The heart of the World Poker Tour schedule runs through California and is aptly named the California Swing. The stretch of events includes the L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 Championship, the Bay 101 Shooting Star $7,500 Main Event and Rolling Thunder $3,500 Main Event, with a special scoring system awarding points throughout those three events. The player who earns the most points is crowned the California Swing champion and receive a plethora of prizes.
Thanks to a deep run in the opening LAPC event and a final table finish at Bay 101, reigning Super High Roller Bowl champion Rainer Kempe was crowned Season XV California Swing champion. The German high stakes specialist earned nearly $54,000 for an 18th place finish in Los Angeles, before earning $188,000 for his 6th place finish in San Jose. Those two WPT runs bookended another High Roller win for Kempe, who won the $50,000 Super High Roller held earlier this month at ARIA.
Kempe is the fourth player to ever be crowned California Swing champion, after the WPT added the third and final California-based event in 2014. Ankush Madavia won in Season XIV, Taylor Paur won in Season XIII and Michael Rocco won in Season XII.
For his California Swing win, Kempe earned hotel stay at Commerce Casino’s Crowne Plaza Hotel during next year’s LAPC Championship, accommodations at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort and food and beverage credit to be used during next year’s Rolling Thunder event, Shooting Star status for next year’s Bay 101 event and much more. Additional information about the California Swing can be found here.
While Kempe was the WPT’s Player of the Year in California, the race for Season XV Hublot Player of the Year is heating up heading into the tour’s final Florida stop. Benjamin Zamani, Sam Panzica and Mike Sexton are separated by just a few hundred points at the top of that POY list and with two Main Tour title events remaining, that race will be hotly contested. More information on both WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Events and the WPT Tournament of Champions can be found on the WPT website.