Season Five of the World Poker Tour is ready to kick off one week from today (May 14th) with the Mirage Poker Showdown. Bigger news, however, came from the offices of WPT Enterprises recently with the announcement of only the third land based Non American WPT sanctioned event in the history of the tour for the upcoming season.
The North American Poker Championship will be heading north of the border in October to take place at one of the crown jewels of the Canadian poker scene. The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort will play host to the event, which has previously been played out at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The casino is perhaps one of the grandest in Canada, with 3,000 slot machines, 150 gaming tables and a dedicated poker room, a 368-room luxury hotel, a full-service spa and fitness facility, a 1,500-seat showroom, 30,000 square feet of convention, conference and meeting space, a wide selection of restaurants and boutiques and one of the most famous and spectacular views in the world, the Niagara Falls which sits along the U. S./Canada border.
The stop on the tour is significant in many ways. First of all, by taking the WPT to Canada, the tour is attempting to reflect the current worldwide nature of poker. With many popular and successful poker players hailing from Canada, including former WPT Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu, current WPT Player of the Year Gavin Smith and respected professional players William Edler and Evelyn Ng, the nation has had a significant impact on the professional poker world. It seems only natural that the WPT would step outside of U. S. casinos to feature the burgeoning poker market in our neighbor next door.
Secondly, this is one of only three times that the WPT will have a tournament that isn't inside America. Other than the yearly stops at the Aviation Club in Paris and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the WPT has pretty much been restricted to casinos in the United States. If you are going to call yourself a "world" tour, you have to be willing to span the globe, to paraphrase "Wide World Of Sports", to have that impact. In the current international world that is poker, it is good to see the WPT head off to new venues for the Tour.
Steve Lipscomb, the CEO and founder of WPT Enterprises, Inc., which oversees the WPT, is ready to take the WPT to its next stop on such a global stage. "By staging the North American Poker Championship in this beautiful Canadian casino, we put out the welcome mat for all poker enthusiasts in Canada and truly lay down the gauntlet to see who can reign supreme on the continent," he stated during the announcement of the event. "We are thrilled to welcome the Niagara Fallsview to the WPT family and look forward to an inspiring and exciting event that will attract players from both sides of the border and around the world."
Niagara Fallsview officials are ready to welcome the poker world to Canada as well. "All of us at the Fallsview Casino are very excited to be working with the WPT to bring a premiere International Poker event like this to Canada," said Fallsview General Manager Steve Wolstenholme. "Our casino is ready to lay out the red carpet for the WPT, the players and the fans as they join us here in Niagara Falls. We plan to make the Fallsview Casino Resort the home of the premiere poker events in Canada and will have some other exciting announcements to make in the coming weeks about our plans with the WPT moving forward."
The third annual North American Poker Championships will take place from October 25th to the 29th and should bring a tremendous reaction from not only the players but from fans as well. By stepping away from the United States, the WPT is continuing to show they are at the forefront of the international growth of the game and its ongoing success as well. For a look at the full schedule for Season Five of the World Poker Tour, be sure to visit worldpokertour.com.
Ed Note: Poker Stars have our highest rated tournaments, find out why