WPT to host record number of players at World Championship event

The World Poker Tour (WPT) has announced that it is expecting nearly 600 players from around the world to converge at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino this April for the WPT World Championship tournament series. According to the poker tour, the Season 4 finale may award first place with a record-breaking top prize of $3.5 million, while second and third places could clear $1 million each.

The WPT World Championship is slated to run in Las Vegas from April 18-24, 2006, with an estimated prize pool of between $12 and $15 million. Some of the world's best players from almost 40 different countries will shell out the $25,000 buy-in to compete in the event. Tournament organizers say the tournament could pay out to 100 players, meaning 1 in 6 will finish in the money.

"We are excited to host the WPT World Championship for the fourth consecutive year," said Doug Dalton, director of poker operations for Bellagio. "The pots are getting higher and the number of participants is growing with every tournament. Bellagio is proud to be a part of this phenomenon."

"In our four short years, the WPT World Championship has really become the tournament players' tournament," says Steve Lipscomb, founder and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. "The $25,000 buy-in insures that these players are among the world's best. However, what's fun is that this championship is still an open event and anyone with the heart, the courage and the skills can find themselves at the final table, cashing in for millions of dollars."

Satellite tournaments for the WPT World Championship are being run by more than 49 land-based and online casinos, many with small buy-ins. Bellagio will run tournaments daily beginning on April 5 that will award seats to the event. The casino will also offer two $2,500 Super Satellite Tournaments on Sunday, April 16, and Monday, April 17. Two years ago actor James Woods was among those who won a seat on the final day.

Interested players can qualify via PokerListings.com. Please see PokerRoom.com or VIP Poker for further details.

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