Downsizing the WPT
Two Vegas Tourneys Canceled?

by , Feb 8, 2008 | 5:24 pm

The World Poker Tour will be announcing its Season 7 schedule next week, and according to some recent banter around the high-stakes tournament tables, at least two (not-so?) major events will be, er, disappeared — the WPT Mandalay Bay Poker Championship and the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown.

A company spokeswoman could neither confirm nor deny, but did say that WPT Enterprises has “really looked at the market and listened closely to feedback from players.” So I suppose we’ll see next week when the official press release comes out.

In the meantime, here’s Pokerati’s super-undercover investigative reporter Tom Schneider with the report:


13 Comments to “Downsizing the WPT
Two Vegas Tourneys Canceled?

  1. California Jen

    This is soooo interesting.

    Last year, Mandalay got 228 players, and Mirage only got a little over 300. But Mirage has been on the schedule for years and is one of the player favorites.

    They add ladies-only tournaments but cancel ones that all players like?

    I think there’s more here than meets the eye, but I’m going to wait until the schedule is released to speculate further…

  2. Poker Shrink

    The Mirage pulled itself from the 2008 WPT schedule citing “property conflicts” but they also said this would not mean there are gone for good.

  3. BJ Nemeth

    Disclosure: I currently work for the WPT as their lead online tournament reporter.

    Having said that, “lead online tournament reporters” aren’t privy to any inside information about future scheduling. (I’ve never even been to their corporate offices.) So I don’t have anything even remotely resembling an “inside scoop.”

    However, I see some definite upside to this if it’s true. I’ve long wanted to change the poker calendar from January to December to something either starting or ending with the World Series. The two tourneys mentioned in this rumor (Mirage and Mandalay Bay) are currently the first two WPT events of each season — and the only two to fall *before* the WSOP.

    Also, based on Poker Shrink’s comment, it’s possible that the Mirage will just reschedule it’s tournament to a different time of year, something that suits it’s convention schedule better. In 2004, it was in July — *after* the WSOP.

    I definitely don’t want to see the WPT downsize, but sometimes you have to get leaner to get stronger. (Are you paying attention, Microsoft?) If the WPT does drop two tournaments, then I hope that is the case. Though I’m secretly hoping that they’re adding a second European event (Paris & Barcelona?) to the schedule.

    I guess rumors become irrelevant later this week when the schedule is officially announced. But keep in mind that, in the past, there have been WPT schedule changes (such as adding WPT Barcelona) even after the schedule was released.

  4. Kevin Mathers


    Wasn’t Paris originally canceled as an WPT event because there were going to be online qualifiers or something like that? I’d think there’s other cities out there that could do a WPT event that aren’t EPT/WSOPE locations.


  5. CJ

    The Fallsview Casino in Canada is apparently also looking at cancelling their WPT event, not due to the lack of popularity (500 players each year), but due to the oppressive media regulations that are a combination of gaming law in canada, and the WPT’s deal with cardplayer. The tournament doesn’t really make them any money, so the only real reason for holding it is the prestige and exposure, and they’re not really thrilled with the exposure.

  6. BJ Nemeth

    My understanding (again, this isn’t inside information — just paying attention to the news) is that Paris was cancelled because France passed much stricter gaming regulations regarding poker tournaments. The EPT pulled out of France this season as well.

    I don’t think the regulations rule out poker tournaments entirely, but there is so much complicated bureaucracy that neither the WPT nor the EPT wanted to risk it. France could be back on the schedule again, now that lawyers have had more time to dig through the red tape and the fine print.

    Of course, the major tours (WPT, EPT) might be waiting for someone else to hold a major tournament there first. It’s the old saying — “Pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land.”

    I haven’t heard anything regarding Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, but they seemed extremely pleased with the tournament while we were there. The media guidelines were pretty oppressive (due to local and/or Canadian gaming regulations), but now that we’ve been through that drill once, it will be easier to handle next season.

    Again, I have *no* inside information, and I am probably more curious to see the official schedule than the rest of you.

  7. confused

    BJ, do you have any inside information on these topics? I’m confused.

  8. California Jen


    I think BJ said he does have inside information. He’s at the office all the time, and he knows exactly what’s going on. He’s only being mysterious with his answers for dramatic effect.


  9. BJ Nemeth

    California Jen has my number — almost. I don’t have “inside” information, but I do have “topside” information. I actually spend most non-tournament days studying satellite images of the WPT offices, providing me a unique level of insight into the World Poker Tour.

    Unfortunately, like the U.S. government looking for Montgomery Burns’s stolen trillion-dollar bill (, I can only tell you that they aren’t keeping the upcoming WPT schedule on the roof.

  10. CJ

    In regards to the Fallsview, yes, the poker management were quite pleased with the event. The upper management, not so much. And the fact that jason March, the TD for the event, has left the Fallsview means that the number 1 driving force behind the WPT event there is gone. The managements view is that, between the ridiculous gaming regs there, and the WPT/Card Player ‘deal’, that there isn’t a lot of incentive to continue to hold this event. If it doesn’t translate into revenue (which it doesn’t) and it doesn’t translate into media coverage (which is becoming increasingly difficult), then there may not be any reason to hold it. I don’t know it they have reached a final decision, but I know that was the thinking…

  11. anon

    The schedule is out.

    As expected, the following stops are gone: Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Turks and Caicos, Barcelona, Tunica, and Reno.

    Also as expectecd, the Biloxi stop moves from hurricane season to January to replace Tunica.

    (That leaves Borgata in September as the only WPT stop where hurricane/tropical storms are an issue.)

    Bellagio will have 4 WPT stops out of 14.

    The only real surprise: Niagara Fallsview remains on the schedule.

  12. California Jen

    Wow, looks like lots of events were cut out. The funny thing is that the WORLD Poker Tour has eliminated everything outside of North America.

    Here’s the link for anyone interested.

  13. California Jen

    And I just realized that there are only 14 tournaments on the schedule for Season 7. (Season 6 had 21 tournaments.)