After fifteen events in the third season of the World Poker Tour, the end is finally here. The World Poker Tour Championshiphas become almost as important as the World Series of Poker. The WPT Championship will be hosted at the Bellagio. The World Poker Tour Championship is the most expensive buy in on the WPT at $25,000. This tournament is exceptional as all theprofessional poker players are in their prime poker playing.
Last year there were a total of 343 professional poker players registered for the World Poker Tour Championship. The prize pool totaled $8 million dollars. Martin ?The Knife? deKnjiff, from Sweden, was the eventual championship winner. Hasan Habib was the runner-up, followed by Matt Matros. The biggest name in American poker was T.J. Cloutier, who finished eighth overall.
However, last years championship lacked many true competitors. That won?t be a problem this year as the buy in is incredibly high, at $25,000, and may make this years World Poker Tour Championship the richest poker tournament of all time. The player field may grow to over 600 professional poker players, making the prize pool over $15 million dollars and the payout for the WPT Champion to be over $5 million dollars.
Leading the list of great poker players is this year?s Poker Player of the Year, Daniel Negreanu. Unfortunately, Daniel has yet to crack this year?s winner circle, but has played exceptional poker up till now. Negreanu has to be considered the favorite for the World Poker Tour Championship. Chris ?Jesus? Ferguson may also be a favorite to win. Ferguson has won a World Series of Poker circuit championship and the National Heads Up Poker Championship conducted last month. Other competitors include Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Andy Bloch, Amir Vahedi, and Paul Darden.
Recently, Antonio Esfandiari, Thomas ?Thunder? Keller, and Young Phan have been coming on. Also, Tony Ma defeated all of these guys at a preliminary $5,000 No-Limit Event, making him a possible threat. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi has already demonstrated that he is a great young player that has the potential to become the next great tournament professional. With a win at the L.A. Poker Classic and a final table finish during the World Poker Open in Mississippi, he is ready to step to the top of the heap. Of any of the younger generation, he has to be considered the strongest of them all.
Of course, there are those "amateur" players that we have yet to hear from that are going to be at the final table. Count on a few of them making it there. While the term of "amateur" is an apt description as far as knowledge of them by poker fans, they are far from being rookies as they normally have a wealth of experience that they will use very well to reach the final table at the Bellagio.