The World Poker Tour National series may not have the prestige of the main WPT stops, but tournaments on the tour still attract strong fields and pretty significant prizes.
So while it might not make headlines every time someone wins a WPT National event, winning four in just over two years is certainly a feat worth celebrating.
That’s what France’s Laurent Polito has accomplished, as he claimed victory on Sunday in the WPT National Brussels Main Event.
The win earned Polito €56,500 ($61,800), and brought Polito’s career earnings to well over $1.4 million.
In order to secure his victory, Polito had to wade his way through a field of 428 players in order to end up in a heads-up battle against Michal Mrakes of the Czech Republic.
The chip lead went back and forth several times before Polito’s AK was able to hold up against Mrakes’ Q8, winning him both the prize money and the WPT National Chrystal trophy.
This was Polito’s first WPT National victory in Belgium.
The Frenchman had previously won three times in his home country, twice in Paris and once in Cannes.
Remarkably, the four WPT National wins on Polito’s resume are also the only four cashes he has on the tour, taking the idea of “win or go home” to a whole new level. The four victories have combined to add about $450,000 to his career earnings.
With the most recent win, Polito has become the first play ever to win four WPT National Main Events.
Polito has had some success outside of the WPT as well, making many appearances on the European Poker Tour.
His biggest career win came at the 2012 EPT Barcelona stop, when he won the €10,000 ($10,950) High Roller to win €270,229 ($295,750).
The WPT National Tour will make its next stop in London beginning on July 30. The series returns to Brussels again in October.
The WPT National Series and Regional Series were first launched in 2010.
The tournaments were designed as a mid-point between local casino tournaments and the high buy-in events that are typically held on the WPT Main Tour, with the concept of giving players a chance to experience a WPT atmosphere at a fraction of the normal price.
While tournaments on the National and Regional tours feature WPT branding, they do not award WPT bracelets and do not count towards the WPT Player of the Year race.
In Other WPT News
The tour’s Alpha8 series is back on television.
The first episode of Season 2 of the series, which only features tournaments with buy-ins of at least $100,000, premiered its American television coverage on July 20 on Fox Sports 1.
The first tournament to be covered was held at the Royal Beach Casino in St. Kitts, with future episodes dealing with events in Las Vegas, Florida, and other locations.
“The WPT Alpha8 series is about creating unforgettable poker experiences for both the competitors and the viewers at home,” WPT President Adam Pliska said. “With buy-ins starting at $100,000, and re-entries available, WPT Alpha8 events bring together an eclectic group of players to complete for enormous prize pools, and we are eager to showcase poker at the most elite level, with a few surprises, in Season 2.”