2015 WSOP National Championship Schedule Announced
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has finalized the details for the 2015 WSOP National Championship, the culmination of the 2014-2015 WSOP Circuit season. The tournament will run July 29th through July 31st at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina, about a three hour drive west of Charlotte.
The WSOP National Championship is a part freeroll, part high buy-in tournament reserved for the top performers during the WSOP Circuit season. A total of 100 players will get a free seat into the Championship. The first 44 of them are automatic qualifiers – 20 of those are the Main Event winners on each Circuit stop, while another 20 are the top points earners at each venue. The other 56 freerollers will be the top points earners over the course of the entire season. If there are overlapping players between the automatic qualifiers and at-large entries, more at-large entries will be granted.
Of course, that leaves four automatic qualifiers still to be determined (I know you were doing the math above and thought I was an idiot). Here there are:
Seats 97 and 98: WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey will each hold a freeroll on July 8th with the winner of each receiving a free entry into the 2015 WSOP National Championship. Players can qualify for the freerolls by finishing in the top five in any of the 90 WSOP.com Online Championship events that will run during the 30 days leading up to the freerolls.
Seat 99: Event #3 – $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry event of the WSOP National Championship Tournament Series on July 24th will award a seat to the winner in addition to the regular prize money. This is a two-day event with two starting days (so three days total).
Seat 100: $135 No-Limit Hold’em Last Chance event at Harrah’s Cherokee on July 26th. Two-day event, winner gets the seat and prize money.
In addition to the 100 players who will get to play in the WSOP National Championship for free, another 100 players will be invited to participate. These invitees will be the top 100 in the WSOP World Rankings, determined by a player’s success in official World Series of Poker gold bracelet events over the past two years. The 2015 WSOP, though, does not count for the World Rankings this year. Those top 100 players will not receive free seats, but instead will be invited to buy-in to the tournament for $10,000, rake-free.
The WSOP puts up $1 million for the initial prize pool, so with the additional invitations, the prize pool could get up to $2 million with a maximum field of only 200 players.
The 2015 WSOP National Championship is one of the few events that is actually televised by ESPN. It will take place near the end of the WSOP National Championship Tournament Series at Harrah’s Cherokee, running July 29th through July 31st. The tournament is a gold bracelet event, so in addition to the prize money, it could end up being quite the historic moment for someone.
Last year, the WSOP National Championship was held before the 2014 World Series of Poker. Dominik Nitsche, who qualified as one of the WSOP World Rankings leaders, won the event and $352,800 after buying-in for $10,000. Nitsche then went on to win Event #21 of the 2014 WSOP just a couple weeks later for his second bracelet of the year and third overall.
Harrah’s Cherokee is a unique location in that it is essentially a gambling oasis in the southeast. It is basically the only real gambling destination in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, or Tennessee. It is not particularly close to any major population center, either, but is at least a somewhat reasonable drive from Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta for those wanting a weekend getaway.
“We look forward to welcoming the best poker players in the world to Harrah’s Cherokee and the beautiful Smoky Mountains,” said Brooks Robinson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee, in a press release. “We have an avid and loyal poker-playing community that greatly supports our two annual WSOP Circuit stops and our other year-round poker offerings and we’re excited to be chosen to host this year’s WSOP National Championship.”
Added WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, “North Carolina has long been home to National Champions across a number of sports and so it’s only fitting to bring a prime-time showcase of our game to the state. We applaud the leadership of Harrah’s Cherokee on their passion for big events and a vision to be one of the top poker destinations in the world, not just the South.”