There is plenty of live poker action to choose from this December, as PokerStars; the WSOP, in conjunction with GGPoker; and the WPT, are all running high-profile events across the globe.
The iconic EPT Prague from PokerStars again goes up against the WPT World Championship event in the Wynn, Las Vegas. But for the first time, the WSOP is entering the fray with its global partner GGPoker, bringing players WSOP Paradise in The Bahamas.
Just glancing at the dates, it is clear there will be quite a bit of overlap between these different events — so the battle between the online poker operators is on as they each want to attract players to their live poker events this holiday season.
|December 3 – 14||WSOP & GGPoker||WSOP Paradise||Atlantis on Paradise Island, the Bahamas||via WSOP US & GGPoker|
|December 6 – 17||PokerStars||EPT Prague||Prague, Czech Republic, Europe||via PokerStars Power Path|
|November 29 – December 23||WPT/WPT Global||WPT World Championship||Wynn Las Vegas, Nevada, USA||via WPT Global|
PokerStars’ EPT Prague
- Pros: Goulash, poker, architecture, Christmas markets.
- Cons: Travel times can be lengthy if you are traveling from anywhere other than Europe.
PokerStars is throwing its iconic European Poker Tour in the first half of December in the historic center of Prague, Czech Republic. The full schedule is still in the works, but the Prague stop on the European Poker Tour calendar is always a fan favorite. Last year, EPT Prague broke records, awarding over €25 million in prizes and attracting over 14,000 entries.
The EPT Prague has been a staple of the end-of-year poker tour since 2007, with more than €60 million in Main Event prizes before the Dec 2022 edition.
“Prague in December is a jewel in the poker tourn crown,” says PokerStars Ambassador Ben Spragg. “A city that softens the blow of busting out of your favorite EPT event better than almost anywhere else. In particular, in December, with the winter weather and festive mood adding even more charm to one of Europe’s most historic locations. Goulash, poker, architecture, Christmas markets, and time with friends… EPT Prague is a must-play stop!”
Live poker circuit aficionado and Unibet Ambassador David Lappin agrees: “Prague is one of the great cities of the world, steeped in culture, with great restaurants and nightlife. PokerStars have always put on excellent events there and seem to break records almost every year. “
- Deposit $20 and get $30 worth of free play
- One of the best mobile apps
- Biggest MTT guarantees
WPT World Championship
- Pros: Widely considered the best live poker tour stop in recent times.
- Cons: An eye-watering $10,400 buy-in precludes many players from being able to afford to play the Main Event.
The Wynn at Las Vegas is hosting the big WPT World Championship event on November 29 through December 23. It features is the most expensive tournament on this list (excluding high rollers), with its Main Event featuring a buy-in of $10,400.
There is no official guarantee yet, but last year’s even guaranteed $15 million and managed to almost double that when it wrapped up last year due to the huge demand.
“Last year was such a huge introduction for the WPT World Championship,” said WPT Ambassador Brad Owen. “The poker community showed up big and we are looking forward to bringing that hype back to Wynn again this year.”
The WPT has already started its promotional push via the WPT Global real money platform, where players can win their seats into the World Championship for a fraction of the normal buy-in price. The full schedule is yet to be released.
Daily satellites and qualifiers are already underway on WPT Global for as little as $5 that offer seats for Sunday Qualifiers. All qualifying players will be able to pick between two initial flights: Flight A on December 12 or Flight B on December 13 for the Main Event.
Players can also buy directly into the Sunday Qualifiers, which have price tags of $220 and $1060. All winners receive $12,400 packages, covering their World Championship buy-in and giving them $2,000 in spending money.
“I am pumped to be returning to the Wynn in December for the WPT World Championship. You can’t beat the Wynn player experience,” said WPT Ambassador Andrew Neeme. “I’ve always felt like the Wynn staff does the best job of combining professionalism while staying personable. And there will be so much going on during the entire festival, like MUGs, giveaways, parties; The value is just too great to pass up.”
Players are allowed to play and win as many World Championship packages as they like, and while these cannot be exchanged for money, they can be given out to other players.
David Lappin calls the WPT World Championship a “must-go-to stop.” “The Wynn is the best property in Las Vegas, known for its player-centric approach and attention to detail, Lappin says. “The WPT event there last December was the best festival I have ever attended in America by a long way, and I think it will reap the goodwill it created last year. Rumor is they are going with a $40 million guarantee or something in that neighborhood, so it won’t even be close – this is the must-go-to stop out of the three.”
- Use bonus code
- Generous welcome bonus
- Quality mobile app
- Pros: Gold WSOP bracelets to be won, $50 million in prize money, GGPoker plan to send 1,000 players to the event via online qualifiers.
- Cons: The Bahamas is traditionally expensive to travel to, has stringent tax laws, and has steep resort costs.
WSOP Paradise is the new winter series from the WSOP and GGPoker real money platforms that will take place in the iconic Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas this December. Poker players will best know Atlantis as the home of PokerStars’ iconic PCA tour that ran at the resort for fifteen years before moving to the more modern Baha Mar Resort.
However, the WSOP and GGPoker plan to make the Atlantis their own with their newly minted series, guaranteeing over $50 million across 15 live bracelet events. The Main Event promises $15 million for a buy-in of $5,000. Audaciously, GGPoker plans to qualify 1,000 players to WSOP Paradise through online satellites, and for US players, the WSOP is offering packages to the event via its Cash Games Countdown promotion.
“GGPoker is delighted to launch WSOP Paradise and welcome hundreds of players from all over the world to Atlantis Paradise Island this December,” said Daniel Negreanu, GGPoker Global Ambassador, via press release. “It’s going to be an absolutely amazing experience, the best of poker, at one of the world’s most luxurious resorts!”
What will make it more luxurious is that Atlantis is going under a multi-million dollar renovation ahead of WSOP Paradise kicking off.
“Atlantis’ 25th anniversary launches a new chapter for the resort, unveiling a multimillion-dollar transformation of the Atlantis Casino complemented by renovated guestrooms at The Royal and Michelin star chef dining experiences in time for the WSOP Paradise event,” Joe Brunini, Chief Gaming & Customer Development Officer Atlantis Paradise Island said via press release.
However, Unibet’s David Lappin is not convinced that the date or location is enough of a draw.
“The Bahamas is a dire poker venue beset with problems. It’s hard to get there. It’s violently expensive. The weather won’t be good at that time of the year, so many outdoor attractions won’t even be available. 1,000 qualifiers is a lofty goal!”
But that’s only one man’s opinion. The WSOP 2023 in Las Vegas broke all records this year, in terms of prize pool payouts and attendance, so there is a clear appetite for WSOP gold bracelet events.
- Up to $100 in free play with first deposit
- Top-quality software
- Compete for WSOP bracelets & rings
Where Should You Play Live Poker This December?
While it is possible to cover more ground with some effort and planning (and if you do not mind the added costs), most players will likely pick one destination and stick with it. What would be the best pick for December if you are in this camp?
One thing to consider is certainly the distance. Prague is much easier to reach than the Bahamas for someone living in Europe, and the trip is much cheaper. EUREKA is also happening just before the main EPT festivities, making the Czech capital a much more viable option for European players operating on smaller bankrolls.
WSOP Paradise has its own allure. There are bracelets to be won, and you will find a few affordable events on the schedule. However, travel and accommodation costs can be an obstacle, especially for players from Europe or Asia. That said, GGPoker will be hosting a bunch of qualifiers and other promotions to help send players to the Caribbean paradise, so there will be some interesting opportunities there.
The WPT World Championship will likely be a great tournament, but the buy-in is quite high, and the competition will likely be tough. Recreational players will likely have more fun in the Bahamas, both on and off the tables, and poker diehards can still make both events work.
The decision is ultimately yours. Figure out what bankroll you are working with, what you want to get out of your poker trip, and how much time you are willing to spend traveling instead of playing poker and having other types of fun. All three of these events bring quality action and big guarantees, so you cannot go wrong as long as you pick the one (or two) that are right for you.