The Poker Fan’s Ultimate Guide to the WPT World Championship

One year ago, the World Poker Tour and Wynn Las Vegas made a bold move in hosting a $10,400 WPT World Championship with a $15 million guaranteed prize pool. The tournament drew 2,960 entries and nearly doubled the guarantee, setting the stage for an even bolder move in 2023.

The 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas boasts a $40 million guaranteed prize pool – more than two-and-a-half times larger than what was already the largest live tournament guarantee in poker history.

As grand a venture as this singular tournament, which kicks off on December 12, is, it’s only one part of a poker festival at Wynn Las Vegas that is chock full of intriguing events. The $1,100 WPT Prime Championship returns for the second consecutive year, on December 7, with a $5 million guarantee of its own. The WPT is also bringing back the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop – the first time the historic event has been held under its banner.

Add in the return of the WPT Ladies Championship, the WPT Premier Meet-Up Game, and nearly a month’s worth of tournaments at Wynn Las Vegas from November 29 through December 23, and you have an event and a destination that no poker player will want to miss out on.

Let’s dig into everything you’ll need to know about the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Festival.

WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas

The eponymous $10,400 tournament serves as the centerpiece for the festival. There will be four starting flights, with Day 1A landing on Tuesday, December 12, and running through four consecutive days through Day 1 D on Friday, December 15. The starting time for each opening flight will be 11 a.m.

Every player who enters this tournament will start with 100,000 chips, and there will be 10 60-minute levels played on each Day 1 session. Those who bag chips will return at 12 p.m., which will be the starting time for each subsequent day through Day 6 on Wednesday, December 20. On that day, the field will play down to the final table of six.

On Thursday, December 21, those six players will return to battle for millions of dollars on the livestreamed and filmed for television WPT World Championship final table, which is set to begin at 4 p.m.

Everyone in the field will look to follow in the footsteps of 2022 WPT World Championship winner Eliot Hudon, who took home $4,136,000 along with a permanent spot on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup.

WPT World Championship Qualifiers

For those players who want to win their way into the WPT World Championship field for less than the $10,400 buy-in, there are a wide variety of ways to qualify online, on-site at Wynn Las Vegas, or at other WPT Casino Partners. At Wynn Las Vegas alone there will be more than 450 seats on the line in live satellites, including a 75-seat guaranteed tournament on December 11.

WPT Global players can play their way in for as little as $5, winning their way up the ladder, or play a direct WPT Championship Qualifier every Sunday for $1,060 at 5:30 p.m. EST for the chance at one of eight guaranteed $12,400 Passports. There’s also a $220 buy-in event on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. with one guaranteed WPT Championship Passport.

ClubWPT players have a handful of ways to play their way into the WPT Championship. Most notably, there is a $150,000 WPT World Championship Challenge in which a 300-player field will compete for one of 10 $12,500 Passports.

WPT Prime Championship

After a season of record-setting turnouts in WPT Prime events around the world, the WPT Prime Championship at Wynn Las Vegas will serve as a fitting culmination. The prize pool carries a $5 million guarantee, with action kicking off for Day 1A on Thursday, December 7. There will be four starting sessions in total, with Day 1D taking place on Sunday, December 10. All Day 1s will start at 11 a.m.

Players will start with 40,000 chips and play until 12.5 percent of the starting field remains on Day 1. The survivors of the four starting flights will return on Monday, December 11 at 12 p.m., and those who make it through Day 2 will come back on December 12 to play down to the final table of six. Those who make the final table will return one week later, on December 19, to play out the livestreamed final table at 4 p.m.

The defending champion of this event is Steven Song, who won $712,650 in this event and ultimately went on to win multiple GPI Player of the Year awards thanks in large part to the value of this particular victory.

$1 Million WPT Big One for One Drop

Even in an era of Super High Roller tours and nosebleed cash games, the allure of a $1 million buy-in tournament is undeniable. The WPT Big One for One Drop will bring together some of the biggest names and deepest pockets that poker has to offer, with the action kicking off December 18 at 1 p.m.

The three-day event will culminate on December 20, with a livestreamed (and filmed for television) final table starting at 4 p.m.

There have been a handful of $1 million buy-in tournaments under the One Drop banner since 2012, with a list of champions that includes Antonio Esfandiari, Dan Colman, and Justin Bonomo.

Other WPT World Championship Festival Highlights

The Premier Meet-Up Game at the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas serves as the first major highlight of the festival. On December 1, starting at 9 a.m., WPT Ambassadors and talent, along with other special guests, will come together in the Wynn Las Vegas poker room for cash game action. Confirmed attendees include Phil Ivey, Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen, Tony Dunst, Vince Van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin, and Matt Savage.

The $1,100 WPT Ladies Championship returns for the second straight year, running from December 6 through December 8. The defending Ladies

The WPT World Championship Players Party takes place on December 11, and for the second consecutive year, it’ll take place at AREA15.

The Race for WPT Season 21 Player of the Year

With four qualifying tournaments in the WPT Season 21 Player of the Year race, Bin Weng is in the driver’s seat. After making back-to-back final tables at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and WPT Choctaw, and winning the biggest payout of the season so far at SHRPS, Weng has nearly twice as many points as the nearest contender.

Sri Sangannagari, who finished second to Weng at SHRPS, sits in second, followed by four other WPT Main Tour champions – Ricard Lee (WPT Australia), Jared Jaffee (WPT Choctaw), Ky Nguyen (WPT Gardens Poker Championship) and Scott Eskenazi (WPT Rolling Thunder).

There are four tournaments that could still alter the course of the race. Two of them take place in November in Florida – the WPT bestbet Scramble in Jacksonville, and the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open in Hollywood. The WPT Prime Championship and WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December round out the eligible events.

Complete WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Schedule