World Tavern Poker

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World Tavern Poker (formerly World Tavern Poker Tour) is the largest free bar poker league in the United States. As of July 2016, nearly 400 taverns, bars, and restaurants across the United States host the popular weekly or twice-weekly tournament-format games.

The manner of play is similar to a darts or pool league. All World Tavern Poker events are No-Limit Texas Hold `em tournaments. Each tournament (one tournament game; "tournament" refers to certain rules of play, particularly the continual raising of the blinds) begins with as few as two players up to hundreds of participants, and the winner is the last player left with chips.

World Tavern Poker awards over $100,000 every year in cash and prizes, including 40 seats annually to the World Series of Poker.

League structure[edit]

All World Tavern Poker host establishments offer a weekly poker tournament or tournaments over the course of two 26-week seasons year-round (February to August, August to February). Host venues are grouped by state; larger states are divided into regions. Currently, the league has over 210,000 registered members in the United States.

Seasonal structure[edit]

Each regular season consists of 26 weeks worth of tournament games, with a Mid-Season TOC Championship week (Week 13) and 2 weeks of Championship events (known as the Tavern Championship and Tavern TOC) at the end of the season. A venue may play one night a week (2 games) or as many as four nights, with each night serving as its own seasonal Tavern Ranking (with only a handful of exceptions).

During Tavern Championship Week (Week 25), the winner earns the title of Tavern Champion and a seat to the National Championship Finals. Most venues also hold a Tournament of Champions event during Week 26. This TOC tournament includes the first, second, and third-place finishers from any tournament at that particular venue during the regular season. Taverns can sign up at any point in the season and still qualify players for the Regional and National Championships.

Local tournament structure[edit]

Chip counts and blind times are based on the World Tavern Poker Rules and Guidelines for all WTP venues. The WTP Rules and Guidelines serve as the primary reference for member locations on how to operate and run their tournaments. Still, these can vary depending on the amount of time a venue has to run games, and if bars participate in the Bonus Chip Program.

Mid-Season TOC Championships[edit]

During Week 13, each tavern hosts a Mid-Season TOC Championship. The top 3 finishers from Weeks 1 through 12 receive extra chips (2,000 for each Top 3 finish), but anyone can play in this event. Individual tournament winners on Mid-Season TOC Night receive invitations to the National Tournament of Champions Semi-Finals, with the Mid-Season TOC Champion receiving a seat to the National TOC Finals.

Tavern Championships[edit]

The top 10 ranked players at the end of the season at a given bar receive a bye to the Tavern Finals, and may not play in the Semi-Finals.

Second Chance Tourney[edit]

On Tavern Championship night, persons not qualifying for the Final Table may play in a Second-Chance Tourney. The winner of this game receives a final spot from the tavern to the Regional Championships. The match is totally open; there is no requirement that a participant have played in games during the regular season, and players not in the Tavern Finals but with Regional qualification may also play. It is thus possible that the tourney may result in no extra seat being awarded.

Tournament of Champions (TOC)[edit]

Certified taverns may hold a Tournament of Champions at the end of every season (Week 26), which includes the first, second and third-place finishers from each tournament in that regular season. The top 3 finishers of a tavern's Tournament of Champions qualify for the semi-annual WTPT Tournament of Champions Tournament, alternating between Atlantic City (Spring 2014) and Las Vegas (Fall 2014). The winners of these semi-annual tourneys each receive a $10,000 World Series of Poker main event seat.

Regional Championships[edit]

At the end of each season, all regions in WTP host a Regional Championship Tournament. Regional Tournament prizes vary based on the number of participating bars in that area, and include anything from plaques to tickets to the World Tavern Poker Open to complete travel packages to Las Vegas and Atlantic City for the National Championships. Any player finishing in the top 20 in a tavern at the end of the regular season automatically qualifies for the Regional Championships.

National Championships & WTP Open[edit]

2 National Championships are held each year. Season #1 (Feb. - Aug.) is held each fall (Oct. or Nov.) in Las Vegas. Season #2 (Aug. - Feb.) and National Tournament of Champions are held in May or June in Atlantic City.

Qualifying for the National Championships[edit]

Players can qualify for the National Championships in various ways, viz:

National Quarterfinals:

1 win in any tavern during the Regular Season.

National Semifinals:

5 wins in any bar during the regular season, as well as the top 3 players in the All Star Championships (Week #13)

National Finals:

Finishing as the average points champion in a TOC (Tournament Of Champions) tavern at the end of the regular season (average of their top 10 scores);

Being the Tavern Champion (Week #25);

The Top 1% of Regional, State, and National points leaders (both on cumulative and average scores) at the end of the season receive a seat in the National Championship;

Through Regional Championships: the number of National qualifiers through Regional Championship Events varies depending on the number of participating players in that region. However, in a standard Regional Championship (ranging from 150-400 players), the top 10% qualify for the National Championship;

The top 1% of nationally ranked players (on average score) at the end of the season receive seats to the National Championship;

The top 30 cumulative points leaders (on total "ranking points"; i.e., gross points from tournament play, based on position of finish in that season's games) automatically qualify for the National Championship, as do any further players comprising the top 1% of cumulative scores; and

Any player with 10 tournament wins in a season (across all bars) automatically qualifies.

Other ways exist as well, most of which involve high ranking on points or winning sundry other tourneys.

Player ranking[edit]

A player's score for a game is determined by his finishing position relative to the number of players who started that contest. First place in a tournament game receives 10,000 points plus 50 points multiplied by the number of players beginning the game. For example, a player who finishes third in a game that began with 31 players receives 10,550 points, and the winner 11,550; fewer players than that results in lower point totals. Points are awarded to the top 20 finishers in any tournament, or to all players if 20 or fewer participate. Any player who finishes below the top 20 in a WTPT regular season tournament receives zero points.

A player must accrue a minimum of 15 games played during a season at a given bar in order to receive a full Tavern Ranking at that location. However, semi-official rankings, as well as eligibility for in-season and postseason tourneys, are based on scores from a player's first 10 best games. For ranking and scoring purposes, a game is a regular-season tournament in which the player finished in the top 20 (or "in the numbers").

Players are ranked at 4 levels every season. These averages determine eligibility for tournaments at the Tavern level and beyond:

Tavern Ranking- The average of one's top 15 scores at a given tavern;
Regional Ranking- Average of one's top 15 scores from any and all taverns in that region (in states divided into regions);
State Ranking- Average of one's top 20 scores from any and all taverns in a state; and
National Ranking- Average of one's top 25 scores from any and all WTP taverns in the nation.


External links[edit]