At only one player shy of 3600 entries over it’s six starting flights and a prize-pool of $1,799,500 – the partypoker powered WPT500 at Aria may have just redefined what value in a $500 event should look like.
Conveniently hosted to coincide with things winding down at the World Series of Poker, the tournament gave players the proverbial “one last kick at the cat” to make put their summer deep in the black, or at the very least access to an enormous entry field event they otherwise might not be bankrolled for.
Boasting a top prize of $260,000 and a final 9 that fought for nearly $900,000, the payout structure still allowed for a payout structure that seen a generous ~12% collect some cash for their efforts – in fact the unique cashing format of the WPT500 was the subject of much of the players delight as you didn’t necessarily have to make Day 2 to be in the money…
There were 5 starting flights, Days 1a-1e, as wells as a special 1F “turbo” last chance the morning of Day 2 in the $500 + $65 – players hit the money spots on Day 1 with a min-cash of $750, but if they made it down to final 5% of each heat, they were coming back to at least $1,250 and a chance for a lot more. If they didn’t make it on one attempt, wanted to improve there chances of hitting the big money by accumulating an even bigger stack to carry forward, or finally to cash multiple times in the SAME tournament, players had the option of playing all 6 flights once, that was of course before the initial guarantee of $1,000,000 was quickly smashed and seen demand grow daily entry numbers to 700+ and alternate lists 300 players long as the even the larger than normal poker room with a capacity of 430 players was pushed to the redline.
Always accommodating, the WPT and amazing host venue Aria Resort & Casino made sure to get seats for anyone willing to wait and be in line before registration officially closed at 4:30 each day (noon starts), even closing cash games until things were settled in.
While the Royal Flush Girls and WPT TV personalities Mike Sexton, Tony “Bond18” Dunst, Kara Scott & Lynn Gilmartin were of course all in the house, but trying to list off all of those big names, past WPT Champions, and partypoker qualifiers in attendance would fill this page, so we’ll stick to listing the final 6:
1st – $260,000 Sean Yu
2nd – $180,000 Kareem Marshall
3rd – $120,000 Scott “Big Risky” Clements (WPT Champion, NAPC Niagara Falls 2007)
4th – $90,000 Christian “Charder” Harder
5th – $70,000 Jeffery Ray
6th – $55,000 Luis Nargentino
With zero doubt that this was fantastic and incredibly received innovation to the way smaller buy-in events can produce huge opportunity, the real question is where and when can we expect a similar offering again? Was this a sign of the kind of success we can also expect from WPTDeepStacks, via partypoker support and catering to mid-major players? Typically speaking $500 events in Canada have seen from 200-600 entries, but those times might just be changing as players see what can be done when a lot of heart goes in…
What we also do know for sure is that comparatively & most recently, here in Canada, players had to pony up a $3,000 + $300 buy-in here in Canada at a PokerStars online sponsored event held leading into the WSOP, drawing less 600 players despite a $2,000,000 GTD. Similar buy-in World Poker Tour events at the same venue have drawn ~30%-50% more players, with the to-be-televised WPT Montreal set to return to Canada from November 20th-26th.
Be sure to check back to CanadaPoker for more side even and online qualifier scheduling, as we’ll post’em as soon as we get ’em so you can get going!