a big series like this at the Wynn knowing how great their events have been over the past few years.”

Dara O’Kearney (Player, Coach, Author, Podcaster, Shirt Model)

“I shall be going to the Wynn for a few reasons… I love the hotel. The staff are amazing. It was an incredible event last year but, most of all, I’m going because David Lappin will be there.”

Chance Kornuth (Lateral Mover of Chip Stacks)

“Prague is unfortunately too far and Atlantis is such a dump that I don’t even have a strong desire to go there. I’m really excited and will definitely be going to the WPT in the Wynn. It was an incredible stop last year.  Everything about it was beautiful… the food you can order to the table, the staff, the dealers, the structure… it was perfect.”

Lappin’s Verdict 

It’s true that I shall, like most of the players, be attending the WPT World Championships in the Wynn. I was there last year and the player experience was top-drawer. I genuinely felt spoiled by the staff and organizers. It would have been so easy to guarantee $25m after last year’s $15m guarantee was almost doubled. Instead, and despite the extra competition, they bumped it to $40m and that’s just something that the poker community needs to applaud and support. 

it feels like GGPoker is getting sloppy seconds on a tired, unpopular destination

EPT Prague really is a terrific festival and up against virtually any other event, it would be my pick. I must say that the WSOP Bahamas is a distant third in my book. It’s a terrible venue, difficult to get to, over-priced and I’ve heard horror stories from players who have been virtually renditioned on their way home. The rumor is that Pokerstars was pulling out of the Bahamas anyway so it feels like GGPoker is getting sloppy seconds on a tired, unpopular destination. 

Add that to the fact that bracelets have lost their luster over the years and there is simply no appeal. The allure of that life-changing score is strong and the last time I checked, $40 million was a bigger number than $15 million. 

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