World Poker Tour -- The Beginning of a Phenomenon
World Poker Tour high stakes poker tournaments started a revolution in the way the game is viewed, enjoyed, followed and played. Even though the World Series of Poker had been televised for years before the World Poker Tour (WPT), the game of poker was elevated when "WPT cams" were placed around the table so that the world could experience seeing what hand the players were playing and become emotionally involved in the decisions that were being made. When you add the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars are laid out on the table with watching a few "instant millionaires" being made at these events, the world was hooked. But when word got out that anyone could challenge the planet's top poker player for six to seven-figure piles of money, individuals from all over came out to take up the challenge.
The WPT is made up of a number of high stakes poker tournaments held in different locations all over the globe. They are open to anyone willing to pay the entry fee, sometimes as high as $25,000 per seat. A person who wishes to enter any of these events can simply contact the casino hosting the event to do so. WPT CEO Steven Lipscomb started the idea of televised poker events with the WPT cams on cable back in February 2002. The breakaway success of this idea spawned many similar ideas and has inspired numerous land based casinos that had closed their poker rooms after dismissing poker as financially not worth the effort, to reopen them. Today, on top of seeing the best of the best in poker you can see millionaires, CEO's, rocket scientists, software kings, mathematicians, women and actors at the tables shoulder to shoulder competing to see who is the best. And on occasion, you can see an amateur beating a seasoned professional which sends out a resounding message that anyone can win.
Having been rewarded for staying a step ahead of the pack by reaching for new levels in the arena of poker, in September 2004 the WPT announced the tournament schedules for seasons 4, 5 and 6 that covers up until 2008 to a waiting public. (Those schedules are subject to change as more and more casinos and online poker rooms vie to host WPT events.) Beginning in 2004 the WPT has also announced the creation of a special poker tour for professionals only called the Professional Poker Tour. The difference is that the criteria for entry will be based on success in previous tournament play verses the WPT where anyone willing to pay the fee can enter regardless of past performance or skill level.
Another innovation is that WPT has partnered with land based and online poker rooms to establish satellite tournaments that can allow a player to win a seat to a WPT event without having to pay the pricey seat fees. These satellite tournaments often have entrance prices of under $200.00, which makes it more affordable for those seeking to play in a WPT event.
The WPT has grown to where it has made an offering of common stock under the NASDAQ symbol WPTE (World Poker Tour Enterprises). And agreements have been completed to have the show presented in Australia, Sweden, South Korea and the Philippines. They have also partnered with WagerWorks to build an online site that will allow real money wagering for poker players, so look for it in the future. (At the time of this writing, U. S. wagers will not be accepted on this new site). Being the version of a reality television series, you can expect new innovations to keep the World Poker Tour on top of the game of poker.