WPT Maryland Live! Main Event Begins Today
3 October 2019
PokerBrave (1135 articles)

Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour rolls along (after the fiasco at the Borgata) with a stop that has slowly become one of the favorites of the tournament pros. The WPT will set up shop beginning today at Maryland Live! in Landover, MD, for a $1.5 million guaranteed prize pool Main Event (NOT like what the Venetian tried to pull on players earlier this month).

Solid Fields, Strong Players

The WPT Maryland Live! has, after a slow start, shown itself to be one of the most consistent events on the circuit. The inaugural event, held during Season XIV (2015), only drew in a field of 337 entries but it was a quality field. Aaron Mermelstein was the champion that first year, earning his second entry on the WPT Champions’ Cup with the victory. The very next year, the field exploded to 554 entries and Zachary Smiley would emerge victorious.

In 2017, Art Papazyan would solidify what would become a WPT Player of the Year season by winning his second WPT title on these very grounds and overcoming the largest field in the history of the tournament (561 entries). It was arguably last year’s tournament, however, that would be the “best event ever” in the WPT Maryland Live! history. Although it would come up just short of the record (554 entries), Tony Ruberto would earn his second WPT title in overcoming a field that included former WSOP “November Niner” Jeremy Ausmus to take home the $344,755 first place prize.

This year’s event is looking as if it will at least approach last year’s numbers and has a shot at topping the 2017 record. With a $3500 buy in, two Day Ones, unlimited reentry and late registration running until Level 11 on Day 2 of the tournament (estimated by WPT officials as Monday afternoon at approximately 2:30PM), the players will have plenty of time to get into the game. Maryland Live! will also have some other action for players as the sports book is open, perfect for a college and pro football laden Saturday and Sunday.

Winner Guaranteed Spot in WPT Player of the Year Race

Once the WPT crowns a champion on Wednesday, that person will thrust themselves into the race for the Season XVIII Player of the Year.

With only a few tournaments in the books for the Season XVIII schedule, the Hublot WPT POY race is currently a tight one with several ties. At the top of the standings are the champion of the WPT Legends of Poker, Aaron Van Blarcum, and the champion of the WPT Borgata Poker Open Donald Maloney. They both have 1200 points as a result of their victories, with Maloney (some would say unfairly) earning the #1 slot because he “won” more money than Van Blarcum (remember, Maloney made a deal and DID NOT win the first-place prize at the Borgata). WPT Gardens Poker Festival champion Roger Teska’s win only netted him 1000 points, which gets him in the mix in a tie for third.

Along with Teska are two of the runners-up in other WPT events. Uke Dauti, who technically finished second in the WPT Borgata, and WPT Legends of Poker runner-up Gueorgui Gantchev. Kevin Albers and Jared Griener are tied in sixth with 900 points each and Laszlo Molnar, Dave Farah and Vahan Sudzhyan round out the list in a three-way tie for eighth with 800 points each.

Should any of these men make a deep run at the WPT Maryland Live!, they would be in a great spot to put some distance between them and the field. The winner of the tournament, with the $1.5 million guaranteed prize pool, is guaranteed at the minimum 1000 points for their victory (WPT POY calculations consider the size of the prize pool). If the prize pool cracks the $2 million mark, then the first place points ramp up to 1200 points and the winner would be one of the top three on the WPT POY rankings.

Action is set to begin just after noon at the Maryland Live! casino grounds and the battle is sure to be a good one. Who will emerge victorious? Over the next few days, we’ll watch the drama as the WPT determines the next person to hoist the WPT Champions’ Cup and claim hold of the title of WPT champion.