The Bellagio is considered by many to be the top destination for poker in Las Vegas. Many know the venue for the iconic “Bobby’s Room” but the venue is also famous for helping to make the World Poker Tour one of the game’s elite tours.
Bellagio is the former home of the WPT World Championship and the Five-Star World Poker Classic has run there since the tour’s inception. The Bellagio All-Time Money List is a virtual who’s who of WPT champions and top performers.
Tom Marchese sits atop Bellagio’s All-Time Money List with $5.89 million. The ‘kingofcards’ scored his first career seven-figure score at Bellagio in 2012 by winning the $100k High Roller of the WPT World Championship for $1.3 million.
In 2014, Marchese secured a pair of seven-figure scores at Bellagio in High Roller Event. First, he finished 3rd in a $100k Bellagio Super High Roller for $1.46 million and then tacked on another $1.57 million during the WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas after finishing runner up to Andrew Lichtenberger.
Most recently, Marchese tacked on another million to his totals after finishing runner-up in the $100k Super High Roller of the 2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
Recently, we reported that Marchese was second on Aria’s All-Time Money List with $6.16 million in earnings. Vegas has been very good to Marchese, accounting for $12 million of his nearly $16 million in career earnings.
Poker Hall of Famer Carlos Mortensen is second on this list with $5.19 million. The majority of those earnings came on the strength of the two WPT titles he’s won at Bellagio.
Mortensen won his first WPT title all the way back in 2004 after taking down the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship. The final table featured fellow Hall of Famers John Juanda and Erik Seidel. Mortensen defeated Thang Pham heads-up for the title and a cool $1 million.
In 2007, Mortensen earned what’s easily been the largest payout of his live poker career after taking down the WPT Championship. Mortensen defeated Kirk Morrison heads-up for the title and $3.97 million.
Over 40% of Mortensen’s $12 million in live tournament earnings have come because of his play at Bellagio.
Bellagio has also been good to Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. He’s won $3.88 million there, third all-time. Both of Negreanu’s WPT titles were won in 2004 with the second at Bellagio.
Negreanu topped a 376-player field to win the $15k WPT Championship after surviving a tough final table that included Nam Le, Jennifer Harman and Humberto Brenes. Negreanu beat Brenes heads-up for the title and $1.77 million.
He nearly took his third WPT title during the $15k Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic in 2006 but fell short with a 3rd place finish. Joe Hachem eventually took the title. In 2013, Negreanu was the final table bubble boy in the WPT Championship, finishing 7th.
Negreanu has performed well in WPT at Bellagio. To date, he has nine cashes with two final tables and one victory.
Joe Bartholdi Jr
Joe Bartholdi is one of the game’s true “one hit wonders” and is fourth on this list with $3.81 million. Almost all of it came from his win the 2006 WPT Championship. He topped a field of 605 players to win the event and $3.76 million.
The final table was headlined by Roland de Wolfe, James Van Alstyne and Men “The Master” Nguyen. Vanessa Rousso just missed making this final table, finishing in 7th.
This event was also significant in that the runner-up, David Matthew, qualified for the $25k event for a mere $25. He won $1.9 million.
After his WPT victory, Bartholdi continued playing for a few years, but never came close to the success he did in that single event. His last few recorded cashes were in recurring events at the Wynn with is last recorded cash coming in 2013.
Pro Dan Smith has earned $3.68 million at Bellagio with the bulk of that figure coming in just two events. Back in December 2013, Smith finally broke through for his first major live tournament victory by taking down the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
Smith navigated his way through a field of 449 players to make the final table and then dispatched the likes of Eddy Sabat, Barry Hutter, Joe Serock and Gary Benson to win $1.16 million.
Dan Smith the champ at Bellagio. ! 24 years old and now a millionaire Congrats— Vince Van Patten (@VinceVanP_WPT) December 12, 2013
Six months later, Smith earned another monster score at Bellagio, this time in a $100k Super High Roller. The final table was a who’s who of the modern game with Doug Polk, Jason Somerville, Tom Marches and Jason Mercier all shooting for the top prize.
Smith ultimately bested Mercier heads-up to take the title and $2.04 million. That was Smith’s best live score to that point and still his second largest single cash ever. His top career score came at the 2016 WSOP when he finished runner-up in the One Drop High Roller $3.07 million.
The Best of the Rest
Looking at the bottom half of the top 10, we have one Hall of Famer, a likely future Hall of Famer and three well-known pros. Bellagio may not hold as many events as some other venues around the world, but the ones they run are some of the most prestigious.
- 6 – David Chiu – $3.54 million
- 7 – Erik Seidel – $3.51 million
- 8 – David Sands – $3.08 million
- 9 – Eugene Katchalov – $2.93 million
- 10 – Martin De Knjiff – $2.93 million
Writer’s Note: Stats courtesy of thehendonmob.com