We are only a month away from the 2023 World Series of Poker, so it is only natural that the two major tournament poker circuits get in their last action before everyone goes to “Summer Camp” in Las Vegas. On Friday, the World Poker Tour will open action on their latest trek to Florida. Later in the weekend, the European Poker Tour will be in the swanky confines of the French Riviera for what used to be their season finale tournament.
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Opens for Play Friday
The WPT will be in the lovely surroundings of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, kicking off action in what has become one of their marquee events. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will get the cards in the air on Friday morning with a $3500 buy-in tournament. That’s right – the action begins at the unheard-of hour of 11 AM, but there are plenty of reasons for those in the area to come to the tables.
The Seminoles have set a $3 million guaranteed prize pool, meaning that “only” roughly 900 entries must be received for the guarantee to be broken. The WPT events at any Seminole Hard Rock property in Florida routinely rocket past that mark, as evidenced by the last stop the WPT had in Hollywood. In November, the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N Roll Poker Open drew in 1541 to nearly create a $5 million prize pool.
If you are looking to take part, you’re going to have many chances to make it to Day 2 on Sunday. Both Day 1A on Friday and Day 1B on Saturday feature a re-entry option, allowing for a potential bad beat (or a mistake) to be eradicated from the memory. If a player fails there, then that’s it…there are no more chances, although most players should find a bag with four shots at it. After the field comes together on Saturday, the run goes on to the final table, which will be held on Tuesday (May 2).
Oddly enough, this will not be the final chance for the players to take part in WPT action before the WSOP. The WPT will try to squeeze two more tournaments in at the WPT Choctaw in Oklahoma and the WPT Gardens Poker Championship in California. Both of those tournaments will be held in May with only sixteen (16) days between each other.
EPT Gets “Ritzy” on the French Riviera
The EPT is heading towards what used to be their end-of-season tournament, and what a location they have chosen. The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort is playing host to the EPT Monte Carlo beginning on Sunday, and the crème of the European poker community is ready to get warmed up for their trip to the States come the end of May. The championship will be determined next weekend.
The history of the EPT in Monte Carlo is a memorable one. Originally the tournament was called the EPT Grand Final, recognizing the season-ending nature of the tournament, and some of the biggest names in the history of European poker have won the title. The inaugural Grand Final champion was Rob Hollink, who battled through a field that featured such notables as Eugene Katchalov and Gus Hansen.
Hollink is not the only top name to have captured arguably the most prestigious title on the EPT circuit. In 2007, Gavin Griffin etched his name into the poker record books by capturing the second leg of poker’s Triple Crown – a championship at the WSOP, the EPT, and the WPT. Less than a year after the Monte Carlo championship, Griffin would become the first-ever Triple Crown champion when he won on the WPT.
In 2013, it was the most difficult final table ever assembled for the EPT Grand Final. With Freddy Deeb, Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu, and others arranged around the felt, Steve O’Dwyer demonstrated his poker prowess in taking the entire enchilada. Other names such as Adrian Mateos, Manig Loeser, and Jan Bendik have also etched their names on the EPT Monte Carlo trophy (the tournament was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic).
The next couple of weeks will be chocked full of poker action, but it is only in preparation for the upcoming WSOP! The WPT and the EPT will crown major champions and poker fandom will get an idea of who to keep an eye on towards the marathon in Las Vegas at the end of May.