WPT Premier Meet-Up Game Thrills Poker Players at the Wynn

wpt premier meet up game

5 minutes

Last Updated: January 25, 2024

For the second time in a row, WPT World Championship festivities at the Wynn kicked off with a bang as hundreds of poker players gathered at the Wynn poker room yesterday morning for the WPT Premier Meet-Up Game.

The event was a true culmination of a year of live poker, as poker celebrities, vloggers, and WPT Ambassadors including the likes of Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen gathered at the Wynn to play poker for acceptable stakes with anyone who came by.

A full 28 tables of $1/3 and $2/5 action ran from as early as 9 AM, a time generally despised by poker players, but it was all different this time as the energy at the Wynn was absolutely electric.

By the end of the day, the organizers gave away 5 WPT Prime seats worth $1,100 each, as well as a single seat into the epic $10,400 WPT World Championship event, which will guarantee a $40,000,000 prize pool just a couple of weeks from now.

WPT voyage

Owen and Neeme Host the Meet-Up Game

Bran Owen and Andrew Neeme are certainly the two names one would associate with the concept of meet-up games, as they spend their days traveling from one to another and have become famous among the poker community for such events.

The two were among the first of celebrities to show up at the Wynn yesterday morning, as they mingled with the folks even before the shuffle up and deal call at 9 AM.

Both now a part of the WPT Ambassadors team, Neeme and Owen were among the main figures at the event, as they played some cards, gave out hundreds of autographs, and took pictures with anyone who wanted them.

Speaking on the Premier Meet-Up game, Owen said: “This is definitely exciting. The day hasn’t even officially started yet and the room is absolutely packed. This type of energy really rejuvenates me and keeps me motivated to keep playing.

Indeed, the Wynn poker room was packed with seats assigned to players as early as 7 AM and the tables filled by just after 8. If you showed up “on time” to play at 9 AM, you had to wait for quite some time to find an open seat.

While Owen and Neeme are used to hosting their own meet-up games and their fans being the only ones to join them, it was different this time, as they were not even the biggest poker names in the room.

About an hour into the action, the door opened and two of the biggest living poker legends stepped in through the door.

Ivey and Hansen Make their Appearance

It is not every day that you get a chance to play poker with players like Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen, and for most of us it’s a chance that never comes by, as the stakes these guys play for are simply too high.

Thanks to WPT, players playing in the Premier Meet-Up Game had a chance to sit down with these two, who showed up about an hour into the day and stuck around to splash some chips and have some laughs with the fans.

Both Ivey and Hansen were seen engaging with the fans, taking pictures, with a few players even showing up with a copy of Hansen’s poker book “Every Hand Revealed” to get it signed by the Great Dane himself.

Seeing Phil Ivey play poker this early in the morning for stakes this low was certainly something few ever hoped to witness, and it just added to the electric vibe that dominated the Wynn for hours.

Among those playing, everyone was hopeful of winning one of the valuable WPT prizes as well, as the Tour gave out packages for the upcoming WPT World Championship after a few hours of play.

Lucky Players Win Valuable WPT Seats

While the atmosphere and community were enough to get everyone buzzing about the Premier Meet-Up Game, it was the giveaways that brought out quite a few of the players.

Throughout the morning, players had a chance to win a draw ticket by getting it all in with any one of the numerous WPT Ambassadors or talent who were in the field.

Along with the likes of Neeme, Owen, Ivey, and Hansen, Matt Savage, Vince Van Patten, and Ethan “Rampage” Yau were just a few of the players you could win your tickets playing against.

Many doubted if Rampage would even show up for the event despite being advertised, as he spent Thursday night suffering through the biggest single loss of his career over on Hustler Casino Live.

Rampage picked himself up, dusted himself off, and showed up to play at the Wynn in time. He commented:

Last night I played the biggest I’ve ever played in terms of stakes and percentage of myself. And here today I’m walking the room because I lost three buy-ins ($1,500) in, like five hands, so now I’m just saying hi to people. But poker’s poker and I’m happy to be here. Happy to play.”

As clock struck 1 PM, players and celebrities moved over into the lobby outside the Wynn poker room where Matt Savage took the mic and announced the winners of the draw.

For one player, it was an exceptionally bad beat, as they had won the WPT World Championship seat but were no longer around to pick up their prize.

Instead, the $10,400 seat went to Sunao Kithara, who was also on his way to cash out his chips and leave the premises when he heard his name being read out loud and ran towards the lobby.

While most of the players playing in the MUG did not win one of the added seats, many walked out with a hefty profit, as the games were wild and loose and the WPT players forced action and played way looser than they usually do.

Positive Vibes Take Over the Wynn

It was a perfect way to open the WPT World Championship festival, as there is nothing like a meet-up game to get the crowd buzzing.

The Premier Meet-Up Game was just the first of many amazing events coming up at the Wynn this December, making it the perfect place to spend the days leading up to Christmas for all poker players.

Make sure to stay tuned for even more news from the WPT World Championship festival in the coming days and weeks as the biggest guaranteed tournament of all time is just around the corner.

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