World Tavern Poker

Posted on

The World Tavern Poker Tour is the largest amateur poker league in the United States with events in Canada, the UK and Spain with over 75,000 registered players.

Players may join at any time during the season without fees or buy-ins. The tour consists of a three-tiered 'Tavern Championship', 'Regional Championship', and 'National Championship' structure. Wagering/gambling is prohibited at WTPT events, and taverns pay for the rights to host league events.

League Structure

The WTPT provides venues (Taverns, Bars, etc.) a league structure for No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker.

These venues are grouped by the WTPT into local regions.

Tournament Structure

This Structure was taken by the World Tavern Poker Tour Tavern Manual and Website

Upcoming events for Free World Tavern Poker Tournaments Northeast Virginia in Arlington, VA. A Meetup group with over 2317 poker players. World Tavern Poker has grown to become America's #1 Bar Poker League because our game brings people from all walks of life together for a game we all love. Over the years we have continued to revisit this rule guide to keep our game fun and available to anyone, first-timers and seasoned pros alike. Fans of Texas Hold’em Poker will love playing online poker games without the stress of the casino! Don’t settle for the all-in poker fests in OTHER social poker games! Play the best online poker games and aim for the royal flush with PlayWPT Poker, the best Vegas-style poker app that brings authentic Texas Hold’em poker to your hands.

The game played at WTPT events is No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. Players are staked 5000 points worth of chips, and the top 20 players receive points. Taverns are encouraged by WTPT to award at least the top 3 players real prizes during the regular season.

Blind Timing: WTPT suggests that taverns run two games per night, with the first game at 20 minute blinds and the second game with perhaps longer blinds, since the second game is restricted only by closing time.

Variances: Many taverns start with longer blinds and speed them up as the tournament progresses. Others start with and keep blinds as fast as 15 minutes.

Blind Levels: There are multiple versions of the WTPT blind structure. All start out with 5,000 in chips and 100/200 blinds. No structure involves antes. The differences between different published structures arise between the levels between 2000/4000 and 15000/30000, the latter of which does not exist in one version.

Variances: Between 2,000/4,000 and 5,000/10,000, some versions of the blind structures have 3,000/6,000 AND 4,000/8,000, while others have one or the other. Some taverns skip both, moving straight from 2,000/4,000 to 5,000/10,000.

Staring Chip Denominations: The 'official' WTPT starting stack is 15 red, 3 green and 2 black chips where red are worth 100 points, green are worth 500 points, and black are worth 1,000. Late players CAN PLAY but they must give up (out of play, not in the pot) an amount equal to the small and big blind (300 in chips) [ [ Table Etiquette] ]

White chips are worth 5,000, and are introduced as conditions warrant.

Variance - Bonus: Tavern owners are encouraged to incentivize their players to pre-register for each tournament by a specific cut off time through the WTPT website by awarding them 500 in extra chips for doing so.

Variance - Chips: Many taverns use Blue chips worth 200 points in their stacks. Numerous combinations of Red, Blue, Green and Black add up to 5,000, and nearly every combination is in use.

Variance - Starting amount: Some taverns have recently added a white (5,000 point) chip to the starting stacks, making the total amount of starting points 10,000, or double the usual 5,000 amount.

eason Structure & Player Ranking

A season generally lasts 15 weeks with 2 championship weeks.

A player's score for each game is determined by cross-referencing the number of players registered in the game with the player's finishing position. For example, a player who finishes third in a game that began with 31 players would receive 8400 points. Any player that finishes below the top 20 in a WTPT regular season tournament receives 'No Rank' and zero points.

Tavern Ranking

A player receives a ranking at their local tavern after playing in eight games. This tavern ranking is used to qualify for the Tavern Championship at the end of the season.

'If the tavern has opted into the 'Gold Package',' the tavern will receive a 'Season Points Leader' trophy to award to the highest ranked player.

The Tavern Ranking comprises the average of the eight highest scores awarded to the player at that location during that season.

Regional Ranking

A player receives a ranking within their region after playing in twelve games within a region as defined by WTPT. The regional ranking is used to qualify for the Regional and National Championships at the end of the season.

The Regional Ranking comprises the average of the twelve highest scores awarded to the player within a region during that season.

National Ranking

The WTPT Defines this as 'National', however the Tour's reach has expanded to venues in multiple countries.

A player receives a global ranking after playing in sixteen games as defined by WTPT. The global ranking is used to qualify for the 'National Championships' at the end of the season.

The Global Ranking comprises the average of the sixteen highest points awarded to the player at any tavern during that season.

Championship Structure

At the end of the regular season, the Tavern Championships will be played at each tavern.

Tavern Championships

The Tavern Championships generally provide larger prizes than general season tournaments, with the Tavern Champion receiving a WTPT trophy. The Tavern Championships occur on one day in two stages: Semi-Finals and Finals.

emi Finals

The top 10 players in the Tavern Ranking are exempt from this round, and qualify directly for the Finals.

All other ranked players in the Tavern are invited to the Tavern Championship Semi-Finals.

The Semi-Finals are played differently from other WTPT events. The Semi-Finals are played in a Shootout Format and begin with 10,000 in chips (if the venue has enough chips, or standard 5,000), where players who qualify to play are seated at tables of generally equal size, and each table is played as a single table tournament until one player wins at each table.

The winner of each Semi-Final table qualifies for the Tavern Championship Finals, and will be joined by the top 10 ranked players from the tavern.



All players in the Tavern Championship Finals qualify for the Regional Championships. The winner receives a WTPT trophy. All other prizes are determined by the tavern.

As with the Semi-Finals, the tavern has the option to give players 10,000 in starting chips if they have enough chips to go around, or the standard 5,000.

Regional Championships

A player may qualify by reaching the Tavern Championship Finals at any Tavern on the Tour, or by being ranked in the top 10 in the region. An additional n players with the highest regional rankings may be invited on a 'wait list' to the Regional Championship by the WTPT, where n will be determined by the WTPT before the Regional Championship occurs. Each tavern also has one additional at-large seat that may be used at the tournament director's discretion.

The Regional Championships provide seats to the 'National Championships', and much larger prizes than tavern based tournaments, with the Regional Champion in large enough markets receiving a seat to the World Championships with certain expenses paid. The Regional Championships generally occur on a weekend and can last for many hours.

The structure mirrors that of a standard season tournament, with starting stacks of 9,000, and blinds going up around every 20 minutes, following standard WTPT blind schedules.

Larger 'Super Regionals', combining many regions into a single tournament, often start with 250-400 players and award the top 16-24 players seats to the National Championships.

National Championships & WTP Open

A player may qualify for the National Championships by being in the top 20 highest players ranked worldwide, or by placing in the top n in the Regional Championships, where n will be determined by the WTPT before the Regional Championship occurs.

The National Championship occurs at a semi-annual event called the 'WTP Open', which usually includes two season World Championships, a WTP Open cash tournament, and numerous side tournaments at a host casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Previous host casinos have included the Binions located in Las Vegas, NV and the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ.

The grand prize of the WTP World Championship is a buy-in for a World Series of Poker event.

The WTP Open generally combines two National Championships, however WTP Open 6 will host only the Winter 2008 National Championships among the WTP Open and side tournaments at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, March 2-5, 2008.

Tournament of Champions

Taverns that pay for the privilege to do so may hold a Tournament of Champions at the end of the season, which will include the first and second place finisher from each tournament from the regular season.

'Gold Package Taverns' are highlighted on the Tour's website with a Tournament of Champions medallion as participating in the event.

World of fortune

Every player who places first or second more than once during the regular season will receive an additional 1,000 in starting chips to the original 5,000 received for qualifying for the tournament.

The winner of a tavern's Tournament of Champions will qualify for the annual WTPT $10,000 Tournament of Champions Tournament usually held in Las Vegas in the Fall.

Online Promotion

World tavern

At present, the WTPT has partnered with Bodog, and has special online tournaments for nightly tournament winners and invitational tournaments for all WTPT players.

Bring It On Add-On Tournament

WTPT Players who win a tournament, open a Bodog cash account within the previous month, or earn 150 Bodog points qualify for a private tournament on the Bodog software.

This tournament is a $1.10 buy-in with $500 added to the prize pool.

Mike's Mattress Money

Once a month there is a buy-in tournament on the Bodog software that WTPT players can enter and play against WTPT employees, and in addition to winning prize money, win additional prizes for knocking out the players with 'bounties' on their heads.

This promotion has been continued for 2008.

WTPT & Poker Law

Positions on Federal Laws

On the morning of September 12, 2006, Mike Matsinger, Founder of the World Tavern Poker Tour, forwarded an email to members of the WTPT from the Poker Players Alliance which called for a 'Phone March' in opposition to bills that would ban online gaming. (Partial Text in Article Discussion)

Online Gaming

After removing Noble Poker in Fall 2006 because of the site ceasing U.S. operations, the WTPT resumed online tournament promotions through a partnership with Bodog in November 2006.


'The topic of Poker Law in Pennsylvania is also addressed in Pennsylvania sports'

The legalities of hosting WTPT events (and other poker tournaments) in Pennsylvania has led many hosts to request Advisory Opinions from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). The PLCB has consistently responded that self-hosting Hold-Em tournaments with no buy-in is legal with prizes of up to $500 as long as the tournament does not constitute 'unlawful gambling'.

However, Advisory Opinion 2006-63 states that third Parties (including WTPT) can not conduct or sponsor events. 'However, retail liquor licensees, may permit events on the licensed premises which are sponsored by groups constituting a league..'

In order to clear up such contradictions, the PLCB has developed a FAQ page for licensed establishments. [ [ FAQs about Texas Hold'em from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board] ]


Prizes at WTPT league events in Michigan were suspended because they were found to be counter to Michigan's regulations of Texas Hold 'Em. [ [,1607,7-111-35016_35718-113696--,00.html - Texas Hold'em Regulations] ]


WTPT games at Dempsey's Pub in Fitchburg, MA were stopped after a city regulation that states, 'Card playing in bars in the city of Fitchburg will be prohibited. This regulation does not include clubs,' was revealed at a July 5th License Commission meeting to the bar's owner. [ [ - Law Forces Massachusetts Pub To Bow Out Of World Tavern Poker Tour] ]

Notable WTPT Events

Product Sponsorships

The World Tavern Poker Tour has two major sponsorship agreements with products related to those who frequent taverns, and one sponsorship with a poker magazine. Other sponsorships have been formed, but have not been confirmed as ongoing or one-time.

BoDog was named as a tournament sponsor at the World Tavern Poker Open V in the BoDog Bounty Hunter Tournament, a live version of the online promotional monthly tournaments.

Pro Player Endurance Formula was named as a tournament sponsor in the Pro Player Speed Poker Tournament at, as well as given to all attendees of, the World Tavern Poker Open V [ [ The 5th Annual World Tavern Poker Tour] ] .

Bluff Magazine provides free magazines on a continuing basis to taverns in the WTPT, and is listed as a sponsor of WTPT Open events.

Chaser Plus tablets became an endorsing product on a continuing basis in June 2006, providing free product for players and as a result, Chaser's logo was added to commemorative championship poker chips and league promotional materials. [ [ - Chaser Becomes World Tavern Poker Tour Sponsor] ]

Ariva Dissolvable Tobacco became an endorsing product on a continuing basis in 2006, providing free products for players and as a result, all regional tournament tables are smoke-free, and Ariva's logo was added to league promotional materials. Source: WTPT Regional Championships

SoBe Adrenaline Rush was listed as a sponsor of the third World Tavern Poker Open held at the Binions in Las Vegas October 20-23, 2007. There is no indication whether this is an ongoing endorsement. [ [ Release From WTPT Listing SoBe Among Product Sponsors] ]

Fossilman Challenge

2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg Raymer is the official spokesperson for the World Tavern Poker Tour.

He has participated in two poker training events for WTPT players called the 'Fossilman Challenge'.

These events allow players to have Greg Raymer observe and critique their play, watch Greg's play, and then have the opportunity to play Greg.

Raymer hosted the first event in early April 2006 - a day long poker event at the Little River Golf Resort near Pinehurst, NC.

Raymer hosted the second event on March 11, 2007 at Hucka's Sports Bar in Baltimore, MD.

Raymer attended the 2007 World Tavern Poker Open V in Las Vegas, NV.


[ Coverage by Poker News]

[ Pictures From the Event (WTPT Website)]

[ WTPT - 2007 Fossilman Challenge]

[ 2007 Fossilman Challenge listed on Greg Raymer's Official Website]

2006 WTPT Open at Binions in Las Vegas, NV

This World Tavern Poker Open occurred in Las Vegas, NV October 20-23, 2007.

Roger Barnes shot video of people on the street and fellow attendees, which made it to [ [ - Roger Barnes/World Tavern Poker Open 3] ]

Bluff Magazine sponsored the 'Bluff Tournament', and an article appeared in the February 2007 issue of Bluff Magazine covering 'Bluff's World Tavern Poker Championship'. [ [ Bluff Magazine Coverage of World Tavern Poker Open 3 - February 2007, Page 32] ]

This was the third such event and the first in Las Vegas.

2007 WTPT Open IV at the Hilton in Atlantic City, NJ

The fourth World Tavern Poker Open occurred in Atlantic City, NJ May 6th-8th, 2007 at the Atlantic City Hilton Hotel and Casino.

2007 WTPT Open V at Binions in Las Vegas, NV

The fifth World Tavern Poker Open occurred in Las Vegas, NV November 1-5, 2007 at Binion's Gambling Hall and Casino.

2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg Raymer attended the event, and played in tournaments including the BoDog Bounty Tournament and the Pro Player Speed Poker Tournament.

In addition to numerous poker tournaments, events included two costume parties, a party at Mickie Finnz on Fremont Street East featuring Michael Filipelli of Jeanne and the Pianoman, a marriage proposal skit involving a poker hand and Greg Raymer, trivia games and embarrassing people for prizes.

World Poker Tour calls World Tavern Poker Tour a competitor in Players v. World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour, a televised tour of high-stakes buy-in poker tournaments that attract top professional poker players, has mentioned the relationship between Greg Raymer and the World Tavern Poker Tour in a response from the lawyers of World Poker Tour Entertainment.

The complaint by the Players (Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joseph Hachem, Howard Lederer and Greg Raymer) mentions that 'Mr. Raymer has entered into a number of contracts in which he has licensed the use of his name, likeness, image and other intellectual property rights, including the exclusive right to use his intellectual property rights to promote the PokerStars online poker website, appear in Crave video games, represent the World Tavern Poker Tour and appear on Wager, Inc. casino slot machines.' [ [ Player Complaint against World Poker Tour] ]

World Tavern Poker

World Poker Tour Entertainment's response to the complaint accuses the relationship between Greg Raymer and World Tavern Poker Tour as being one of working for a competing tour, 'Plaintiffs' own Complaint asserts that these seven players have all entered into lucrative contracts to license the use of their names, likenesses, images, and other intellectual property rights to other poker-related entities, including online poker gaming websites such as .. PokerStars; .. video games; .. and even the WPTE competitor World Tavern Poker Tour.' [ [ World Poker Tour Answer to Player Complaint] ]

External links

* [ WTPT - Official World Tavern Poker Tour Website]