The World Poker Tour (WPT) is a series of poker tournaments currently owned by PartyGaming. WPT was started by television producer Steven Lipscomb in 2002. In November 2009, the tour was sold to PartyGaming for $12,3 million. A good source of WPT poker news is the official site WorldPokerTour.com.
The first season took place in late 2002 and early 2003, ending in a WPT Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on April 3, 2003.
Despite being called the World Poker Tour, WPT has always had a strong emphasis on the United States. The first season was comprised of the following stops:
- Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
- Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
- Costa Rica Classic at Casinos Europa in San José, Costa Rica.
- Gold Rush at the Lucky Chances Casino in Colma, California.
- World Poker Finals at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
- World Poker Open at Binion’s Horseshoe in Tunica, Mississippi.
- Euro Finals of Poker at the Aviation Club de France in Paris.
- L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
- Party Poker Million at a the ocean liner Holland America’s MS Zaandam going from Port Carneval, Florida to the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
- World Poker Challenge at Reno Hilton in Reno.
- WPT Championship at Bellagio, Las Vegas
As you can see, eight of the eleven events where held in the United States and one event was held on a cruise ship departing from a U.S. harbor. The two remaining events were held in Costa Rica and France, respectively.
By WPT season X (2011-2012) the schedule had become distinctly more international, perhaps as a response to the stricter enforcement of the U.S. online poker ban. While arranging live poker tournaments in the U.S. isn’t illegal, the strict U.S. ban has made it more difficult for tours such as WPT to find online poker sites willing to sponsor the events. Still, 11 of the 22 stops for WPT season X took place on U.S. soil. The other eleven countries were Spain, Slovenia, France (2 stops), Malta, Morocco, Czechia, Italia (2 stops), Ireland and Austria.
WPT on TV
The WPT has always been strongly associated with television broadcasting and is credited as a contributing factor to the poker boom of the 2000’s. The first season aired on the Travel Channel during the spring of 2003, and the program was so well received by the audience that WPT continued to air season II-V as well. On February 1, 2004, the WPT made its network debut on NBC with a special “Battle of Champions” tournament. WPT has also been aired by GSN (season VI) and Fox Sports Net (season VII).
In 2008, WPT followed in the foot steps of World Series of Poker (WSOP) by awarding tournament winners bracelets in addition to cash. Players who had won WPT tournaments prior to 2008 was given their bracelets retroactively. While the standard WSOP bracelet is made from gold, a WPT bracelet is made from titanium.
WPT Championship winners season I-X
Each WPT season culminates in $25 000 WPT Championship.
|I||WPT Championship||Alan Goehring||$1,011,866|
|II||WPT Championship||Martin De Knijff||$2,728,356|
|III||WPT Championship||Tuan Le||$2,856,150|
|IV||WPT Championship||Joe Bartholdi Jr||$3,760,165|
|V||WPT Championship||Carlos Mortensen||$3,970,415|
|VI||WPT Championship||David Chiu||$3,389,140|
|VII||WPT Championship||Yevgeniy Timoshenko||$2,149,960|
|VIII||WPT Championship||David Williams||$1,530,537|
|IX||WPT World Championship||Scott Seiver||$1,618,344|
|X||WPT World Championship||Marvin Rettenmaier||$1,196,858|