The World Poker Tour has been at the forefront of bringing televised tournament poker to America since its creation in 2002. Since its inception, the prize pools (as well as the player fields) have dramatically increased in each successive year. Now the WPT is attempting to take its game into the international arena.
World Poker Tour Enterprises announced Monday that it is expanding its tour into both Canada and the Philippines, creating a national tour in both countries. These licensing agreements basically allow a "regional" national tour to be created and to continue the growth of the game of poker and the WPT itself. This is a natural step for the WPT; the current program that airs on the Travel Channel in America is licensed for broadcast in 116 nations and has been influential in the growth of the game around the world. It is perfectly natural to believe that such nations as England, France and many others could soon be around the corner.
"We are very pleased to bring the WPT to the fans in other countries who have been itching to try their hand at making a WPT Final Table," exclaimed Steve Lipscomb, CEO and founder of WPT Enterprises. Lipscomb anticipates additional regional WPT Tours to be licensed in the future, as the skyrocketing popularity of the show continues to create worldwide fans. "It would be fun to see local players evolve into regional poker stars, just as those that have played on the primary WPT tour over the past few years, have garnered international recognition and are recognized everywhere."
The regional tours will not be lacking for television, either. Lipscomb and WPT Enterprises have enlisted ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., the largest integrated media and entertainment company in the Philippines, and Aidan Tracey, a respected Canadian marketing/ sponsorship/promotion expert, to drive the regional WPT tours. ABS-CBN Broadcasting is one of the predominant television groups in the Philippines and Tracey is looked to carry the ball in Canada with his experience in bringing the World Beer Games (2002-2003) to the television in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
From the information that has been presented, each regional tour will feature between four to six tournaments in their country and are expected to kick off in 2006. The tournaments will be in the usual format of the WPT USA tournaments, No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em. It is expected that hundreds of players will step to the felt to attempt to become their country's champion, who will be sent to the WPT Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
For those that cannot make the trek to the United States to play in the main game, these regional tournaments may be an excellent method to continue the growth of poker. It would be good as well to see the WPT break the U. S. into such regional sections and run something along the same lines, for those who don't have the bankroll to immediately jump to playing on the WPT. For more information on the new international look of the World Poker Tour, head to wptonline.com and learn more!
Ed Note: Speaking of playing globally, Everest Poker's software allows you to see chat in many different languages. Give it a look.