By Sean Chaffin
The World Poker Tour certainly lives up to its name this spring as WPTDeepStacks goes jet-set – with tour stops all over the globe offering a chance for some great travel opportunities as well as a shot at big money at a bargain price. The tour continues to grow and looks to build on successful stops this season that had players catching cards at locations from Berlin to Brussels, Argentina to New Zealand and everywhere in between.
There were also some great North American stops including Montreal, California, Maryland, Florida, and more. In March, WPTDeepStacks heats up even more with a plethora of events with plenty to offer players. Here’s a look at what to expect.
Florida kicks off a huge month for the tour with this $1,500 buy-in event set for March 8-11 at bestbet Jacksonville, one of the best poker venues in the state. The event features a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool and should reward a nice payout to the champion. In 2018, Georgia’s Jonathan Cronin took home the title and $107,386. Previous winners have included: Jeremy Meacham (Season IV, $114,551); Mikhail Zdanovskiy (Season III, $106,780); and George Wolfe ($84,037).
bestbet is a great location to play cards and as the largest poker venue in Florida, it offers a poker experience like no other. The property features 20,000 square feet of space with 88 tables. It’s a spacious facility that caters to players. Players also won’t be disappointed when it comes to food, with a menu offering something for everyone – including the popular hand-rolled sushi, sashimi, and tempura fried rolls.
The events kick off March 1 with a full slate of events at every buy-in level with a special charity event March 8 with a $220 buy-in and $40 rebuys. That tournament benefits K9s for Warriors, which provides service dogs to military members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, or other traumas. Two seats to the WPTDS Main Event are guaranteed and should be a big part of the fun in Jacksonville.
The tour then heads to the southern hemisphere for this 10,000-rand ($700) buy-in event, running March 15-17 at Emperors Palace. The event promises a 2.5 million-rand ($177,000) guaranteed prize pool, a nice payout for a smaller buy-in. In October, that prize pool reached R4.6 million for a first-place payout of $68,885. The winner of that event was none other than Maria Ho (pictured), frequent televised poker host, and commentator.
Last March, Abdool Essa took home the title for $50,521. In 2017, Daniel Habeeb took the title for $113,445 – his only WPT cash.
With beautiful beaches, great nightlife, and friendly people, Johannesburg offers a great opportunity for an extended poker vacation. Emperors Palace is a premier casino destination with a great stay, entertainment, dining, and more. The poker action includes 10 other events beginning March 8. Book that plane ticket now and don’t forget the passport.
A swing through Asia is on the schedule in March with players heading to the Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh City on March 19-23. This marks the second time the WPT has made its way to the country and broke the record for largest prize pool in Vietnam history in September 2018.
Billions will be on the line – okay, billions of Vietnamese dong to be exact. The event features a VND8 billion guaranteed prize pool ($345,000) with a VND25 million ($1,080) buy-in. Points in the race for the WPT Asia Pacific Player of the Year will also be on the line. The entire series kicks off March 19 with 12 total events.
The Pro Poker Club opened in 2017 and has been redefining the game in the country. It offers a great spot to play cards, and September’s event attracted 679 entries with India’s Dhaval Mudgal taking the trophy and $104,418. Organizers are hoping to build on that success in March.
The tour heads back to the U.S. in March, stopping at Live! Casino and Hotel from March 22-25 with plenty of action planned at the popular casino just outside Baltimore. The property also has a stop on the Main Tour to complement the DeepStacks event, which is now in its third season. Live! offers a great poker space and new hotel and convention facilities, perfect for a spring poker trip.
The property is one of five North American properties to host a WPT Main Tour and WPTDeepStacks stop in Season XVII, and this tournament features a $1,650 buy-in features a $300,000 guarantee. The event brought in 389 last March for a prize pool of $507,000. Jason Eisele took home the title for $108,921, and Jose Montes won in 2017 for $95,032.
Those heading to the Old Line State will be treated to a great poker scene. Along with the championship event, there will be 20 other tournaments for every taste, with the first event kicking off March 15. It’ll be great poker at a great property with some delectable dining options as well.
What trip to Maryland would be complete without some seafood and crab cakes? Head over to Prime Rib on the dinner break, you’ll be glad you did.
The March DeepStacks events wrap up in the Old World, this time in historic Amsterdam. One of the last stops before the WPTDS European Championship at Casino Barriere in Deauville, France, this event runs March 28-31 at Holland Casino Amsterdam Center and offers a great European getaway with some poker mixed in of course.
After a tour of the city, jump in the €1,200 buy-in championship event and test your skills. The complete series kicks off on March 19 and offers numerous events beginning March 19. April 2018’s WPTDS event features 325 entries and a prize pool of €325,375.
Christos Economides, of Cyprus, came out on top and won €74,760 ($91,944). In the first event in 2017, Dutchman Thijs Menco topped a field of 243 to walk away with €73,239 ($80,563).
The Holland Casino recently underwent a renovation and offers a nice trip for players right in the heart of Amsterdam. That includes visiting The Brasserie for an amazing culinary experience. Pack that suitcase and pencil this event on the calendar – you won’t want to miss it.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
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