Big Names Abound in WPT World Championship Early Arrivals

The WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas brought out the pros…and it brought them out early.

Jeff Walsh
Dec 12, 2022

When it comes to the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas – max late reg be damned. That is to say, with 420 runners in their seats, battling for chips by the end of level one, there were plenty of top pros who decided that it was +EV to arrive on time to mix it up with an onslaught of qualifiers – all of whom will be fighting for a piece of the $15 million guaranteed prize pool.

Day One. Level One. And before the end of the hour was up, the early quiet of the first few hands was replaced by the loud shuffling of chips and that same buzz in the air that has accompanied all of this Las Vegas Festival.

As soon as you enter the Encore Ballroom, legendary names and modern-day crushers were scattered about the room. Eric Seidel, Bill Klein, and the current leader in the race for this year’s WPT Player of the Year Chad Eveslage were seated in the Southwest section of the room. Long-time grinders and allies Cliff ‘Johnny Bax’ Josephy and Shaun Deeb made their way to their seats before the cards were in the air as well.

The race to five WPT titles was in full effect at the start of the day as well as four-time champ Darren Elias was in the field as were Brian Altman and Anthony Zinno, both with three titles a piece.

The qualifier field was plenty, with some showing up before doors were even open, ready to get into the mix. But not every pro who came looking for some EV found the seat draw to be favorable. The first notable table of doom included Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moorman, and Shannon Shorr playing against each other short-handed. It was the same for Chance Kornuth, Dan Shak, and Justin Young who were sitting in order with just five players at the table.

WPT ambassadors and staff also showed up early: Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen were seen as were the sharp-dressed pair of Tony Dunst and Lynn Gilmartin.

Justin Bonomo, Maria Konnakova, Andrew Lichtenberger, Eric Baldwin, Andrew Moreno, current GPI #1-ranked Adam Hendrix, and the always robust Steve ‘Cuz’ Buckner were among those that helped fill up the room as well.

And this is the shortlist.

For the complete list of who’s in the room and all of the action from the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas – check out the WPT Live Updates.

(photos: Drew Amato/WPT)