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World Poker Tour
From Venice to Pairs, Las Vegas to Barcelona – WPT overview
It started in 2002 and has been running strong ever since. The series consists of broadcasts of poker tournaments held around the globe, although the majority are held within the United States.
It often features many very well-known poker players and is hosted by Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who have both become synonymous with the tournament series.
The show has seen its share of change throughout the years it has been on however. After airing the first five seasons, The Travel Channel decided not to carry the tour any more, allowing Game Show Network, now just GSN, to carry the series for one year. When it did not work out with GSN, there was some concern that we might have seen the last of the World Poker Tour on television. However, Fox Sports Net stepped in, taking on the show, which is now in its 9th season.
The hostess appearing alongside Vince and Mike has also seen some turnover. The first, and perhaps most popular hostess of the show was the one and only Shana Hiatt.
She was followed by Courtney Friel, Sabina Gadecki, Layla Kayleigh and Kimberly Lansing together in season 6 and Amanda Leatherman.
This season, the WPT has decided to use a crew of lovely ladies, which they call the Royal Flush Girls. The Girls serve as live event ambassadors and will also appear on the show, bringing viewers behind the scenes views and player interviews. Kimberly Lansing returns to the show as the WPT Anchor, appearing in each episode along with the Royal Flush Girls, and the poker stars Vince and Mike.
Each year a new champion is crowned at the culminating event, the WPT Championship.
This year’s WPT Championship tournament will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Past WPT Champions include, in order, Alan Goehring, Martin De Knijff, Tuan Le, Joe Bartholdi Jr., Carlos Mortensen, David Chiu, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, and most recently, David Williams.
The season 5 WPT Championship, in which Carlos Mortensen outlasted all others, was the largest live poker tournament prize pool outside of the World Series of Poker. Since then the entrants, and prizes, have dropped fairly significantly. However, the WPT was recently purchased by PartyGaming (owner of Party Poker), who know a thing or two about poker and will certainly have it back on track in coming seasons.
Besides crowning a champion each year, the tour has a running player of the year tally. Past players of the year include some of the most recognizable and most respected tournament players in the world. Starting with Season One, the WPT Player of the Year winners were Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, J.C. Tran, Jonathan Little, Bertrand Grospellier, and Faraz Jaka.
As you can see, this list reads like a who’s who in the poker universe. From one of the founders of Full Tilt Poker in Howard Lederer, to one of the faces of poker, Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, to the new class of online players in PokerStars Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, these players are poker icons in the truest sense.
This season has featured international tournaments in Paris, France, Barcelona, Spain and London, England. Domestic tournaments have been or will be held in Atlantic City, Los Angeles, Mashantucket, Connecticut (Foxwoods Casino), Las Vegas and of course, home of this year’s WPT Championship, Hollywood, Florida, among other sites.
The World Poker Tour remains a , even as some of the attendance numbers for live events have been down. Don’t miss a minute of the action, watch for the World Poker Tour, Sundays on FSN.
PokerStars offers satellite tournaments to the WPT and other major events like the WSOP and Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure. You can qualify for these satellites with your Frequent Player Points (FPPS) and turn them into the adventure of a lifetime in Europe or The Bahamas!
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