WORLD POKER TOUR INFOMATION
By George Steinbach
The World Poker Tour is a collection of poker tournaments featuring most of the world's professional players.
The tour had its debut season in the latter part of 2002 and early part of 2003, climaxing with the WPT Championship in April 2003 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first season aired on the American cable station Travel Channel in the spring of 2003. The show made its network debut on February 1, 2004 on NBC with a special "Battle Of Champions" tournament, which aired against CBS coverage of Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The World Poker Tour is a collection of international Texas hold 'em poker tournaments held internationally and on board cruise ships, but mainly in the United States. The television show has led to a boom in the table game across American homes, local casinos and poker rooms, and online. It is perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, that the key sponsors of the tour are casinos and online poker sites. The show, hosted by Mike Sexton, is also syndicated internationally.
Much like the longtime World Series of Poker, a poker tournament gives each player an equal amount of money to start off with in chips, with different colors representing different values. Play continues, sometimes over several days until a player runs out of money or until one player has acquired all of the money. When that occurs, that player has won the game and captures the grand prize, usually hundreds of thousands of dollars, at a WPT tournament.
The drawing power of the WPT, like any poker tournament, is that anyone who can pay the "buy-in" (an entry fee usually worth a few thousand dollars) or win a "satellite" tournament is able to compete against the top professional players, such as Phil Hellmuth or Doyle Brunson.
Fans of the show find it interesting due to technical innovations such as the ability to see the players hole cards through a small camera in front of them on the poker table (an innovation first seen on the UK program Late Night Poker). Due to the success of the show, special programs, such as the "Hollywood Home Game", featuring celebrities playing for charity, and "Ladies Night", where six of the top women played against each other, were developed.
In 2004 the World Poker Tour created a Walk of Fame, inducting poker legends Doyle Brunson and Gus Hansen as well as actor James Garner.