World Poker Tour

In 2002, an attorney and television producer by the name of Steven Lipscomb founded the World Poker Tour (WPT). This was during a time when poker had already proven itself as a popular spectator sport, attracting viewers from around the globe. It was not long before the World Poker Tour gained a reputation as an elite international poker tournament series. Amateur and professional players from different countries come together to compete in the many tournaments that the World Poker Tour runs. Read on to learn more about the World Poker Tour, its history, and how it has developed into one of the most popular poker series today.

The history of the World Poker Tour

The first season of the WPT began in 2002, with tournaments running into early 2003. The championships were hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada by the Bellagio Casino in April 2003. World Poker Tour Enterprises, Inc. (WPTE), the controlling firm of the WPT, struck up an agreement with the Travel Channel to have the WPT aired on American cable television in spring that same year. In 2004, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) aired the WPT “Battle of Champions.” The Battle of Champions competed with the Super Bowl XXXVIII pre-game show being aired on another channel.

Between 2002 and 2007, WPT's first five seasons were aired on the Travel Channel. The sixth season of the WPT was to be aired by a different network, the Game Show Network (GSN). WPTE made the announcement for the move in April 2007. As a result, WPT's Mirage Poker Showdown debuted on GSN in March 2008. Two months later, WPTE announced another change in network: the seventh season of the WPT, in 2009, will be aired on Fox Sports Net.

The basics on the World Poker Tour

World Poker Tour events take place in many different locations around the world. Although there are numerous variants of poker, the WPT chose Texas Hold 'Em as the standard for their tournaments. Most of the WPT events are concentrated in the United States. While the events themselves, have drawn quite a number of spectators, fans and poker players, much of the success that the WPT enjoys is due to the televised broadcasts of the tournaments. The WPT is regularly aired on a weekly basis, every Monday at 9pm ET/PT on GSN. These airings allow millions of viewers to watch their favorite players and participate in the cerebral and exciting game of poker.

Televised events are usually designed and optimised for regular season airings. WPT televised tournaments are normally run in arenas that are set up specifically for broadcasts. Viewers are able to see the players' cards through a “hole camera” and through on-air graphics. The ability to see the players' cards allows spectators to see how players play their hands.

Aside from the hole camera and on-air graphics, viewers are also treated to live and recorded commentaries. Mike Sexton, a winner of the World Series of Poker gold bracelet, is one of the co-hosts on the show. The expert comments given by Sexton allow viewers to learn about the game as they watch. Terminology for different poker situations, actions, and card combinations are often explained through the commentaries or the on-air graphics. The host for the show has changed over the past seasons, but one of the famous hosts is Vince Van Patten, who served as host for the first three seasons of the show.

The WPT Amateur Poker League (APL) offers amateur players a chance to climb the ranks and win a WPT Event Seat. Basically, the WPTAPL begins on a regional level and progresses towards the National Championship Event. The WPTAPL site offers helpful information, services, and tools for those who want to join the Tour's amateur league.

The unofficial motto of the World Poker Tour is: "May all your cards be live, and your pots be monsters."

The World Poker Tour online

WPTE has established a solid online presence for the WPT. The homepage of the World Poker Tour has numerous features and services for fans, poker players, and anyone who wants to get to know about the WPT and WPTE. Homepage visitors can look through the site's “Poker Room” to find some of the WPT-sponsored online poker sites, to learn how to play poker, or to make use of an odds calculator made for poker. Visitors can also find the schedules for both live and televised events. The homepage also features a database of famous WPT players. Statistics, photos, videos, and poker lessons are just some of the other things that WPT homepage visitors can check out.

Aside from the homepage, there are a number of other WPT websites. For example, people who are looking to buy WPT merchandise can visit their online shop to buy WPT-branded items, such as shirts, caps, shot glasses, key chains, and poker chip sets. Other WPT sites focus on their special services and offers. The WPT Cruise site focuses on special gaming cruises where players can join WPT players on-board gaming cruises to different destinations. The WPT Boot Camp is a website where players can sign-up for professional poker lessons to help them get ready for WPT events.

The numerous websites on the WPT is a testament to the Tour's success. While the sites mentioned above are the official websites that are actually sponsored by the WPT, there are numerous other sites that offer information on the WPT. In fact, there are WPT fan sites where people can come together to share their enthusiasm for the Tour.

More on the World Poker Tour

Another popular aspect of the WPT is its games. Numerous World Poker Tour games have been released for different consoles. In 2005 and 2006, 2K Sports and WPTE released World Poker Tour games for Playstation 2, Xbox, Playstation Portable, Game Boy Advance, and the PC. These games allow players to go up against their favorite professional poker players as seen on the WPT. One interesting aspect of some of these WPT games is that you can create your own player and begin your poker career. Also, WPT games often feature numerous poker variants for players to choose from.

WPT games also come in the format of mobile games and online games. The WPT Mobile website offers WPT 7-Card Stud games and WPT Texas Hold 'Em games for mobile phones. These mobile games have won numerous awards from different game review websites. Online WPT games can be played through the online poker sites that are affiliated with the WPT. On the Internet, players can go head-to-head with other players all around the world to compete for a WPT Event Seat.

With its television shows, websites, video games, fan base, and multiple tournaments and leagues, the WPT has proven itself as one of the world's premier poker tournaments series. In fact, fans can even purchase DVD copies of the past WPT seasons. These DVDs have special features, such as interviews and commentaries by some of the famous WPT players. Even though the WPTE has entered into various fields of marketing, merchandise, and services, it seems that WPTE has much more in store as it continues to develop and market the World Poker Tour.