WPT to Move Nine Season XVII Final Tables to Las Vegas
In a surprising reveal, the World Poker Tour announced that in the upcoming Season XVII, it will implement a delayed final table for several events, stopping the tournaments when the final table is reached and resuming them at a later date. The kicker: the location for every final table will be in Las Vegas at the Esports Arena Las Vegas in the Luxor.
It is an interesting decision, particularly when set against the backdrop of the World Series of Poker, which just began within the past week. For a decade, the WSOP delayed the Main Event final table, creating the “November Nine.” The November Nine was done away with last year to create better continuity for the Main Event. And now the WPT is going in the opposite direction.
The WPT just held some events at the $25 million Esports Arena, perhaps as a trial run. The WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship $25,000 High Roller was paused from the beginning of May, wrapping up at the Luxor facility a couple weeks ago. The WPT Tournament of Champions was also held at the Esports Arena.
“It makes total sense for the home of WPT final tables to be here,” WPT Vice President of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael announced to the media before the WPT TOC final table. “We firmly believe that by having our televised final tables in this facility, it will open a world of possibilities for the World Poker Tour.”
There will be nine televised final tables that will be played at the Esports Arena, though the WPT could not announce which ones yet, as the list of televised events had to be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. When the six-handed final table is reached at one of these events, play will be paused and then the remaining players will travel to Las Vegas – likely three to six weeks later – to finish the tournament. All travel expenses will be paid by the Tour. Players will not, however, get paid their sixth place minimum payout until they actually play the final table. With the WSOP’s November Nine, players were paid ninth place money right after they made the final table.
The WPT also expects to group final tables. If there are a few tournaments that take place in close proximity to each other on the calendar, the final table members for all of them will be flown to Vegas at the same time. Several final tables can then be finished in the span of a few days.
The WPT believes players will benefit from the ability to practice and/or get coached up before the final table. The Nevada taxes are also better for players than they are in many locations. There will also be parties and VIP-type events for the final table members.
“You are going to feel like a star if you make a final table and you come to town,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska, though one would think that only recreational players would care about that, if anyone does.
The WPT likes the setup because the Esports Arena will have more room and visibility for sponsors, the Tour will be exposed to a younger demographic of Esports competitors, and this is an opportunity for the World Poker Tour to have a potential big-time venue all its own. One could also guess that the Tour likes the idea of not having to build out and break down a final table set and nine different locations, as well.
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