World Poker Tour Event Kicks Off At Tampa Hard Rock

Written By JR Duren on June 11, 2021
This past week, the WPT announced the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa will host its first event in the 2021 North America circuit.

Prime-time poker is back.

This past week, the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced that the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa will be the site of the first event in the WPT 2021 North America circuit.

Live poker is back at full strength on the World Poker Tour and we are ecstatic to once again be able to provide a full and exciting schedule of events for our players,” WPT VP of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael said in a press release. “We want to sincerely thank the players and global casino partners for their unwavering support during a challenging year and look forward to showcasing some of the best casino properties in North America.”

The championship WPT tournament will take place June 18-22 at Hard Rock Tampa, but smaller tournaments kick off June 9. This is the first time the WPT main tour will hold an event at the Tampa location.

Tournament to feature $2 million purse

The WPT’s nineteenth season will kick off with two tiers of players vying for a seat at Day 2 tables. The first tier (Day 1a) starts at 11 a.m. on June 18, and the second tier (Day 1b) starts the following day at 11 a.m. From there, days two, three and four start at noon.

According to WPT rules, days 1a, 1b, and 2 will move through 11 60-minute levels, with the big blind increased from $200 at level one to $2,500 at level 11. All players will start with 40,000 chips.

The buy-in and entry fee for the tourney totals $3,500: $3,200 to fund the prize pool and $300 for registration.

Seven days of smaller action lead up to championship event

While the championship tournament doesn’t start until June 18, the Hard Rock Tampa will be buzzing with activity in the weeks leading up to it.

The tournament schedule is packed with a variety of small- and big-money events:

  • Seven no-limit-hold’em (NLH) tournaments with $1 million guaranteed prize pools.
  • Three satellites for the championship event
  • Turbo NLH
  • Omaha 8 or better
  • Deep stack NLH
  • Seniors NLH (for players 50 and older)
  • Double stack NLH
  • Six max pot-limit Omaha

The packed schedule meets increased demand for events, WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a press release.

“As we emerge from restrictions throughout North America we have bolstered the momentum from last season’s historic numbers and are eager to meet the great demand for WPT events leading up to our twenty-year anniversary in 2022,” Pliska said.

Casino will have social-distancing protocol in place

All tournaments at the multi-week event will take place under the casino’s Safe + Sound protocol, according to a press release from the hotel.

Measures include:

  • Eight-handed tables instead of nine
  • Required temperature checks upon entry
  • Mandatory masks or face coverings
  • Plexiglas barriers between players and dealers
  • Routine card and chip cleaning

When players leave a seat, hotel staff will sanitize the seat before another player arrives.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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