Stammen wins 1st WPT Worlds in A.C., $1.3M

May 21, 2014, Jo Kim  

It was the first time the Borgata in Atlantic City hosted the WPT World Championship, this time as part of its Spring Open (April 8-26), and Keven Stammen capitalized on it, capturing the main event and $1.35 million.
It was the first time the WPT’s world title was awarded in Atlantic City as the $15,400 buy-in boasted a $5 million guarantee. The televised event lasted five days, gathering the world’s high-stakes players and Bellagio’s past patrons, where WPT had held its championship tournament for $25,000.

The 51-tournament series kicked off with the $560 event, which was cancelled in the Winter Open after counterfeit chips were found in play. More than 2,800 players registered for the event, showing recent history has been put behind them. Along with a few changes to the tournaments rulings, chips were scanned for UV detection during breaks.

“The field was very competitive with top pros and talented amateurs, what WPT usually brings,” poker pro Aaron Massey said. “The differences were the smaller field size and a few extra top pros … giving the sense of heightened exclusivity.”

WSOPC: In Philadelphia, Harrah’s hosted its annual World Series of Poker Circuit on April 16-28, featuring 12 ring events, headlined by the $200K guarantee $1,675 main event, which drew 336 entrants for a $504K prize pool.

Kyle Bowker took home the main-event title for nearly $116K. After a progressive run of playable hands, Bowker, who began the final table with 13 big blinds as the shortest stack, quickly gained the lead. Justin Liberto finished second after missing his open-ended straight draw to Bowker’s runner-runner full house. Liberto went on to play Parx Casino’s Big Stax $300 buy-in days later to chop it heads-up with Alex Queen.

PARX: The poker room’s sixth Big Stax Series was May 1-19 as it kicked off with a $300 buy-in, drawing a record-breaking 1,351 entrants.

Ray Ross, a local player, made his sixth Big Stax final-table appearance. He’s part of a group of nine players called Team Kitten that circulates the region cashing in tournament events. One of the team’s players, Kevin Grabel, has been creating a local media buzz since his recent three-way chop in Borgata’s Spring Open $1M guarantee.

“Look at the overall increase in entrants and notable players, including the great structures, and you can see that Big Stax will continue being a success in poker tournament agenda,” Grabel said.

FOXWOODS: Look for a recap of Foxwoods’ $700K guarantee Mega Stack Challenge in our July issue.

— Email Jo Kim at anteupjokim@gmail.com.