Established in 2002, the World Poker Tour has been operating live poker tournaments around the world for multiple decades. The tour has hosted some of the biggest, most memorable poker events in history, and the WPT awarded its one-billionth prize dollar in 2017. In this article, we’re going to cover just which WPT Main Tour tournaments have been the biggest based on event field size.
Many of the WPT’s tournaments have attracted 1,000-entry fields, but not all of those tournaments made this list of the 12 biggest field sizes in WPT Main Tour history. Let’s take a look at the biggest World Poker Tour events of all time.
The biggest WPT Main Tour in the World Poker Tour’s storied history took place in the final month of 2023. The WPT World Championship event at Wynn Las Vegas had a $10,400 buy-in and an enormous $40,000,000 prize pool guarantee. Although the event fell short of the guarantee, it drew 3,835 entries to pave the way for a first-place prize north of $5,000,000. This made it the largest World Poker Tour event in history, both in terms of the largest WPT Main Tour field size and prize pool.
The tournament featured an exciting final table of six, including Andrew Lichtenberger, Chris Moorman, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Ben Heath, Daniel Sepiol, and Artur Martirosian. Winning the event was Sepiol. He put on a masterful performance and won $5,282,954 in prize money.
The first-ever WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas raised the bar for the World Poker Tour. It marked the return of the famed “WPT World Championship” event, had a $15,000,000 prize pool guarantee, and was the start of a new partnership with the icon Wynn Las Vegas.
At the time, the WPT World Championship became the largest WPT Main Tour field size and largest WPT Main Tour prize pool thanks to 2,960 entries in the field pushing the prize pool to more than $29,000,000. That nearly doubled the guarantee. The event was won by Eliot Hudon. He topped all competitors to win $4,136,000.
It’s no secret that World Poker Tour events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, are well-attended. That’s why you’ll see so many WPT Main Tour events from this venue on this list. The biggest of them all was the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown held in 2021.
This event drew a field size of 2,482 entries. Everyone put up $3,500 to play, meaning the prize pool came in at $7,942,000. The winner was Brek Schutten, with Schutten taking home $1,261,095 for his win.
It’s another WPT event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, sitting high on this list. In 2023, the $3,500 buy-in WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown drew 2,290 entries to create a prize pool of $7,328,000.
The tournament saw Bin Weng win it for $1,128,250, with the victory being part of a breakout year for Weng.
Held online on the partypoker platform in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, this $3,200 buy-in WPT Online Championship event drew 2,130 entries to create a prize pool of $6,390,000.
When it was all said and done, Sweden’s Christian Jeppsson was the winner to the tune of $923,786.
Another one of the 12 biggest field sizes in WPT Main Tour history belongs to an event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. This time it’s the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown held in 2022, and it drew a field of 2,010 entries.
Winning the event to take the lion’s share of the $6,432,000 prize pool was Mark Davis. Davis scored a seven-figure prize worth $1,000,300.
Back to Florida for another entry on the list, this time we’re looking at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker. This tournament, held at the beginning of 2022, drew 1,982 entries and created a prize pool north of $6,000,000 - $6,342,400 to be exact.
The winner was Alexander Yen. He came into the final day with the chip lead and never looked back, winning $975,240 for what was his first-ever live tournament victory.
For quite some time, the 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown held the record for as largest WPT Main Tour event in the tour’s history. It took right around six years and an online poker event to knock this event out of the top spot. That said, it’s still one of the biggest WPT Main Tour events in history with 1,795 entries and a prize pool of $5,763,150.
Eric Afriat was the winner of this event, taking home $1,081,184 and his first World Poker Tour title. It wouldn’t be Afriat’s last WPT title. He would eventually go on to top a field of 1,294 entries in the 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $651,928 and a field of 594 entries in the 2020 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $394,120. Also incredibly, Afriat returned to the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in 2019, finishing second from a field of 1,360 entries to earn $465,120.
Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, poker players were ready to go play. Tons of them did just that at the 2021 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. The field swelled to 1,573 entries to generate a $5,033,600 prize pool from the $3,500 buy-in event.
In what proved to be a tremendous story, Ilyas Muradi became the event’s winner, taking home $620,000 in prize money. Muradi won the event after spending 26 months locked in immigration detention and being released in October 2019.
With a field size of 1,566 entries, the 2021 WPT Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open is one of the biggest World Poker Tour events of all time, sitting 10th on this list. That field pushed the prize pool to $5,011,200 from the $3,500 buy-in event.
Lithuania has produced some very good poker players and big tournament winners. Winning this event was Lithuanian Gediminas Uselis for $778,490.
The WPT Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open in 2022 topped 1,500 entries. In total, there were 1,541 entries in the field. Each entry paid $3,500 to play, and the prize pool reached $4,931,200. There was a first-place prize of $785,800 set aside for the winner.
England’s Andrew Wilson experienced a breakout live tournament victory for taking first-place honors. He won the $785,800 top prize and became a WPT Champions Club member.
The final entry on this list of the top 12 biggest field sizes in WPT Main Tour history belongs to another tournament held at Seminole Hard Rock in Florida. Again, it’s the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. In 2015, the $3,500 buy-in event had 1,476 entries. The prize pool was $5,013,000.
A cool $1,000,000 was up top for the winner, and it was Griffin Paul beating Joe Ebanks in heads-up play to win it.
Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
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