The World Poker Tour, an Overview
The World Poker Tour is the bigger brother of the European Poker Tour (EPT), and although it claims to be an international event, all but three of the season six tournaments are held within the United States of America.
Brainchild of former attorney, celebrated Television producer and poker aficionado, Steven Lipscomb, the World Poker Tournament made its much vaunted debut in 2002 and has been given the honour of singlehandedly increasing the exposure and popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker throughout the world.
The WPT is a series of Hold ‘Em tournaments that take place at contracted casinos through much of the year – the poker season starts in May and goes through to April of the following year. Each event is televised and aired to the broader public, but the event is not live, and some tournaments are aired two or three months after the live action has taken place.
What makes the WPT, and the EPT for that matter, so very trendy, is that anyone who either forks out a buy-in to the event, or wins the entry via an online or land-based satellite event can pit their poker skills against the top pros of the profession, and stand to win a whole lot of money as well.
In 2004 the WPT emulated the tennis fraternity by creating the ‘Walk of Fame’ where distinguished combatants are honoured for their role in poker, and recent inductees include the movie star cum poker enthusiast, James Garner, veteran poker player Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson and Monaco-based Gus Hansen, ‘poker playboy’ par excellence.
The TV broadcasts have proved to be a monumental success and since the network debut in 2004 on NBC aptly titled “Battle of the Champions”, viewership has grown enormously. In keeping with superior standards set by the Tour, the hosts of the televised WPT events are none other than Mike ‘The Ambassador of Poker’ Sexton and American actor, Vince Van Patten.
Sexton is a poker player of some repute having won the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions event, and with it, the coveted WSOP bracelet. Van Patten too is an avid poker fan and often plays at Hollywood Poker, an online poker website, and has even written and published a book on the subject – ‘The Picasso Flop’.
The WPT ‘televised’ is alleged to be the highest rated TV program on cable and the first three seasons are even available on DVD! The broadcast rights for the sixth season of the WPT have been awarded to GSN.
WPT Point System
Each season a pre-determined number of points are awarded for all open events and the number of points range from 1000 for the winner to 200 for the 7th player at the Final Table. At the end of each season the points for each player are tallied and the highest point beneficiary is named “Player of the Year”.
- Season 1 – Howard Lederer
- Season 2 – Erick Lindgren
- Season 3 – Daniel Negreanu
- Season 4 – Gavin Smith
- Season 5 – J C Tran