The star-studded, six-week, multi-million dollar smörgåsbord known as the L.A. Poker Classic starts this week, with its usual selection of celebs, satellite winners and hangers-on gradually rounded up and herded towards the big World Poker Tour (WPT) finale. This year, however... there's a little something extra for the ladies.
And it's not just more Hellmuth.
"The L.A. Poker Classic will have 31 events," says Cheri Dokken, Tournament Director. "But only one offers two giant prizes, and that's just for our Ladies' Tournament winner. We've gone all out this year."
The two giant prizes in question? A spot in the WPT Celebrity Invitational from Mar. 3-5 and a seat in the WPT World Championship in April, both to be awarded to the winner of the Ladies No-Limit Hold'Em Tournament Feb. 3.
"Women are rising in the poker ranks at lightning speed," Dokken says, "both in numbers and winnings, and we want to make sure this is one of the premier events on the women's poker calendar."
For the price of one $1,060-buy-in, that will most definitely be true for the winner. The fourth annual WPT Celebrity Invitational is open only to invited guests and poker players already in for the WPT World Championship in April, and pays out $200,000 to its winner.
The WPT World Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas holds an equal measure of esteem, with a $25,000 buy-in for a tournament featuring only poker's elite. Last year, pro Vanessa Rousso took home $263,265 for her 7th place finish.
The $25,000 WPT World Championship entry fee will come out of the prize pool from the women's tourney, they say, but with plenty of cash left over to pay out the winner on top of the two seats.
The world's largest poker room, the Commerce Casino, plays host and guarantees $2 million to the winner of the WPT Championship event and $1 million to the runner-up.
The Ladies No-Limit Hold'Em Tournament starts at 3:30 p.m. (PST) on Saturday, Feb. 3., and players can register on site.
For more information, visit www.commercecasino.com.