WPT – World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour
by K. Swope of Predictem.com

The World Poker Tour was founded in late 2002 by Steven Lipscomb. The WPT is a series of international Texas Holdem tournaments held primarily in the United States, and was formed with the intentions of creating a television show to cover all the action. The show currently airs on the GSN television network and the Tour has been up and running for six seasons. The show is colorfully commented by poker player Mike Sexton and actor Vince Van Patten and has been hosted by several lovely ladies currently represented in the form of Layla Kayleigh.

Steven Lipscomb is a television producer and CEO of WPTE which operates as the parent company for the World Poker Tour. Noticing the spike in popularity of tournament poker in the late 1990s Lipscomb looked to capitalize on the television market by designing a series of poker tournaments with several well recognized professional players promoting the show.

The WPT is open to any player willing to spend the large buy in amount of $25k for each main event. This usually limits the field of public players and offers a better chance for the common poker lackey to rub elbows with some of the popular championship poker pros while adding the excitement of becoming a world televised player. Each tournament also holds a certain amount of points divided amongst the field which are used to calculate the Player of the Year award handed out at the end of each WPT season. The previous winners of this award have been notable stars of the poker realm, in season one Howard Lederer took the honor followed by Eric Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, and J. C. Tran, respectively.

Steven Lipscomb has used the success of his World Poker Tour to spawn similar poker shows such as the defunct Professional Poker Tour, Hollywood Home Game (featuring various celebrities playing for charities), Ladies Night (with six of the top female poker players), and a special Battle Of Champions tournament that aired on NBC on February 1st, 2004, competing with CBS Super Bowl Pre-game show. In January of 2008 the WPT announced a series of tournaments for women known as, WPT Ladies, with buy ins ranging from $300 up to $1500. The final table of the last event is scheduled to be aired on television.

In mid July 2006 the WPT came under fire by way of a lawsuit filed in behalf of seven poker players, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Joe Hachem, Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer. The lawsuit states the WPT unlawfully places stipulations on tournament entrants and their likenesses to be used at the discretion of WPT as they deem fit, and raises problems with certain players. The players argue that if they must put up the money to buy into tournaments, travel expenses, and tournament fees that the WPT does not have a right to use their likeness to promote their show or other related products with due compensation since said players are currently under contract with outside companies under the same terms.