The World Poker Tour is the premiere international tournament tour on the poker circuit today. All of the world’s top tournament players can be found participating in WPT events, and other than a World Series of Poker bracelet, there’s nothing more prestigious in the world of poker than a WPT championship.
If you’d like to qualify for the World Poker Tour, there are numerous ways in which you can do so. Read on to learn more about the WPT and how you can take part in these amazing poker events.
What is the WPT?
The World Poker Tour is an international poker series that features televised tournament events around the world. The tournaments held by the World Poker Tour are held in tournaments all over the globe, usually in traditionally popular casino hubs like Las Vegas, or in vacation destinations like the Caribbean.
The World Poker Tour is organized into seasons, in which a variable number of tournaments are held. These tournaments culminate in the season ending WPT World Championship, which is held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Traditionally, part of the prize money given to winners of standard World Poker Tour events includes a free entry into the World Championship, which has a buy-in of $25,000.
How to Qualify for the WPT Online
The World Poker Tour has made it a priority to allow players to qualify for their events through online poker rooms. Most commonly, this is done by winning a satellite tournament that awards a “WPT package” to a particular event. Typically, this will award the winning player or players an entry into the tournament, along with hotel accommodations, spending money, and perhaps even a travel allowance.
Given the fact that many WPT tournaments now feature buy-ins of $5,000 or even less, it may often feel like a far less daunting task to qualify for a WPT event than for the World Series of Poker Main Event. Often, this allows satellites to run for relatively low buy-in amounts and still award a seat or two into a WPT main event.
The most common method for qualification to the WPT is though an online “super-satellite.” In these events, any number of players may participate. Based on the number of players (and the amount of money collected in buy-ins), a certain number of seats to the WPT event will be awarded. At some sites, this can allow for several players to win seats in a WPT event after only wagering a few dollars.
Often, there are even satellites into the main satellites, allowing you to invest even less money at the start for a shot at playing in a major poker event. If you have a little more money to spend, you may even be able to try to win a seat through a single-table sit and go tournament. For instance, for a $2,500 tournament, it may be possible to pay $250 to play at a table of ten players, with the winner getting a seat in the WPT event. We recommend playing at the sites listed below to qualify for the WPT.
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History of the World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour began its first ever tournament on May 27, 2002, when the Five Diamond World Poker Classic was held at the Bellagio. The tournament saw a star-studded final table result in a heads-up battle between the already legendary John Juanda, and the up-and-coming Gus Hansen. Using his now trademark hyper-aggressive style, Hansen would take the first ever WPT tournament title, winning $556,460.
The first ever WPT Championship was held at the end of Season 1 in April 2003, once again taking place at the Bellagio. Alan Goehring would win just over $1 million for topping the 111-player field, winning at a final table that included Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson and Ted Forrest.
Prize pools for the WPT continued to expand over the years, with winning prizes of more than $1 million becoming commonplace on standard tour events. The largest prize in a non-Championship event came in Season 6, when Eugene Katchalov won nearly $2.5 million for his victory at the 2007 Doyle Brunson Classic.
In the history of the World Poker Tour, a few players and performances stand out. Carlos Mortensen and Gus Hansen share the honor of having won the most WPT tournaments, each having won three during their careers. Fourteen other players have won two WPT events, including notables such as Antonio Esfandiari, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren and Howard Lederer. Mortensen is also the all time leading money winner on the WPT, having won over $6.4 million in career prize money (Negreanu is second with over $5.5 million). Two players in tour history have finished in the top 10 at least ten times: Scotty Nguyen (11 top-ten finishes) and Phil Ivey (10).
In recent years, the WPT has worked to expand in ways similar to the World Series of Poker. In the same manner as the WSOP Circuit events, the WPT National and Regional Series tournaments have made it easier for players to take part in WPT-branded tournaments without requiring the same level of buy-ins as the main tour. While these events are not considered for WPT records and awards purposes, they are organized by the WPT.
How Many WPT Events Are There?
In the first ever season of the World Poker Tour, there were 11 events – ten standard tournaments followed by the WPT Championship. This number has increased over the years, though it hasn’t been a stead progression; the tour has adjusted the number of events up and down as they see fit each year. In the most recent seasons, there have been 19 tournaments on the main WPT tour, though at least a few tournaments each year are not televised. This number does not include National or Regional WPT events.
The WPT Championship (which was renamed the WPT World Championship in Season 9) has always been the most prestigious event on the tour. Since the first season, it has never failed to produce a prize pool of at least $1 million, and is responsible for a couple of the largest prize pools in WPT history. The largest first prize of all was the $3,970,415 won by Carlos Mortensen in the Season 5 WPT Championship.
The WPT Championship is always held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas at the conclusion of each WPT season. Unlike normal WPT events, which have buy-ins of $10,000 or less, the WPT Championship is a $25,000 tournament. Every winner during the WPT season also receives a free entry into the WPT Championship.
Ever since Alan Goehring won the first WPT Championship in Season 1, the tournament has proven to be one that has rewarded top players with big wins. Other notable winners over the years include Martin De Knijff, Carlos Mortensen, David Chiu, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, David Williams and (most recently) Scott Seiver.