The start of June saw 76 top players assemble for the star-studded final table at of Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions played at the HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor in Las Vegas, where the level of play was nothing other than elite.
In the end, it was German high roller Ole Schemion lifting the trophy and adding his name to a limited champion of champions roster. Schemion is already a legend in gaming circles with 18 tournament wins across eight different countries, including a WPT European Championship title from 2018, a high roller title and three super high roller wins. Winning the tournament’s top prize of $440,395 and other perks takes Schemion's earnings to over $15.8 million.
After dominating the final table with an overwhelming chip lead, Schemion lost almost all of his chips and was one card away from elimination with three players remaining. Weathering the storm, he managed to win that hand and go on to collect all of the chips. The event organisers added $100,000 to the prize pool and an extra $50,000 for the winner, bringing the total to $1,290,000 with ten players making the money.
This indeed a substantial prize pool yet it is still some way off the winning being offered over ten years ago at the Asian Poker Tour. The 2008 Macau tournament boasted a mouth-watering guaranteed prize pool of US$1.5 million. Two hundred fifty-seven players from 40 countries lined up for a chance to win a guaranteed first prize of US$500, 000 – a landmark for the development of poker in Asia. In the end, 20-year-old Ukrainian Yevgeniy Timoshenko bagged the first prize in the event opened by Jack Binion, the legendary host of the 1970 World Series of Poker.