Tournament players have it good right now. There are endless options in myriad cities across the world. So, how does a tournament stand out as a must-play event?
And, If the opening events of the WPT World Championship festival schedule are any indication, this may be one of the biggest, and best, Prime events ever.
Prime Rate: An “insane” guarantee with big money up top
The Prime Championship boasts a massive $5,000,000 guarantee, which is a big statement of intent from the WPT.
“After having some big overlays at The Lodge, I know how big a risk it is from an operator’s perspective to put big guarantees on tournaments”, WPT Ambassador Brad Owen told us.
“Attaching a $5 million guarantee to a $1k is just insane,” he added. “I’ll probably fire up five or six bullets if I need to because it’s an affordable buy-in and the first-place money is going to be massive.”
Stephen Song would agree with this. He won the 2022 version of this event, which attracted a record-breaking 5,430 entrants and a prize pool of $5,267,100. This year, the WPT has added an additional starting flight and is prepared to handle the strong demand, so we’re excited to see how high this bird can fly.
“Honestly, it’s incredible,” said Song last year. “You have to run insane to win a 5,400-person field, there’s no getting around that.”
Song seems to find a way to continue to find such “miraculous runs” in these large-field tournaments. Regardless, the stage is set for someone to possibly make an even bigger score.
Will the record be broken again this year? The first step starts today with Day 1a. Based on the turnouts at the festival thus far, If someone made us pick a side, we’d go with the over for both entrants and prize pool.
Prime Directive: A great structure to let the best players shine
In Star Trek, the Prime Directive “prohibits Starfleet personnel and spacecraft from interfering in the normal development of any society.”
The WPT Prime structure won’t interfere with players’ ability to showcase their tournament skills. (Okay, that was a stretch, but you get the idea.)
In addition to value, tournament players are always on the lookout for a good structure. Exactly what that means is arguable. But, most will say it involves lots of deep-stack play, long levels, and a good payout structure.
The WPT Prime Championship offers players 40,000 starting chips, 40-minute levels on Day 1, 60-minute levels on Day 2, four starting flights, four days of tournament play, and a 12.5% payout structure. What more could you ask for from an $1,100 event?
Prime Experience: Quality in the details
If you’re a Vegas player, The Wynn is likely at the top or near the top of your favorite places to play in the city. The player experience is a priority. So, teaming up with the WPT, who emphasize the same priority, the result is expectedly positive.
The chips are clean, the felts are smooth, and the dealers and staff are well-trained and capable. Players are mostly set up in the spacious Encore Ballroom with some events placed outside the actual poker room.
The first WPT Prime Championship flight kicks off at 11 a.m. today, with additional starting flights on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Make the final table, and you’ll be featured on their televised final table slated for December 19th.
Who will turn their $1,100 into what might approach a $1 million score? We don’t know, but we’re here for it.
All photos courtesy WPT