The 2022 World Poker Tour is already underway. The first two events of the year, the Lucky Hearts Poker Open and the Spring Festival, have already been completed. Next, the WPT is traveling to the Netherlands for the DeepStacks Amsterdam event on March 29th.
Fans of the WPT Main Tour will have to wait a little while longer for the next tournament. The second event of the 20th WPT Main Tour is the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April. It is scheduled to take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
The 20th season of the World Poker Tour could be one for the ages. Brian Altman is just one major win away from tying the all-time record. Outside of the WTP Main Tour, there are plenty of exciting tournaments on the schedule. We will also review some changes to the WPT in recent years.
What Is the World Poker Tour?
The World Poker Tour is a year-long series of tournaments that take place around the globe. It started in 2002 and quickly rose in popularity as an alternative to the World Series of Poker.
Official World Poker Tour events happen regularly, but not all of them count toward the Main Tour rankings.
Comparisons are often made between the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker. However, the two are very different. For one, the WSOP has been around more than three decades longer than the WPT. Events in the WSOP also typically have larger pots than those in the WPT.
Many professionals still compete in the WPT Main Tour despite the lower payouts. That is due in large part to the chance to win the WPT Player of the Year award. Unlike other brands, the WPT takes into account a player’s performance throughout the year. Many people argue that the WPT system gives a more accurate ranking of the best poker players in the world.
Who Is Playing in the 2022 World Poker Tour?
Part of the magic of the World Poker Tour is that the low buy-in amounts allow for easy entry. However, only the first half of the tour has been announced, so predicting the full roster is impossible. Instead, we will have to settle for looking at some of the players who have already won events this season in the WPT.
The early season leader in the 2022 WPT Player of the Year race is Alexander Yen. The Main Tour has only had one event so far, which Yen won. His victory at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open gave him 1,400 points., thrusting him into first place. It is early in the season, but Yen is currently 250 points ahead of the next player.
Anton Wigg sitting just behind Yen with 1,150 points in WPT’s Player of the Year rankings. Wigg placed second at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January. He has competed sporadically in the WPT over the last decade. However, he had only earned a total of 225 WPT points prior to this season.
Yen and Wigg are the current front-runners, but most of the WPT Main Tour is still to be played. Last year, Brian Altman, Balakrishna Patur, and Jack Hardcastle all finished in the top-3. Altman eventually walked away with the Player of the Year award after totaling 3,200 points.
How Many Events Are on the World Poker Tour?
In previous seasons, the WPT Main Tour would begin in the middle of the calendar year and stretch into the next. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed part of the 18th season. Now, the 20th WPT season appears poised to be played entirely in 2022.
So far, only a dozen or so events have been announced for the 2022 World Poker Tour. However, just three of the events scheduled so far will be part of the WPT Main Tour.
Last year, the WPT Main Tour had 20 total events, so several more tournaments should be added to the schedule eventually. Outside of the Main Tour, the WPT also has three events scheduled for the WPT Prime series. The first WPT Prime event is scheduled for the end of May. The WPT will also occasionally host special events, such as high roller tournaments. Last year, they had 10 special events but none have been announced yet for 2022.
Past World Poker Tour Champions
At the end of each World Poker Tour season, the WPT traditionally hosts the WPT Tournament of Champions. The final tournament has gone through several name changes over the years. For the first eight seasons, it was called the WPT Championship. The first person to win the championship was USA’s Alan Goehring.
In its ninth season, the WPT changed the name of the championship tournament to the WPT World Championship. The first winner of the tournament under its new name was the USA’s Scott Seiver. He won over $1.6 million in the final tournament.
After five seasons, the championship game was renamed again to the WPT Tournament of Champions. Morocco’s Farid Yachou became the first person to win the tournament under its new name. Unfortunately, the pandemic has derailed the championship tournament in recent years. The last person to win the WPT Tournament of Champions was Germany’s Ole Schemion in Season 17.
The original WPT Championship was open to any player that was willing to pay the $25,000 buy-in price. After the poker boom started to decline, the WPT decreased the buy-in price to $15,000 starting in Season 14. That season was also the year championship tournament was renamed the WPT Tournament of Champions. To fit with the new name, the tournament is now only open to players who win a WPT Main Event.
What Are the Prizes for Winning the World Poker Tour?
Anyone who has played poker has dreamed of going all-in and winning big. For players on the World Poker Tour, those dreams can become a reality. As with other tournament series, players get to keep their winnings from the individual tournaments. They can also win prizes for their winning the Player of the Year award and the WPT Tournament of Champions.
The WPT Championship tournament has one of the highest buy-in prices among WPT events. As a result, the final prize has been upwards of a million dollars a dozen times. Unfortunately, the decline in poker’s popularity has hurt the prize money.
The WPT Player of the Year is a different beast entirely. To take home to coveted award, players must earn the most Player of the Year points throughout the year. Points are awarded based on players performances in tournaments throughout the year. For instance, winning a tournament with a prize pool of over $10 million will earn a player 1600 points. Any player that finishes in the money gets points.
Last year, Jacob Ferro won the award despite not winning a single event throughout the year. On top of the Player of the Year title, players in the top-3 also earn a WPT passport. The passports range from $5,000 to $15,000. A player can use their passport to as a substitute for paying the buy-in price at a WPT tournament.
The World Poker Tour is one of the biggest international poker events each year. In addition to competing for a shot at the WPT Champions Cup, players vie for the Player of the Year title. For updates throughout the WPT season, check out our weekly Poker blogs every Friday.