Poker is not a game that is played in the privateness of smoky, stuffy, and dim-lit rooms. There is the right amount of glitz to it, and some may say – ostentatiousness. Tournaments abound and the accompanying prize money is saliva-inducing. Today, poker tournaments take place online and offline, and most commonly, an event is a mix of both.
Which are the most buzz-generating competitions out there that make people fly across continents just to attend? What are the promised rewards and are they worth it? We take a look at the hottest poker tournaments and flesh out the details for you.
WPT – Plucking the Big Poker Tournaments Names
Selecting the premier events is оften a matter of sniffing out where the broadcast rights are. Enter the World Poker Tour (WPT), an event that has been around since the early 2000s and televised both during the playdown and final tables. The interest it stirs is quite palpable and it commands large audiences. The buy-ins range between $3,000 and $25,000. However, players of more modest means can also join should they win a satellite tournament.
It’s, in fact, one of the most appealing features of the World Poker Tour. Everyone who is just beginning their poker career may compete neck-and-neck with the far better player, or at least far better-seasoned players, who have been playing the game for years. All contestants are given an opportunity to win between several hundred thousands and a few million during the WPT Championships and regular events.
WSOP – Poker Tournaments That Matter
If you haven’t heard of the Caesars Entertainment Corporation, you most certainly will. Whether it’s because they have been opening a string of casinos across the US or their endorsement of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), a flagship event that rings in the ears of poker enthusiasts of all professional stripe.
A string of satellite events come and go, offering newly-fledged aspiring professionals a great chance to enter the high-paced fray at the summits of the poker world. Shopping for great poker tournaments, WSOP is a brilliant option. You may prefer to be a high roller, though, because the finals are always a $10,000 affair with no-limit Texas Hold’em final table.
The prize money has been rising exponentially since the 1970s when the event was rolled out and have since risen to feature several million. In 2006, Jamie Gold bagged the largest prize to date, $12,000,000. A true credit to his name.
European Poker Tour – A Classy Affair
The US definitely has the limelight when we talk poker tournaments. Europe, though, has its very own iteration by the name of European Poker Tour (EPT). This time, it’s North Americans that have to leg it all the way up overseas. The event was sponsored by John Duthie, a winner of the Poker Million event, one of Europe’s first serious televised events out there.
Mr Duthie has not minced words since and he sought support from various sources to secure the European Poker Tour, which has been running ever since the early 2000s.
With Mr Duthie at the helm, the EPT has been running for over a decade now. The event, in true European spirit, reunites players from different nationalities and offers prize pools based on the season and available funds – usually between several hundred thousands and a few million.
In 2010, during EPT Berlin, four masked man walked into the Hyatt Hotel and took €242,000, fleeing for several days before finally apprehended and sentenced to three years in prison. Nobody was seriously injured at the time, but security at EPT has been taken a notch more seriously since then.
APPT – А Touch of the Asian Breeze
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour brings the game to an entirely new region. Poker tournaments in the area are popular, for sure, even though Baccarat has been the absolutely favourite across Asia. The event is part of a series of regional tournaments which unfold in Europe and Latin America just as well. The competitive pow-wows are backed by arguably the world’s largest poker site – PokerStars.
There’s been a bit of a hiatus, and the 2017 season didn’t take place, but the event is all primed to return in 2018. Rather modest in its scale, the event still offers great prizes. As early as 2007 Manila, The Philippine commanded some of the paltriest and yet respectable rewards at $179,775. The events in Australia have mostly got a bit more in the way of monetary reward. As part of APPT, Macau is the largest of the poker tournaments to date to be held in Asia.
The Super High Roller Bowl – Stakes Fly High
Not for the faint of heart, the Super High Roller Bowl commands the gut-wrenching $500,000 buy-in. Financial ruin lurks for players at every corner whereas the best stand to win a pretty penny. Held in Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the event does not appeal to the broader public but targets those well-heeled players who are hoping to rake in the big money.
The largest prize pool to date has been $21,000,000, with 2018’s turning out quite a bit shy of that sum, at $14,400,000. The event traditionally sees 7 people bag a small part of the price. 2018’s winner was Justin Bonomo who brought home $5,000,000.
Poker Tournaments for All and Sundry
Even the richest poker tournaments today pry open the doors for the aspiring semi-professionals. More than ever, the competitive meets are promising to provide enthusiasts with hefty opportunities to win their way into a flagship competition.
As long as you’re confident in your game, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own capital. However, if you haven’t much experience at such competitions, the extra stress may prove crucial and relegate you out of competition quickly. The low-entry bar, so far that you have the skills to qualify, has proven quite enticing.
Vying for the Limelight with PCA
When we talk Caribbean, there is a motley bunch of tournaments that compete to be in the limelight. However, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), an annual tournament which gets quite the attention from broadcaster, is a stand-alone high-roller meet. The event has been running since 2004 either as part of the World Poker Tour (WPT), and most recently as its own show.
Remember when we told you that satellite events give you an opportunity to reach the very tops of the competitive poker world? A story was written when amateur player John Dibella won the 2012 PCA main event for $1,775,000. Mr Dibella had previously won two satellite events to qualify for the finals.
The Caribbean Poker Party – One of the Great Poker Tournaments
The untested poker waters of the Caribbean’s have been churned with the arrival for a second consecutive year of the Caribbean Poker Party in 2017. The event brought with it a hefty prize pool of $10,000,000, sporting the first eight-figures guaranteed rewards. As a format, the Caribbean Poker Party is open to adjustments.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what events may be introduced and left out from season to season. Luckily for all poker enthusiast out there, the event was renewed for 2018, and it will be running from 9 November through 18 November. It will feature a MAIN Event along with the $1k MILLIONS Open, a $10k High Roller, a $25k Super High Roller, and $5k MILLIONS Finale.
Tournaments to Keep an Eye Out For
Poker tournaments come and go. The Caribbean Poker Tour (CPT) had not been renewed past its 2016 Season, although hopes remain that the region’s tour may re-launch in 2019. Meanwhile, online poker sites and casinos have been quite supportive of the inauguration of new tournaments, albeit most of them are added as events to the already mentioned mainstream ones.
Nevertheless, now that the US, one of the largest and untapped markets, is amid massive changes in terms of legislation, we may see a number of new competitions before long. All it takes is for a few legal wheels to be greased and the sponsors will start trickling in. In the meanwhile, make sure to tune in and enjoy some of the world’s best poker tournaments. 2018 promises to be packed with poker and you will be of no shortage of great options!