In June of 2002 a little upstart television show filmed its first episode. Now in its sixth season, the popular World Poker Tour (WPT) has announced plans to be even bigger and better.
WPT Founder, President and CEO, Steve Lipscomb announced the hiring of new staff and their plans for the WPT to expand in China. This is all part of the WPT’s goal of becoming a recognized name around the globe.
The WPT will be broadcasting their live tournaments in China. Per the WPT website the game in China will be Traktor, which is “a traditional folk game.” Talking about the Chinese game of Traktor, Lipscomb said, “Traktor is wildly different than poker. What we’re doing in China is going after a game they’re used to playing over there. A third or more of the people in mainland China know how to play.”
China Leisure Sports Administrative Center (CLSAC) is a government agency in China that regulates sports games like ping pong. The CLSAC signed an agreement with the WPT to allow Traktor tournaments and programming.
Commenting on gaming in China, Lipscomb said, “WPT China is very different by its nature. There’s no gaming. There’s no buy in. It’s a game of skill. We’re taking a home grown game that those guys love and holding tournaments all across the country that end with a national championship. The nature of a game allows a true champion to emerge. The response has been overwhelming so far. Many of the tournaments have reached their limits on the number of players.”
The WPT global marketing plan has shown great success in France thanks to Rohin Malhotra. Rohin was hired from PartyGaming and has been directing the WPT’s programming into new countries. Lipscomb knows televising the WPT in the USA is one of the reasons for the huge popularity of poker there. “We have the best poker television in the world. When we take that into international markets and find ways to leverage it, Rohin is an expert. He’s a smart and savvy guy that knows the space well,” commented Lipscomb.
After the WPT aired there, France has seen a huge boon to poker, even without American commentators Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Regarding the new French commentators, Lipscomb said, “You’d never even know Mike and Vince existed.”
With the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic coming up, season six of the WPT promises to be bigger and better than ever. Speaking of the new season Lipscomb commented, “It is another level up. It’s our job every year to outdo ourselves. When you watch Season 6 of the WPT, it will blow you away. The open is probably 10 times better than what we’ve done before. It shows legitimately where the phenomenon came from.” He also thinks the Game Show Network (GSN) is a good spot for season six of the WPT to air.
Check your local TV guide for dates and times of the WPT, exclusively on GSN.