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Welcome to Day 1A of the $2 Million Guarantee WPT at Venetian

Mar 13, 2020

By Tim Duckworth

WPT Champions Cup

Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour returns to Las Vegas, Nevada, and The Venetian Las Vegas for Day 1A of the WPT at Venetian that features a $5,000 buy-in, two starting flights, and a $2 million guaranteed prize pool.

In Season I of the WPT in June 2002, the World Poker Tour began just a short walk down the road at the Bellagio Resort & Casino. Two seasons later, The Mirage hosted their first WPT Main Event, and in Season V, Mandalay Bay hosted their first event on the Main Tour. In Season XVI, the ARIA Resort & Casino hosted back-to-back events before the Luxor Hotel & Casino implemented the use of the HyperX Esports Arena to host the Tournament of Champions final table. Last season, The Venetian Las Vegas became the sixth property on the Las Vegas Strip to host a World Poker Tour event.

The inaugural WPT at Venetian in Season XVII was a $3,500 buy-in and attracted a field of 734-entrants to create a prize pool of $2,333,800. The top 92 players finished in-the-money with the likes of Clint Tolbert, Joseph Cheong, Dylan Wilkerson, Loni Harwood, Scott Blumstein, Patrick Serda, Dylan Linde, Shankar Pillai, John Racener, Tony Dunst, Maria Ho, Matt Salsberg, Benjamin Zamani, Tony Tran, Ravi Raghavan, Freddy Deeb, Matthew Waxman, Phil Hui, David Williams, Eric Baldwin, Aaron Massey, and Sean Yu all falling short of the final table.

It would be an incredibly quick-paced final table that would take 268 hands before Ben Palmer would be crowned the WPT at Venetian champion and recipient of the $431,655 first-place prize on a final table that included Tony Gargano, Danny Qutami, Orlando Barrera, Mark Ioli, and Will Givens.

Season XVII WPT at Venetian Champion Ben Palmer

Hublot WPT Player of the Year Standings for Season XVIII

Along with WPT at Venetian, only three events remain for Season XVIII along with the three HyperX Esports Arena final tables set to play out from May 31 – April 2. Leading the Hublot WPT Player of the Year leaderboard is Brian Altman with 2,100 points and is guaranteed at least a further 800 points as he is sitting third overall at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. On the back of his WPT Fallsview Poker Classic win and third WPT title, Eric Afriat ahead of WPT Borgata Poker Open champion Donald Maloney (1,600 points) and Toby Joyce (1,475 points). The winner of WPT at Venetian will earn at least 1,200 points.

With Season XVIII now well underway on the WPT Main Tour, great prizes are on offer for whoever can follow in the footsteps of defending WPT Player of the Year Erkut Yilmaz and other WPT legends before him.

Included in the World Poker Tour’s enhancements for Season XVIII are added Hublot WPT Player of the Year prizes. Not only will the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVIII win a custom Hublot timepiece and complimentary accommodation at select WPT Main Tour stops for Season XVIII, but he or she will earn $15,000 in WPT tournament buy-in credits. Prizes have been added for second- and third-place finishers in the race, as well. The runner-up receives $7,500 in WPT tournament buy-in credits and third place receives $2,500 in WPT tournament buy-in credits.

WPT tournament buy-in credits can be used in any global WPT event, including WPT Main Tour, WPTDeepStacks, WPT500, and WPT Special Events.

WPT at Venetian Structure and Schedule

The WPT at Venetian features a $5,000 buy-in and players are allowed unlimited re-entries on Day 1A and 1B until the start of level 11 on Day 2; approximately 2:15 p.m. (PT) on Sunday, March 15.

As is the case with all Season XVIII WPT Main Tour stops, it comes with the World Poker Tour structure that includes the big blind ante format and 40,000 in starting chips. The first two levels will be 100-100 and 100-200 with no ante before the big blind ante kicks in for Level 3 and onward. Level 3 will be 100-200 with a 200 ante, and the big blind ante will be the same price as the big blind from there on out.

Cards and Chips

The WPT at Venetian schedule will see play start at 12:10 p.m. (PT) on Day 1A and 1B with eight 60-minute levels and a 15-minute break after every two levels and no dinner break. Day 2 will play ten 60-minute levels and there is no scheduled dinner break, while Day 3 will continue with 60-minute levels until the final 24 players is reached and levels will be extended to 90-minutes until the final table of six is reached and levels return to 60-minutes in duration. When heads-up play is reached, levels will be reduced to 30 minutes in duration until the newest WPT Champion is crowned.

To view complete information on the WPT at Venetian structure and schedule, click here.

With that, the stage is now set for the start of the WPT at Venetian Main Event to begin at 12:10 p.m. (PT) from The Venetian Las Vegas. Stay tuned right here to WPT.com for the exclusive live coverage of the tournament from start to finish to see who becomes the WPT at Venetian champion, and wins his or her way to the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions presented by Baccarat Crystal.

Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive


Looking to win your way to a World Poker Tour event for your shot at becoming a WPT champion? Play for your chance on ClubWPT.com, where eligible VIP Members can play for over $100,000 in cash and prizes each month, including seats to WPT events, no purchase necessary.

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