WPT World Championship Smashes Last Year’s Records But Fall Short Of The Guarantee
Last Updated: January 25, 2024
With a promise of $40,000,000, the WPT World Championship entered poker history as the largest-guarantee live tournament ever. It was a very ambitious goal, as the event needed at least 4,080 entries to meet the lofty guarantee, and it was always going to be a close call.
Numbers are now locked in as the registration for the event closed minutes ago, and, in the end, the tournament came up a couple of hundred entries short.
When Day 1D kicked off, the tournament clock was showing 2,312 registrations, so the event needed another 1,769 entries to get over the finish line, as $9,800 of each buy-in went towards the prize pool.
By the time it was all said and done, the tournament clock was showing 1,523, so it came up 246 players short. This is not the final number, as there is still some tallying to do, but it's pretty close to it.
A Promising Start to the Day
It’s pretty much a rule with poker tournaments these days that registration numbers improve with each new starting flight, and the WPT World Championship was no different.
The first two days saw 609 and 730 players, while Day 1C fell just short of 1,000. The final Day 1D flights got off to a great start, as there were almost 1,000 registered players before noon. From there, things kept ticking along, and it became clear it was going to be a close call.
When players left for the dinner break, the tournament clock was showing 1,445 entries, and there were still 90 minutes left for new registrations. But, with over 300 players needed to beat the guarantee, it was pretty clear that goal was out of reach.
By the time the break was over and cards were back in the air, the total for the day came up to 1,523, meaning the overall number of entries for the 2023 WPT World Championship is 3,835, and the organizer will need to make up the difference of 2.4 million.
A Bump Along the Way
Looking at the above number, one might think that the WPT bite off more than they could chew with such a massive guarantee. However, the WPT World Championship Festival has been a resounding success so far, and failing to meet a guarantee that was huge to begin with is probably not a huge deal.
After accounting for the rake, the shortfall comes up to just $886,000, and other tournaments leading up to the Championship have certainly exceeded expectations.
Images courtesy of WPT.com
This is particularly true for the WPT Prime Championship, which saw a turnout of over 10,000, more than doubling its original $5,000,000 promise.
As for the WPT World Championship, it may have come up short in terms of raw numbers, but it attracted many of the biggest names in the game and created the kind of buzz we haven’t seen in a long while.
Talking about the event right after the registration closed, Adam Pliska, WPT President and CEO, said:
We want players to say this was the best player experience. We had so much positive feedback. What i am proudest of is that we've taken player's feedback to heart.
This tournament was substantially better than last, and in my mind, we succeeded. If we have to contribute two or three million to growing poker, kit is a small investment in the long run.
From the players’ perspective, a nice overlay is always good news, as it makes every dollar of their buy-ins worth more, so there will be no complaints from those remaining in the field.
Back in Action Tomorrow
Players have returned from the dinner break to play out the rest of the day, but there will be no more new entries. Those who make it across the finish line will bag their chips and come back for Day 2, which kicks off tomorrow at noon, and they will be joined by 827 players who secured their seat during earlier starting flights.
The prize pool distribution is still being calculated, and we should have that number at or around the start of play tomorrow. The event will pay out approximately 12.5% of the field, so some 480 players will make the money. There are five 90-minute levels planned for tomorrow, so it’s hard to say if the bubble will burst before the end of play.
Either way, we’re in for some exciting action as there are quite a few players on the “ones to watch” list. One of those is Lynn Gilmartin, a WPT anchor who made a very deep run in the last year’s event, and will be looking to improve on that result. She’s starting with one of the largest stacks, so we like her chances.
Other notables who’ll be coming back tomorrow include the likes of Alan Keating, Darren Elias, Erik Seidel, who’s coming hot off of his recent win in the Bahamas, Calvin Anderson, who’s already made the final table of the WPT Prime Championship, etc.
Tomorrow will be the big day at the Wynn, and by the end of it, we’ll probably have a few big stacks emerging and breaking off from the pack. We’re still a few days away from the finish line, though, and with every day, things will get increasingly exciting as we move closer to the one of the largest final tables of the year!