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Poker News | World Poker News

World Poker Tour (WPT)

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The World Poker Tour, or WPT as it is more commonly known, is an organization that coordinates and schedules Texas Hold ‘em Poker tournaments around the world. The tour season runs year round and ends in April of each year with the 1st place prize for the winner of each event including a $25,000 buy-in to the $25,000 World Championship event. The World Championship event is held every April at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The WPT was founded in United States by Steven Lipscomb who now serves as the CEO of WPT Enterprises, the organization that controls the WPT events. With Lipscomb’s background as an attorney and television producer, he was a key factor in making sure the first season of the WPT on 2003 was aired on the Travel Channel. That monumental inaugural season spanned 13 events with the finale seeing poker pros Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, and Doyle Brunson gracing the final table where Alan Goehring bested them all, to win the first WPT championship title and $1,011,886 to go along with it.  

With the WPT in its eighth season, participant numbers and prize pool amounts have seen a tremendous increase. Growing from just thirteen tournaments in 2002 -2003 which were all held in the US, to 17 world-wide events in 2009-2010, the global popularity of Texas Hold’em has definitely been a boost for the continued success of the WPT. In examining past years of the WPT, the constant growth of the tour is evident. In 2003 the first place prize for the L.A. Poker Classic was $532,490 dollars, the same tournament held in 2009 paid winner Cornel Andrew Cimpan a cool $1,686,760.

Keeping pace with the major tournaments currently on the vast live poker circuit schedule, the usual buy-in to WPT events is $10,000, and for the championship event it is $25,500.   Due to the large buy-ins, many players opt to win their seats to WPT events by playing satellites at online poker rooms and at the hosting casino, where they can win prize packages to WPT events for a fraction of the normal buy-in.

The WPT also awards Player of the Year points to the top seven finishers in each tournament; the winner receives 1000 points, second place receives 700 points, third earns 600 points, and seventh place is awarded 200 points.

WPT Players of the year so far are:

•    Season 1 - Howard Lederer
•    Season 2 – Erick Lindgren
•    Season 3 - Daniel Negreanu
•    Season 4 - Gavin Smith
•    Season 5 - J.C. Tran
•    Season 6 - Jonathan Little
•    Season 7 - Bertrand Grospellier

The players who have made a WPT final table appearance the most are:
•    Phil Ivey - 8
•    Gus Hansen - 7
•    Daniel Negreanu - 7
•    Scotty Nguyen - 7
•    David Pham - 7
•    Kathy Liebert - 6
•    John Juanda - 6

Most WPT events are recorded and aired on TV; on the Travel Channel Saturday’s at 5:00 pm and the Game Show Network (GSN) on Sundays at 10:00 pm EST. The few events that are not broadcast on TV are available to view online at the WPT website with a subscription. Reruns are also regularly shown on cable TV channels and the past seasons are also available on DVD. Since the debut of The World Poker Tour TV shows, what made them an instant hit was the use of "hole cams" that allowed viewers to actually see the cards that each of the final six players had. This first of its kind, unique feature helped fuel the viewer’s passion for the game and helped spur the global poker boom.

The announcers for the WPT televised events since the beginning in 2002 have been Vince Van Patten and Mike Sexton.  Although their lively commentary appears to be done live in real time, gaming regulations prohibit them from being able to view a live feed of the hole card cameras, therefore their observations of the game play is added after the tournament has taken place. Besides Sexton and Van Patten, viewers are able to enjoy commentary and player interviews done by beautiful, female hostesses. Over the past six seasons hostesses have included; Shana Hiatt, Courtney Friel and currently Layla Kayleigh and Kimberly Lansing.

The current WPT schedule includes the following events:

•    WPT Venice  - Casino Di Venezia, Venice, Italy
•    WPT Spanish Championship - Casino Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
•    Bellagio Cup V – Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
•    Legends of Poker - The Bicycle Casino, Bell Gardens, California, USA
•    WPT Slovakia - Golden Vegas Casino, Bratislava, The Slovak Republic
•    WPT Merit Cyprus Classic - Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino, Alsancak Mevkii Kyrenia, Cyprus
•    Borgata Poker Open – Borgata Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
•    WPT Marrakech - Casino De Marrakech, Hivernage, Marrakech, Africa
•    Festa al Lago – Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
•    Foxwoods World Poker Finals - Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA
•    Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
•    Southern Poker Championship - Beau Rivage Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
•    L.A. Poker Classic - Commerce Casino, Commerce, California, USA
•    WPT Celebrity Invitational - Commerce Casino, Commerce, California, USA
•    Bay 101 Shooting Star - Bay 101, San Jose, California, USA
•    Hollywood Poker Open - Hollywood Casino, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA
•    WPT World Championship – Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

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