WPT poker tournament at Wynn Las Vegas to have $15M guaranteed prize pool

In this Dec. 11, 2011, file photo, Bundles of cash and the trophy for the 10th annual 2011 WPT ...

The World Poker Tour is celebrating its 20th anniversary by hosting the richest live guaranteed tournament prize pool in poker history.

The WPT World Championship No-limit Hold’em event will take place Dec. 12 through 20 at Wynn Las Vegas and features a massive $15 million guaranteed prize pool.

The $10,400 buy-in event is the culmination of the WPT’s championship festival that runs Dec. 1-20 at Wynn and includes more than a dozen tournaments.

“I think 20th anniversary to us is really a celebration of survival and all the people that made a difference,” World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska said. “I think it’s a celebration of the industry in many ways as well. It dispels one myth that was always a common myth in the early days that this is a fad, that it’s a passing thing. It was not.”

The WPT World Championship event will have three “Day 1” flights starting Dec. 12, with players permitted a single entry per flight. The final table is scheduled for Dec. 20.

Last summer, the Wynn Millions Main Event featured a $10 million guarantee that was believed to be the largest guarantee ever for a poker tournament prize pool in Las Vegas. Andrew Moreno emerged with the $1.46 million first prize.

In March, Wynn hosted another $10 million guaranteed prize pool for its main event, with Tony Sinishtaj earning more than $1.65 million for the victory.

Both tournaments surpassed their guarantees.

The winter championship festival at Wynn will become the flagship event for the WPT, with multiple off-the-felt activities and events scheduled around the poker tournaments.

The series includes the televised $1,100 buy-in World Poker Tour Prime Championship with a $2 million guaranteed prize pool.

The Wynn Mystery Bounty event runs Dec. 16 through 19 and also has a $2 million guaranteed prize pool. Players will draw for cash prizes up to $100,000 after eliminating a competitors.

“We offer our guests the biggest and best poker experiences available, coupled with the world-class service and amenities that can only be found at Wynn Las Vegas,” said Ryan Beauregard, executive director of poker operations for the Wynn. “In partnership with WPT, we have created a festival that will be a one-of-a-kind, must-attend event for both our current and new players.”

The WPT debuted on the Travel Channel in 2003 and will cap its 20th season in December.

The show remains popular with viewers and enjoyed a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers tuned in to poker on over-the-top streaming services.

“At the beginning it was like a television show, which is, ‘Oh, OK, we got picked up or not,’ ” Pliska said. “And we didn’t know if there was much life beyond that.

“Having now been one of the longest-surviving TV shows but having really globalized. We put the world in the World Poker Tour.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.