Two seasons ago, the World Poker Tour changed its season-ending WPT Championship to the WPT Tournament of Champions and located it at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The Tour recently announced that it is taking its finale back to Las Vegas, moving the WPT Tournament of Champions to the Aria Resort & Casino.
The “Tournament of Champions” moniker was not just a decorative name change. The tournament is literally only for past champions now. It is invitation only, limited to those who have won titles on the Main Tour. The buy-in is $15,000 with nothing being removed for rake, but players whose WPT title has come this season, get to enter for free.
As a result of it being a closed event, the Tournament of Champions has been very small and really has not garnered the attention its predecessor did. Last season, the TOC drew just 66 players.
Chris *GAG* Ferguson *BARF* Wins WSOP Player of the Year
We warned you about this last week, but the nightmare is now upon us: Chris Ferguson has won the World Series of Poker Player of the Year award. The man who was allegedly very much involved in Full Tilt Poker players having hundreds of millions of dollars tied up for years (and I’m being kind with my description of it) will now be celebrated by many in the poker world.
Ferguson clinched the POY title when John Racener was eliminated in the WSOP Europe Main Event this past week, as Racener was the only player who could catch him at that point.
Ferguson won his sixth bracelet at WSOP Europe, proving victorious in the €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, a tournament which had just 92 entries. His Player of the Year run was built mostly on volume, as he had 23 cashes at the traditional WSOP and WSOP Europe combined. Besides his bracelet win, he made two other final table appearances.
Marti Roca de Torres Wins WSOP Europe Main Event
In better World Series of Poker news, Marti Roca de Torres won the WSOP Europe Main Event, earning his very first WSOP bracelet and €1,115,207. That’s a significant payday for anybody, but consider Roca de Torres had only about $30,000 in live tournament earnings prior to the event, that was certainly the tournament of his life.
He was way behind to begin heads-up play against Gianluca Speranza, more than a 3-to-1 chip deficit. That gap became nearly 5-to-1, but Roca de Torres finally began to chip up, eventually doubling-up to take the lead. Speranza took the lead back, but Roca de Torres again doubled-up to make the match just about even. On the second to last hand, Roca de Torres moved all-in with 5-5 and was called by Speranza, who barely had him covered with A-J. Speranza flopped an Ace, but Roca de Torres turned a 5 to win the hand and cripple his opponent. The final hand was academic, as Speranza had so few chips that he had to shove with any two cards.
The final table was an example of how quickly things can change in a tournament. Roca de Torres eliminated two players simultaneously to take a large lead into three-handed play and with a “massive stack,” he thought he was “going to win for sure.” But of course, he lost a ton of ground before heads-up, only to make it back completely.
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