The World Poker Tour is set to become the guinea pig for live action at the Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, with the final table of the $25k Bellagio High Roller taking place at the venue. Tom Marchese leads an all-star cast.
I logged onto the World Poker Tour (WPT) website to see who had won the $25,000 Bellagio High Roller and learned that the action ceased at the final table.
I knew this, of course. The WPT broadcast this decision some months ago. However, I forgot, because the World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine apart, you don’t stop a poker tournament mid-pomp and ask the players to come back two weeks later.
But that’s what’s happening.
It’s an interesting question and one I plan to find an answer for in the future when I speak to someone within the corridors of power at the WPT. Until then, I will have a guess.
The final six players will take their seats on the main stage of the Esports Arena Las Vegas at MGM’s Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip at 4 pm (local time), May 25.
The winner will pick up $432,000, and when you look at the quality of the final table incumbents, you realise this is chicken feed.
The Esports Arena Las Vegas belongs to Allied Esports who in turn is a subsidiary of Ourgame International, who in turn own the WPT. Back in October 2017, the Chinese gaming giant announced plans to raise a factory full of money, via subscription shares, of which they would invest HKD 125,000,000 in the building of ten esports arenas in the US and China.
I assume, featuring the final table of the $25k Bellagio High Roller in the Arena allows the technical and production teams of both parties to test the facilities ability to handle a live event of this nature, while remaining low key enough, that any cock-ups are accepted and quickly forgiven.
But why poker?
I can’t imagine for the life of me that Allied Esports and the WPT have plans to use the Arena for poker on a full-time basis. At the recent WPT Seminole Hard Rock event in Hollywood, Florida; WPT officials paid fans $11 per hour to be part of the audience. But it does allow the facility owners to play around with the logistics prior to a ‘paid for’ esports event.
The arena currently acts as a video gaming/VR gaming site where people can play for as little as $25 a day. People who watch don’t pay. I imagine this changes when the more significant esports events come to town.
Amongst the guinea pigs for the $25k Bellagio High Roller is Tom Marchese. The Las Vegas pro came into Day 2 as the chip leader and maintained his lead until the bitter end. Joining Marchese in the final are David Peters, Aaron Ogus, Sam Soverel, Rainer Kampe, and Jake Schindler.
Two players made money, but not the final table – Ankush Mandavia who finished eight for $54,000, and Anthony Zinno who bubbled the final table banking $67,500.
The event attracted 54-entrants.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Tom Marchese – 2,359,000
2. David Peters – 1,575,000
3. Aaron Ogus – 857,0004
4. Sam Soverel – 391,000
5. Rainer Kempe – 175,000
6. Jake Schindler – 43,000