When registration closed yesterday for the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship, only 152 players had registered for the event – the lowest field since the first year of the event in 2003.
Of those 152, twenty-one players had earned their seats by winning previous Season X Main Events, and the first place prize of $1,196,000 was only 8 buy-ins more than the winner of the SCOOP Main Event would have got had he not agreed to a deal.
Is the WPT Event a True Championship?
In previous seasons, the WPT Championship was seen as the event that every professional poker player wanted to win outside of the WSOP Main Event, however it seems that not that many are bothered in 2012. The event´s proximity to the start of next week´s World Series of Poker may have encouraged a couple of extra players to fly to Las Vegas a few days early (Sam Trickett, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu and Guillaume Darcourt), but the rest of the field are Las Vegas regs who couldn´t get on PokerStars (because they live in the States) to compete in the SCOOP series.
Will 2013 be from Bad to Worse?
Many of those who have turned up have complained about the three-day late registration, the protracted structure (just four levels of play per day) and the venue – with Matt Waxman tweeting “Bellagio may have turned into the WORST WPT venue” and Vinny Pahuja expressing the opinion to ESPN that “Jack McClelland [the WPT tournament director] is simply behind the times and hasn’t adjusted to today’s climate at all”.
Meanwhile…. At the Tables
After three days of play and twelve levels of action, only 45 players remain in the event – headed by veteran US poker player Curt Kohlberg. Kohlberg has a substantial 30 BB lead over Nick Schulman, with a further 25BBs back to Guillaume Darcourt, Antonio Esfandiari and Rinat Bogdanov. Matt Marvin Rettenmaier and Steve O´Dwyer also sit comfortably in the top half of the leaderboard, while Sam Trickett and Michael Mizrachi will hope from better from Day 4 (of 9!).
And the WPT Player of the Year is …
The disinterest which has overshadowed the WPT Championship also seems to have spread to the Player of the Year leaderboard with only four of the top ten players actually bothering to turn up for the season finale. Current leader Will Failla was eliminated during Day 3, but will retain his position if Joe Serock fails to finish in the top 15, while the other players with a chance of catching Failla – Daniel Buzgon and Bobby Oboodi – have already busted out of the WPT Championship.
It is all a bit of an anti-climax!