WPT Makes Controversial Changes for Season 17

WPT Makes Controversial Changes for Season 17
Will the final table relocation work?

The big news coming out of the World Poker Tour offices is the first half of its Season 17 schedule. A television show that begin with a small crew and staff in a Los Angles office has grown is now preparing to enter Season XVII as a publicly-traded, globally-recognized company.

Along with that news came changes, and many poker players are not taking the news well. The idea that all final tables will be held in the new Esports Arena Las Vegas is especially daunting to recreational players and those who live overseas or travel extensively.

So, while the WPT would like to celebrate its latest milestone, it is fending off a reasonable amount of criticism for its final table decision.

Season XVII Schedule

Starting with the non-controversial news, the first half of the next season of World Poker Tour events was announced with events running through the end of 2018.

It all gets underway with a new stop at the Gardens Casino in the Los Angeles area of California, and the main event schedule is as follows:

  • July 21-26 @ Gardens Casino in California, $5,000 buy-in

  • August 3-7 @ Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma, $3,700 buy-in

  • August 18-27 @ Bicycle Casino in California, $570 buy-in for $1M guarantee (WPT500)

  • September 16-21 @ Borgata Casino in New Jersey, $3,500 buy-in

  • September 21-25 @ Live! Casino in Maryland, $3,500 buy-in

  • October 19-23 @ bestbet Poker in Florida, $5,000 buy-in w/bounties

  • November 23-28 @ Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, $3,500 buy-in

  • December 10-15 @ Bellagio Las Vegas in Nevada, $10,400 buy-in

Final Tables

The WPT just finished filming its last Season 16 final tables at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas, a new arena built to accommodate gaming competitions at the Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip. And when they announced Season 17 details, it included the decision to film all televised final tables at that arena going forward.

Of all of the Season 17 tournaments, only nine of them will be filmed for television, though the final list of those tournaments has not yet been revealed.

At those tour stops, the main event action will play down to the official final table of six players, and the action will end. Players will then wait three to six weeks before flying to Las Vegas to play for the win at the final table in the Esports Arena. The pause in the action will be similar to the years-long experiment of the World Series of Poker with the November Nine, though no players will receive minimum payouts prior to appearing at the final table.

According to WPT VP of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael, players’ travel to Las Vegas will be paid by the WPT, but there was no mention of hotel accommodations. And she is currently awaiting approvals from various gaming commissions before knowing exactly which casinos in the United States will allow the tournaments to end with six players remaining and then play the final tables in Las Vegas.

Hael said of the decision, “We firmly believe that by having our televised final tables in this facility, it will open a world of possibilities for the World Poker Tour.”

WPT CEO Adam Pliska noted it will give the final tables “that sport experience.” He added, “We are so proud that we will be able to use this facility in the future and do some innovative things coming up.”

The WPT executives pointed to the cheaper taxes in Nevada as a benefit for players, as well as the time to find coaching before the final table. However, as many who played WSOP November Nine final tables discovered, the delay sometimes interferes with momentum, and coaching isn’t always desired or deemed affordable. Others say this will make it easier for the WPT to obtain large sponsorships, which could ultimately benefit players, though many are skeptical that those perks will be passed down to them.

Some players are excited about the opportunity to play on a major www.

Others are not so thrilled.

Meanwhile, players and fans will have to wait and see what happens and if the televised final table announcement will have any impact on the turnout for those tournaments.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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