Poker mega-event begins Friday with a lineup of the biggest names in the game
The heads-up challenge craze rules the poker landscape in 2021. Perhaps the logical extension of that trend plays out June 18-22, in the form of the WPT Heads Up Championship Presented by Poker King.
The biggest heads-up challenges from the past year have involved singular legend vs. legend matchups, with high stakes and bragging rights on the line.
What we haven’t really seen during this current trend is a highly publicized heads-up tournament, bringing together a slew of poker superstars from around the world.
The WPT Heads Up Championship changes that, with a roster of 32 players going to battle in a single-elimination tournament. Each match features a best-of-three format, with the first player to win two sit & gos against their opponent advancing to the next round.
The tournament finals expand to a best-of-five format. The 16 first-round matches play out on Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19.
WPT Heads Up Championship Bracket
What to watch for at the WPT Heads-Up Championship
The WPT Heads-Up Championship features 32 players, each buying in for $25,000. The total prize pool comes to $800,000, and all matches will be played on Poker King, a Winning Poker Network skin available in many regions outside of the U.S.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico serves as the home front for the event, with many of poker’s biggest names taking the trip to the vacation hotspot to battle in the heads-up streets. Joey Ingram, another poker superstar, will be on hand to call the action on the World Poker Tour Twitch channel.
The 32-player bracket features a mix of poker legends, from multiple eras of the game. Doug Polk takes on Tom Dwan in the first round, in what is no doubt the most anticipated matchup in the round of 32.
If Dwan manages to win that match, he could be reunited with his old nemesis from the original “Durrrr Challenge.” Patrik Antonius takes on Japanese pop star Gackt in the first round, which yields the possibility of a Dwan vs. Antonius second-round matchup.
Whoever emerges from the right side of the bracket will certainly lay claim to a well-deserved victory. Linus “LLInusLLove” Loeliger and Oliver “Livb112” Busquet tangle in one of several tough first-round tilts on that side of the field.
The winner of the Busquet-Loeliger match gets the winner Nick Schulman vs. Chris Kruk as a reward in the second round. Another match from the right side of the bracket features Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski against Nick Petrangelo.
All matches will play online at Poker King, with players also featured on a Zoom stream as they play. The Zoom interaction between Malinowski and Petrangelo, two of poker’s biggest personalities, could end up as the highlight of first round action.
Phil Ivey takes on Manig Loeser further down the right side bracket, with Stephen Chidwick and Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger facing off in yet another top-tier clash from that part of the field.
In addition to the murderer’s row of poker pros, recreational players like Gawkt, Steve Aoki, Shiphtur, Alexandra Botez, and Hafu also take spots in the field. A pair of online qualifiers also play in first-round matchups.
The round of 32 plays out June 18-19. The quarterfinals take place on Sunday, June 20, followed by the semifinals on Monday, June 21. The last two players standing from the semifinals compete for the championship on Tuesday, June 22.
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