WSOP Announces Tournament of Champions at New LA WSOPC Stop

Commerce Casino

5 minutes

Last Updated: March 31, 2024

With the World Series of Poker (WSOP) now just around the corner, thousands of poker players from all parts of the world are getting their travel arrangements in place and setting up their bankrolls for this year’s Series.

For those who have won a WSOP bracelet or WSOPC ring over the past year, the summer held promise of a million dollar freeroll, the popular Tournament of Champions (TOC), which has been played in Las Vegas for the previous two years, and in a number of other locations under a different name in the past.

While much of the poker world was under the impression the event would return to Vegas during the Series this year, WSOP has now come out with an announcement that the TOC will be played at the Commerce Casino in LA, during a newly introduced WSOPC festival.

The Commerce Casino, one of the most popular card rooms in Los Angeles, will host a WSOPC series from May 10 to 24, with the TOC played from May 22 to 24, just days before the official WSOP at Horseshoe and Paris.

The late announcement caused some outrage in the poker community, with many players considering it an unethical move on part of the WSOP.

Whether you think so too or not, it is important to work with all the information, so let’s get into it and find out exactly what’s in store in LA and how the new venue for the TOC could affect the players who qualified for this year’s event.

New WSOPC Festival Added to the Schedule

The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) is a tournament series of lesser prestige and significance than WSOP, but one that gives players a chance to compete all around the country (and beyond) all year long.

The 19th season of the WSOPC saw players travel to many popular poker destinations, and Los Angeles has just been added to that list, with the world-famous Commerce Casino acting as the host for the last festival of the season.

The festival will feature 18 WSOPC ring events, with champions of all of those getting direct entry into the TOC, along with hundreds of others who have won that right by winning a WSOPC bracelet or ring throughout the season.

The introduction of a brand new WSOPC stop at a card room as popular as the Commerce Casino is certainly good news, as many locals and Circuit travelers will be all too happy to get down to LA and compete for the numerous rings.

The $1,700 Main Event at Commerce will come with a million dollar guarantee, same as the TOC, which will be a complete freeroll for all the qualified players.

Plenty of other interesting event will play out as well, including the $600 Housewarming Event with a  $500k guarantee, a $1,1000 Mystery Bounty with a  $100k guarantee, and numerous WSOP Main Event satellites with $11k packages up for grabs.  

The real question, then, is why so many poker players have been outraged by the WSOP decision to move the tournament to LA at such a late date, and whether the decision was one that helps them or the players.

Promises Kept and Promises Broken

To start with, it is important to note that WSOP promised all players who win a WSOP bracelet or ring during any of the WSOP events in Las Vegas, Europe, Paradise, online, or at any of the WSOPC stops, would get free entry into the million dollars guaranteed TOC during this year’s WSOP.

On the Series’ official website, in fine print, it was clearly stated that the exact terms of the event could be changed at any time, and that is exactly what happened this time around.

While WSOP did not change the guaranteed prize pool or the qualification parameters, the change of destination may affect some players negatively.

Many on social networks have suggested that WSOP is trying to get as many players to enter the LA leg of WSOPC ahead of the WSOP festival in Las Vegas by placing the TOC there as part of the new series.

One of those was Ethan “Rampage” Yau, who listed the extra 7% tax charged by the state of California for all players from outside the state who cash in the event, and the extra travel expenses and inconvenience as his reasons to boycott the event.

He is likely to be joined by many others who believe this to be an insult of sorts, although the $1,000,000 freeroll that could be worth thousands in equity seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

On the flip side, Los Angeles is not too far from Las Vegas, and the Commerce series ends just ahead of the Las Vegas one, which means some players will surely fly out to LA, play the TOC, and then head straight to Las Vegas and start preparing for the Series.

Has the TOC Always Been Played in Vegas?

Many players came out in outrage over the changing venue for the TOC, and it seems that many of them believe the TOC has always been a Las Vegas thing.

However, this is hardly true, as the tournament has only been played under the current name in Las Vegas for the last couple of years.

Before that, the event took place online during the Covid-19 pandemic, and was played at the Cherokee stop of the WSOPC from 2015 to 2019. Even before that, the freeroll took place in Atlantic City, New Orleans, and at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Source: PokerGO

The Circuit National Championship was a slightly different event than the Tournament of Champions, but the two are the same for all intents and purposes.

While adding the TOC to the Commerce WSOPC festival may help the WSOP bring in some extra players, the change of venue was probably not as dramatic as some have suggested it to be, and will likely not end up influencing too many players to miss the biggest freeroll of the year.

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