Jun 8, 2021
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) June 4, 2021
By Sean Chaffin
The first live WPT Main Tour event of Season XIX is only days away and players will soon be heading to Florida for the inaugural WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa. The $3,500 event comes with a $2 million guarantee and runs July 18-22.
The event becomes the newest stop on the tour and builds on a long relationship and plenty of WPT history with the Seminole tribe. Who will be the first Tampa WPT Champions Club member?
That remains to be seen, but if recent Seminole Hard Rock turnouts carry over, players can expect a big field and sizable payouts. For poker room management, bringing a WPT tournament to the Hard Rock Tampa means a lot. The event builds on an already successful history of running major tournaments.
“It’s a great milestone,” Seminole Hard Rock Tampa director of poker Pablo Perez says. “We have been working with WPTDeepStacks for years now and being able to offer a Main Tour event in the new Hard Rock Event Center is very exciting.”
Along with the main event, the series also features a deep schedule of tournaments running June 9-22. A $500 Double Stack gets the series underway with seven starting flights and a $1 million guarantee. Players will not only find No Limit Hold’em, but also some Omaha events as well as HORSE. What’s a trip to the Tampa poker room like?
“Players can expect a lot of action,” Perez says. “We have a variety of games and limits that cater to both recreational and professional players.”
The property’s poker room opened in January 2017 and features 46 tables in a non-smoking environment. Players can make use of Wi-Fi throughout the resort and the poker room has the sports fan in mind. The room offers 40 televisions including six 75-inch and four 65-inch screens. Need a break from the action? Grab a drink right in the poker room with a bar featuring seating for up to 15 as well as a snack bar with seating for more than 20. An outdoor covered area for smoking is also available.
Some nice amenities also await cash game players. Those looking to raise the stakes have access to a high-limit lounge featuring two VIP tables. The WPT now adds to a rich poker culture in Tampa and Perez says players are excited to see the cards in the air.
“The players’ reactions to us hosting the Main Tour event have all been positive,” he says. “There’s been lots of chatter at the tables and we’ve received many phone calls inquiring about the event.”
The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa event becomes an important step in the return of the WPT to a more normalized tournament poker scene. Masks are now voluntary at Hard Rock Tampa following an update to the Seminole Safe + Sound program guidelines at the casino complex. The change was made based on the latest guidance on masks from the CDC. Many players will be glad to see a return to regular card-playing action after more than a year of pandemic poker.
The casino resort itself offers players plenty of relaxation for a poker getaway. The AAA Four Diamond hotel and resort unveiled a $700 million expansion in October 2019. The project included:
a new 14-story hotel tower with 562 additional rooms and suites
three ultra-lavish pools
a 26,000-square-foot Rock Spa and Salon
The completed 223,900-square-foot casino now includes an additional 1,000 slots and 41 table games, bringing the completed gaming experience to nearly 5,000 slots and 179 tables. Hard Rock Tampa also boasts 14 restaurants including popular stops like Council Oaks Steaks & Seafood, The Rez Grill, and Hard Rock Cafe & Cipresso. There’s something for every taste at the resort.
Fitting the Hard Rock theme, players will also find plenty of musical momentos. The highlight of those is Elvis Presley’s iconic 24-karat gold leaf plated 1928 Kimball Piano Company grand piano. Plenty of fun awaits players looking to become the WPT’s latest poker rock star.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.