WPT500 Los Angeles Poker Tour Stop Announced

March 24th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

WPT500 Los Angeles

From May 21-31, The Gardens will play host to the $565 buy-in, $1 million guaranteed WPT500 Los Angeles. (Image: WPT)

The World Poker Tour has just announced a new stop and it will be a favorite among many of the poker pros on tour.

From May 21-31, The Gardens in Hawaiian Gardens, California will play host to the $565 buy-in, $1 million guaranteed WPT500 Los Angeles.

It will mark the first time a WPT500 has ever been held in the state of California and it looks to be an exciting new addition to the World Poker Tour for 2017.

WPT500 Los Angeles to Feature 14 Starting Flights

The WPT500 Los Angeles will feature 14 starting flights. From May 21-4, there will be just one a day at 11 am PT, and then from May 25-29 two a day will be held at 11 am and 5 pm respectively.

The later starting flight will feature a more fast-paced structure.

The tournament will allow for re-entries through eight levels each flight and is slated to use the “best stack forward” format, meaning that players who bag can continue playing Day 1 flights in an attempt to bag an even bigger stack. If they bag multiple times, they’ll advance to Day 2 with their biggest stack while forfeiting the rest.

Each flight is slated to play down to eight percent of the field. Surviving players will then return for Day 2 on Tuesday, May 30. Once the field is down to 54 players, the tournament will utilize an action clock. On Wednesday, May 31, the final table will be live streamed worldwide.

While $565 is an affordable price point for many, those players looking to get in on the cheap can do so as The Gardens, which has operated for 19 years but was recently hit with fines for repeated anti-money laundering violations, is offering 40 guaranteed satellite seats. Those satellite, which will be held during The Gardens Poker Festival, start as low as $65.

WPT Building on Strong California Foundation

The latest WPT500, which was nominated for an American Poker Award last year, is taking place right in the WPT’s backyard. Based in nearby Irvine, it only makes sense that the WPT has a long history in the Golden State.

In fact, the second-ever WPT was held at L.A.’s Bicycle Casino back in August 2002. That tournament attracted 134 players and saw Chris Karagulleyan win a $258,000 top prize. Two other events were held in California that first season in the WPT Gold Rush at Lucky Chances Casino and inaugural WPT LAPC. Paul Darden won the former for $146,000 while Gus Hansen took down the latter for his second title of the season, not to mention a $532,490 first-place prize.

Since then, the WPT has hosted multiple stops out west each season. Nowadays, they even have the “California Swing,” which is comprised of the LAPC, Bay 101 Shooting Star, and Rolling Thunder Main Events, which are run back to back to back.

Established in 2014, the California Swing also holds a contest in which the players who performs the best over all three stops is awarded a $10,000 prize package. Michael Rocco won the inaugural year after finishing third in the LAPC and then taking 21st in the Rolling Thunder Main Event.

A year later, Bay 101 Shooting Star champ Taylor Paur, who went on to finish third at the Rolling Thunder stop, took down the title, which was just a small drop in the bucket seeing as he won $1,214,200 for his tournament win. In Season XIV, Ankush Mandavia took the title thanks to finishing 23rd and eighth in the Bay 101 Shooting Star and Rolling Thunder respectively.

The WPT500, which was established in 2014, has hosted several stops over the years at both Aria in Las Vegas and Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham. Past winners include Eleanor Gudger ($222,177), Sean Yu ($260,000), Ben Winsor ($182,700), and Andreas Olympios ($260,000).

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