Posts Tagged ‘World Poker Tour Championship’

Major Changes at World Poker Tour Championship

by | Published: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The Season XII WPT World Championship, which began on Monday April 21, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, has seen some major changes in its structure.

For the first time ever, the tour’s season-ending event will be held outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The World Poker Tour Championship event spent its first 11 seasons at the Bellagio in LV, which was once considered the poker mecca of the world.

However, as World Poker Tour President Adam Pliska put it, “sometimes you just gotta shake things up.

“The numbers in the Championship were down and people were noticing that,” Pliska said. “The WPT Championship is something special. With so many other changes that have happened on the World Poker Tour, at some point you have to tend to the championship. It’s a focal point.”

For years, the WPT Championship at the Bellagio was the must-play poker tournament of the season for the game’s biggest superstars. More than $60 million in prize money has been won in the event since 2003, making it the most lucrative event on the WPT schedule by a mile.

However, attendance for the event has been dwindling every year bar one since 2007, where Carlos Mortensen defeated a field of 639 to win nearly $4 million. Compare this to last year’s event, where only 146 players participated. This was the smallest turnout since the debut season of 111 participants in 2003.

This decline, coupled with player feedback about the Bellagio, resulted in some major adjustments being made to the Championship Event this year.

In September, the tour announced Borgata as the new home for its flagship event. Pliska says Atlantic City was chosen due to the parent company’s new presence in NJ’s burgeoning online poker market.

“The moving of the WPT Championship is as much about celebrating legalized, regulated gaming in the United States as anything else,” Pliska told PokerNews. “What we need now in the poker community is to celebrate that as much as possible in order to spread it into multiple states and every state. I think this could open up a lot of opportunities for people to play in WPT events.”

Pliska and his team decided to take advantage of the online poker market for this year’s Championship. Five seats to the tournament have been given away through satellites at, in addition to qualifiers at and even, the official fantasy sports partner of the WPT.

In another move to make the tournament more accessible, the $25,000 price tag was slashed to $15,400. The championship event will also carry a $5 million guaranteed prize pool, with at least $1.35 million going to the champion. The last time the WPT Championship prize pool hit $5 million was in 2011, which was also the last time a player won over $1.35 million.

“When you’re changing tradition, I think you’ve got to reevaluate things. And we have,” Pliska said. “There had been a lot of push to keep the Championship at a level that is prestigious, but at the same time bringing it down to a more accessible level. So that’s what we did.

“We’ll try this, take player feedback and see how it goes.”

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Borgata Introduces State-of-the-Art Poker Chips Following January Scandal

by | Published: Friday, April 11th, 2014

Poker enthusiasts out there may remember the counterfeit chip scandal that rocked the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee. The event was suspended, and later cancelled, after counterfeit chips were found in a player’s hotel toilet. Christian Lusardi, 42, was ultimately charged for the crime.

Borgata aren’t willing to let anything like it happen again. In preparation for the 2014 Borgata Spring Poker Open, which is happening right now, the Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa has introduced a new range of poker chips.

The new state-of-the-art chips were created for the 17-event series running from April 8 – 26 that culminates with the $5 million guarantee World Poker Tour Championship.

Tournament Director Tab Duchateau tweeted a picture of the new chips on Monday, along with the message “Borgata Spring Open Event 1a 1 mill guar. starts tom. at 11am. will be using new chips with enhanced security #warned.”

The poker chips have distinct special markings when viewed under a blue light, making it instantly easier to spot counterfeit ones. Since Monday, the tournament staff has been verifying chips at every table during each break.

“This was very expensive, but very necessary,” Borgata Senior Vice President Joe Lupo told the Associated Press. “In order to have the biggest tournaments in Atlantic City and as the market leader, we need to ensure the integrity of the games.”

“We will be checking chips randomly throughout the day using a new process involving the UV lights,” Lupo concluded.

The European Poker Tour (EPT) recently used similar blue-light technology in its most recent stop in Vienna.

A member of the Borgata staff also spoke to PokerNews Live Reporting Team, and revealed there are “other” means of verifying chips in their power. To keep these a secret from possible cheaters, the verification process was no further explained.

We will see during the rest of the Open if these anti-counterfeit measures find any potential cheaters.

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Mike Linster Wins WPT Jacksonville BestBet Open

by | Published: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Mike Linster outlasted a field of 351 players to win the World Poker Tour Jacksonville BestBet Open yesterday.

Linster produced a consistent performance across the tournament to score the first place prize of $321,521 and an entry into the World Poker Tour Championship.

Linster said he was delighted to score the first big win of his poker career.

“It feels great, I’ve been looking for a big win for a while,” Linster said.

“I’ve had some small victories and this is finally a big one that will hopefully put me on the map on the poker scene.”

Linster had cultivated a tight image throughout the tournament but changed gears and got aggressive on the final table.

“With a six-handed final table it’s always going to be more aggressive in general,” Linster said.

“I tried to pick my spots; I wasn’t as aggressive as I thought I was going to be.

“I made a big bluff early on David Bell and other than that I just had some good spots.

“It was a pretty straight forward final table, nothing crazy.”

With only two players remaining Linster and Bell were almost dead even and what followed was an extremely exciting heads-up battle.

Bell kicked out to a big lead early but Linster was able to get back into the contest with a couple of important double ups.

After almost 100 hands Linster finally secured the win when his Ace-Queen held up against the suited Eight-Six held by Bell.

Linster said he was full of confidence heading into the heads-up battle and admitted that he underestimated Bell.

“David played great, I definitely underestimated him to start the game and he played really well heads-up,” Linster said.

“I have had a lot of experience heads-up, both online and live, and I thought I was going to run him over but that definitely was not the case.”

The result was easily the best in Linster’s poker career improving on his third place finish for $ 132,240 in the Championship Event of the 2012 Mega Stack Series.

We have reached the business end of season XI of the World Poker Tour with the Party Poker Canadian Spring Championship in Montreal the last event before the WPT World Championship that kicks off on May 18th.

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