During its fifteen years of existence, the World Poker Tour has established itself as a favorite poker brand to both players and fans of this thrilling game. The first-ever season of one of the world’s largest live poker tours took place in 2002/2003. That debut season culminated with the first-ever WPT Championship, a $25,000 buy-in event held in the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Alan Goehring beat a 111-person field to enter poker history as the first champion of the first WPT season-ending event. The player took home $1,011,886 for his accomplishment.
From Season I through Season VIII, the WPT season-ending event was known as the WPT Championship. In Season IX, the tournament’s name was changed to WPT World Championship. Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas remained the host venue for the season-ending event through Season XI. Atlantic City’s Borgata hosted it in Seasons XII and XIII. And the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida was the host venue for the tournament for Seasons XIV and XV. Apart from the change of location, it also saw a change of name. As from Season 2015/2016, what had originally been the WPT Championship became the WPT Tournament of Champions.
Daniel Weinman won the latest such event mere days ago, scooping $381,500 for his deed and a number of other prizes. Although what the player accomplished was indisputably a big success, particularly given the fact that he faced some of the world’s best players, he has actually not been the biggest season-ending Championship winner over the past 15 years. In fact, Weinman won the smallest ever payout out of all 15 Championship winners. The reason for this is the fact that the WPT Tournament of Champions featured a $15,000 buy-in fee and generated a prize pool of $1,090,000 from all 66 tournament entries this year.
To celebrate the end of WPT’s fifteenth season, Casino News Daily has decided to look back through the years and to write a little something about the five biggest WPT season-ending event winners.
Carlos Mortensen can easily be described as a WPT legend for several reasons. He is among the very few players to have won three WPT Main Tour Main Event titles over the years. And Mortensen has entered the WPT history as the biggest WPT World Championship winner.
The player won the event at the end of Season V. He collected a first-place prize of $3,970,415 for his accomplishment. Mortensen faced competition from 639 players and played against Kirk Morrison heads-up. The latter scooped $2,011,135 for finishing second. The event generated a prize pool of $15,495,750 and rewarded 100 players for their performance.
Joe Bartholdi Jr
The player won the WPT Championship Season IV. His share of the prize pool amounted to $3,760,165. Bartholdi had to defeat 604 other players on his road to victory. He faced Davidson Matthew heads-up who collected not a bad payout of $1,903,950 for his runner-up finish.
The fourth-ever WPT Championship featured a prize pool of $14,671,250. The money was split in payouts to the top 100 finishers.
David Chiu won the Season VI event for $3,389,140 in prize money. The tournament attracted an overall of 545 entries who generated $13,216,250 for the prize pool. The top 100 finishers were paid a portion of the money.
Chiu faced Danish poker pro Gus Hansen heads-up. Here it is important to note that Hansen, along with Mortensen and few other players, has won three WPT titles over the course of his career, so he was really a challenge to overcome, but as it can be seen, Chiu did more than well by defeating him.
The WPT Championship Season III was won by Tuan Le. The player took down the tournament for the amount of $2,856,150. His share was the largest of a $10,961,000 prize pool. As many as 453 players entered the event and the top 100 finishers received a payout. Le faced Paul Maxfield heads-up, with the latter taking home $1,689,390 for his efforts.
Martin De Knijff
De Knijff took down the event at the end of Season II. He received $2,728,356 for winning the second-ever WPT Championship. The tournament attracted 343 entries who generated a prize pool of $8,342,000. The top 50 finishers received a share of the money. Hasan Habib finished runner-up for $1,372,223.