The World Poker Tour has packed up the trucks for their first foray into Florida for their Season XVIII schedule. The place to be this Thanksgiving weekend may not be the malls but very well could be the grounds of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL, as the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open riffs the decks for action. This is the first of three stops by the WPT in their 2019-2020 tournament poker season.

$2 Million Guaranteed Prize Pool

The Seminole Hard Rock is pulling no punches in trying to build a nice field for this tournament. There is a $2 million guaranteed prize pool on the line for the players. With a buy in of $3500 (of which $3200 goes to the prize pool), it would take roughly a 625-player field to crack that guarantee. The Seminole Hard Rock is making sure that there’s plenty of opportunities for that magic number to be reached.

There will be two Day Ones, starting on Friday and Saturday, with unlimited reentry into the tournament until the start of Level 9 on each day. If a player is unable to build a stack on Day 1A, they are allowed to come back on Day 1B and take some more shots at running up some chips. Late registration for the tournament will also be open until the start of Level 9 on each Day One.

The Big Blind Ante will be employed once the antes are reached on Level 3 and, once the tournament reaches one table before the money bubble, the action clock will go into operation for the duration of the tournament. The tournament will play through the weekend, determining the final table on December 3 (Tuesday). The final table on December 4 will be live streamed beginning at 2:30 and run until a champion is crowned. That victor will walk away with a good six-figure score, a seat at the 2020 WPT Tournament of Champions and their name on the WPT Champions’ Cup.

History Building for the Tournament

This is only the second year of the tournament but, if it holds true to its inaugural running, it should be a highly entertaining event.

In the 2018 version of this tournament, 898 entries came out to completely obliterate the guarantee. In creating over a $2.8 million prize pool, 113 players took home some cash from their sojourn to South Florida, with a min cash walking off with $5845. The final table was also entertaining in crowning a first-time champion who had a tremendous 2018 tournament poker season.

The six-man final table was headlined by former WPT champion Ravi Raghavan, but he would be the first one busted from the tournament and on only the second hand of the final table. He would try to double up through Marius Gierse, but his A-J didn’t have any answers for Gierse’s A-K and left in sixth place. After this, the eventual champion would take command of the table and the tournament.

Pavel Plesuv was already having a good 2018 and he made it great in storming to the title. He would be responsible for the elimination of every other player from the event, eventually running up against James Gilbert for the crown. With a 6:1 lead, it was thought that it would be a quick run before Plesuv would take down Gilbert. Instead, it would take 68 hands before Plesuv finally vanquished Gilbert, with his A-J scoring against Gilbert’s pocket nines on a A-Q-3-J-Q board, to pick up the $504,820 payday.

After scoring more than $3 million in winnings in 2018, it has been a tough year for Plesuv. He has only earned $114,666 in 2019 (courtesy of the Hendon Mob database), but all could be rectified with a strong defense of his 2018 title. The cards will hit the air at 11AM on Friday as the WPT, and the players themselves, looks to enjoy their first trip to South Florida for the Season XVIII schedule.

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