For almost two decades, the World Poker Tour has brought the magic, the drama and the skill of poker to the television viewers. As they prepare for their eighteenth season of action, the WPT has announced which venue and tournament will earn the honor of holding the Season XVIII season opener.

The Gardens Casino to Host Season Opener

The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, will be the location for the inaugural stop of Season XVII of the WPT. For the second consecutive year, the 2019 Gardens Poker Festival will play host to a $5000 Main Event from July 20 to July 25, when the champion will be crowned. In addition to winning the first stop of the new season, the Gardens Casino will gift the victor with a brand-new BMW X1. Preliminary events, including satellites for the Main Event, will begin on July 12.

“The Gardens Casino looks forward to opening Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour with another grand event inside our WPT Tournament Room,” Cavin Quintanilla, Tournament Manager of The Gardens Casino, said during the stop announcement. “Players can expect another exciting tournament as we continue to strengthen our partnership with the World Poker Tour.”

2018 Global Poker Award winner Angelica Hael, the Vice President of Global Tour Management for the WPT, was in tune with Quintanilla’s comments. “Following two incredibly successful events at The Gardens Casino in Season XVII, the World Poker Tour prepares to open Season XVIII at this wonderful property. The WPT Gardens Poker Festival is sure to attract players from around the globe who are looking to capture one of the most prestigious titles on the World Poker Tour.”

Strong History of Legendary Venues to Host Opener for WPT

The WPT has given the opening tournament of a WPT season to some highly prestigious casinos and card rooms. The very first season of the WPT saw the Bellagio host its Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2002 as the first ever event for the tour, with another U. S. tournament, the Legends of Poker from the Bicycle Casino, also in the mix as the first event. For a few years in a row, the Aviation Club in Paris served as the season-opening host for the WPT Grand Prix de Paris, one of the most popular (and arguably classiest) stops for the WPT.

There have also been a couple of venues that joined the Bellagio in Vegas as opening host for the WPT. The Mirage hosted the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown in 2005 and, along with the Mandalay Bay, served as the first two venues for stops on the WPT in Seasons VI and VII. Foreign sites have also served as the opening stop for past seasons of the WPT, including Beijing, Montreal, Cyprus, Venice and Barcelona.

The start of the WPT season is also beginning to creep closer to the end of the World Series of Poker. In the past, the WPT season would occasionally start before the WSOP and not resume until August after the event. Now, the WPT will be starting their season almost immediately following the close of the WSOP.

Other Dates Not Announced

The WPT hasn’t given any indications as to what the rest of the Season XVIII schedule will look like. According to the WPT website, there are only two other stops – the WPT UK at Dusk ‘till Dawn Casino in Nottingham in September and the WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal in October – currently on the roster. The WPT will more than likely continue with the precedent set in Season XVII and hold all the final tables at the HyperX eSports Arena in Las Vegas, although this hasn’t been set in stone yet.

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