The World Poker Tour announced this week that its season-ending Tournament of Champions (TOC) event will head to ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for Season XVI. The event will be filmed for the Season XVI television series broadcast on FSN.
The $15,000 buy-in WPT Tournament of Champions is scheduled for May 2018 and is open to WPT Champions Club members only. While previous seasons’ club members can buy in directly, each Main Tour Main Event winner from Season XVI gets an automatic entry into the event that also includes airfare and hotel accommodations. Does that mean two-time Season XVI champ Art Papazyan gets two bullets?
A Blossoming Partnership
It comes as little surprise that the WPT’s most exclusive event would take place at ARIA as the WPT and the renowned Las Vegas casino have partnered successfully for countless events in recent history.
VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour Angelica Hael summed up the WPT’s history with ARIA.
“Season XVI marks the fifth season that the World Poker Tour has partnered with ARIA Resort & Casino, and we are thrilled to take our relationship to new heights with ARIA to host the celebrated WPT Tournament of Champions.
“ARIA and WPT have generated more than 16,000 tournament entries and awarded more than $8.1 million in prize money in our events together over the past four seasons, and we look forward to building upon this success for a world-class poker festival at ARIA Resort & Casino that culminates in the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.”
CEO of the World Poker Tour Adam Pliska is equally excited to conclude a remarkable season at the Vegas venue.
“World Poker Tour is honored to have ARIA Resort & Casino as host of the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions and to return to Las Vegas, the global home of poker and the city where it all began for the WPT. Season XVI of the World Poker Tour has been truly historic, with the tour awarding its one-billionth prize dollar and traveling to new regions of the world with events in Beijing, India, and South America. We are proud to cap it off with the prestigious WPT Tournament of Champions at the extraordinary ARIA Resort & Casino.”
Previously, the flagship WPT event was called the WPT Championship (Seasons I – VIII) and then the WPT World Championship (Seasons IX – XIII). The event began as a $25,000 buy-in hosted at the Bellagio. In Seasons XII and XIII, it moved to the Borgata and was lowered to a $15,000 + $400 buy-in. Only in the past two years has it been the exclusive event that it is, reserved only for previous WPT champions.
The first two TOCs were held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Farid Yachou become the first “champion of champions” by winning Season XIV’s TOC for $381,600 along with a 2016 Corvette. Daniel Weinman took down the 2017 edition for $318,500 and a new 2018 Audi S5 Coupe after defeating Michael Mizrachi heads up.
Season XVI Schedule
While further details for the May WPT Tournament of Champions Festival at ARIA remain to come, the festival will include the final Main Tour event of Season XVI, giving players one last chance to qualify and gain entry into the elite TOC.
The 2018 portion of the Season XVI schedule apart from the ARIA stop is as follows:
|Jan. 10-15||€3,300 WPT European Championship||SpielBank Berlin (Berlin, Germany)|
|Jan. 19-24||$3,500 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open||Seminole Hard Rock (Hollywood, FL)|
|Jan. 28-Feb. 2||$3,500 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open||Borgata (Atlantic City, NJ)|
|Feb. 10-12||CA$5,000 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic||Fallsview (Ontario, Canada)|
|Feb. 24-March 1||$10,000 WPT L.A. Poker Classic||Commerce (Commerce, CA)|
|March 2-6||$3,500 WPT Rolling Thunder||Thunder Valley (Lincoln, CA)|
|April 13-18||$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown||Seminole Hard Rock (Hollywood, FL)|
Be sure to check back at PokerNews as we bring the latest on the WPT Tournament of Champions and other WPT events.
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