WPT Season 21 Nears Apex With Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open

Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has played host to some of the biggest fields in the history of the World Poker Tour, and the 2023 Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open should be no exception. Here’s what you need to know heading into the penultimate Main Tour stop of Season 21.

Tim Fiorvanti
Nov 23, 2023
Andrew Wilson, center, won the 2022 Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

Black Friday has become an unofficial holiday on the American calendar, and the day after Thanksgiving has also been established as a milestone in the world of poker – the day that the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open kicks off.

This Championship Event occupies a key window on the WPT Main Tour calendar. It is the penultimate event of Season 21, as it was in 2022 for Season 20, and the implications are significant. Beyond what’s certain to be a major payout atop a sizeable field, this tournament could play a significant role in determining the Season 21 WPT Player of the Year race for the second year running.

After this, there’s only one stop left – the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. As the second stop on the WPT’s Florida swing gets set to kick off, lets dig into the significance of this event and Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.

A Special Place in WPT History

Ever since Seminole Hard Rock Showdown had its debut WPT Main Tour event in 2011, the venue has seen history made time and again. Taylor von Kriegenbergh bested a field of 433 in the Season 9 edition of the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, winning $1,122,340.

Since then, the turnout has only increased as the years have gone on. While the 2022 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas occupies the No. 1 spot for most entries ever in a WPT Main Tour event, the next nine spots are all tournaments that took place at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.

The biggest event ever held at this venue was the Season 18 edition of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which drew 2,482 entries. The largest turnout to date for the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open, also in Season 19, saw 1,566 entries – the eighth-largest field for a Main Tour event in WPT history.

Looking Back at 2022

Chad Eveslage made his second career WPT final table at Seminole Hard Rock, finishing third in the 2022 Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

The Season 20 edition of the Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open brought out 1,541 entrants – ninth-best all-time in WPT history – and produced a final table with some heavy hitters.

Defending champion Gediminias Uselis returned to the final table to try for a back-to-back performance, ultimately finishing his second deep run in this tournament in fifth place. Three-time WPT champion (and two-time WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open winner at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood) Brian Altman took fourth.

The final three consisted of England’s Andrew Wilson, Josh Kay and Chad Eveslage. Eveslage, who had already won the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic in Season 20, took third, but secured his status in the WPT Player of the Year race (more on that in a moment). Josh Kay, who was at his second WPT final table of the year at Seminole Hard Rock in 2022, settled for second. Wilson ultimately walked away with the title, $785,800 and a seat to the WPT World Championship.

A Key to WPT Player of the Year?

Eveslage’s third-place finish was his fourth cash of Season 21. With those four cashes, two final tables and the win at Bellagio, Eveslage earned just enough points to put him at No. 1 in the WPT POY race – edging out Steve Buckner by just 50 points. Kay, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open runner-up finished third in that year’s POY race.

Events at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood seem likely to loom large again in the 2023 WPT POY race.

Bin Weng won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown back in May, winning one of his three $1 million-plus prizes to this point in 2023.

Can Bin Really Win Again?

Current WPT POY front-runner Bin Weng has already built his POY resume in large part due to his success at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Back in May, Weng secured the first of two back-to-back WPT final tables with a big chip lead at the Seminole Hard Pock Poker Showdown. He followed through with awin a few weeks later at the televised final table in Las Vegas.

Combined with a fourth-place finish at WPT Choctaw, and a recent cash at WPT bestbet Jacksonville, Weng is on the brink of putting the 2023 WPT POY race all but out of play with a significant result this week in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

What Can We Expect at the 2023 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open?

The $3,500 buy-in event kicks off with the first of two starting session on Friday, with Day 1B set for Saturday. Action will continue through November 28, when the field will play down to a final table of six. The livestreamed final table will take place starting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29.

As far as turnout expectations, as previously mentioned, each of the last two editions of this tournament landed in the top-10 field sizes in WPT Main Tour history. If the prelims are any indication, the potential number of entries for the 2023 edition of the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open are bright. The $400 opening event brought in a total of 7,703 entries, the second-largest tournament field ever in the state of Florid, and a top prize of $304,900.s