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WPT World Championship Sets Field-Size Record, Misses Guarantee By $2.4 Million

3,835 Entries Still Resulted In A Seven-Figure Overlay, With The Eventual Champion To Earn $5,678,000


This August the World Poker Tour announced that the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas would feature a $40,000,000 guarantee, the largest in poker tournament history. This ambitious goal did indeed inspire a massive turnout. A total of 3,835 entries were made across the $10,400 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament’s four starting flights before registration closed on Friday, Dec. 15. This set a new record for the largest field in WPT main tour history, blowing away the 2,960 entries made in last year’s inaugural running of this event with a 29.6 percent year-over-year increase.

The breakdown of this year’s starting flights was as follows:

Day 1A: 609 entries
Day 1B: 730 entries
Day 1C: 973 entries
Day 1D: 1,523 entries

While this year’s field size was a new high-water mark for the tour, it was still not quite enough to satisfy the unprecedented $40 million guarantee. Each entry added $9,800 to the prize pool, resulting in $37,583,000 for an overlay of $2,417,000.

The $40 million will be paid out among the top 480 finishers, with a min-cash good for $18,700 while the eventual champion will walk away with $5,678,000. The winner will also earn a seat into next year’s running of this event.

The top 48 finishers will cash for at least six figures, while all six players to make the televised final table will all earn seven-figure scores. A full listing of the payouts can be found at the bottom of this article.

“We are growing this franchise and we want to make this something that lasts for many, many years,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska after the final numbers were released according to WPT reporter Jeff Walsh. “The $40 million guarantee is our way of making a truly stretch goal and to say that we are committed. We’re not going any place. We’re building this up. We’re going to continue to make positive changes.”

“But the most important thing we are after – we want players to say that this was the best player experience,” Pliska continued. “And we’ve had so much positive feedback. And a lot of that is that the players have been contributing to that feedback. If you ask me what I’m proudest of is that I truly believe that we have taken the feedback to heart.”

This was far from the first time that an eight-figure guarantee was missed in recent years. The 2018 Caribbean Poker Party main event missed its $10 million guarantee by over $900,000, while the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open main event overlayed by $2.5 million after hitting the same $10 million guarantee in its inaugural running the year prior.

The WPT faced plenty of competition from other top tours, with both the main events of the inaugural World Series of Poker Paradise and the European Poker Tour Prague stops overlapping with the WPT World Championship. The WSOP Paradise $5,300 main event had its own lofty $15 million guarantee, which was technically surpassed (with the 3 percent staff fee counting towards meeting the guarantee) after drawing 3,010 entries. Over in the Czech Republic, a record-setting turnout of 1,285 entries made this year’s ongoing EPT Prague main event the largest in the history of the €5,300 buy-in tournament.

All told, these three overlapping main events will have paid out more than $61 million in total prize money between them.

2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas Payouts:

1st: $5,678,000
2nd: $3,772,200
3rd: $2,798,700
4th: $2,095,300
5th: $1,583,100
6th: $1,207,000
7th: $928,900
8th: $721,600
9th-10th: $566,900
11th-12th: $456,500
13th-14th: $363,300
15th-16th: $291,700
17th-20th: $236,300
21st-24th: $193,100
25th-32nd: $159,200
33rd-40th: $132,500
41st-48th: $111,300
49th-56th: $94,400
57th-64th: $80,700
65th-72nd: $69,700
73rd-80th: $60,800
81st-88th: $53,500
89th-104th: $47,100
105th-120th: $41,900
121st-136th: $37,600
137th-152nd: $34,100
153rd-168th: $31,300
169th-184th: $28,900
185th-208th: $27,000
209th-232nd: $25,500
233rd-264th: $24,400
265th-296th: $23,200
297th-328th: $22,200
329th-360th: $21,200
361st-408th: $20,200
409th-444th: $19,300
445th-480th: $18,700

Photo credit: WPT.