Lyle Berman

Lyle Berman
WSOP Bracelets: 3
Total Live Earnings: $2,694,140
Nationality:
United States United States
Last seen on: 2021 World Series of Poker

Biography

Lyle Berman boasts a 30 plus year poker playing career with a first recorded live tournament cash in 1983 and his last coming in 2017. In that time, Berman has won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets as well as $2,694,140 in total live tournament earnings.

A member of the Poker Hall of Fame, inducted in 2002 alonside Johnny Chan, and a co-founder of the World Poker Tour (WPT), where he holds the position of chairman. Berman's influence in poker is felt on and off the poker table and holds legendary status in the spheres of the industry. During his peak on the felt people in Las Vegas thought of Berman as the best non-pro, no-limit poker player they'd ever met.

Intro

A significant player in not only the world of poker but also in the world of business is entrepreneur Lyle Berman. He has played at the highest stake cash games and helped develop the global entity that is known as the World Poker Tour.

Along the way, he also developed other businesses and became a powerhouse in the casino industry.

Background

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 6, 1941. He was just a toddler when Hubert Humphrey campaigned for Mayor of Minneapolis in the early 1940's on a campaign of "cleaning up the town." When Humphrey entered office in 1945, most of the area's "clubs" had been shut down and local mobsters headed to Las Vegas to take-over the Las Vegas Club, Golden Nugget and El Cortez casinos.

Berman grew up in an area that allowed only "charity" gaming, and while he played poker in high school and college, it was little more than a way to pass the time. Berman attended the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in business administration. His family expected him to work for the company business, Berman Buckskin, and he didn't let them down.

He got married in 1967 (but honeymooned in Las Vegas), settled down as the typical hard-working family man (he has four grown children), and eventually the two family stores that carried Indian-made leather goods grew to became a 200-store chain.

In 1979, the chain was sold to W. R. Grace, but Berman stayed on as President and CEO. The company was later sold to the Melville Corporation and renamed Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc., and Lyle again stayed on as a director. In the mean time, a new law passed in 1988 and opened the door to new possibilities for Berman when the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act went into affect.

The gaming act, which allows casino gaming on Native American reservation land, was just what Lyle needed to get into the gaming industry. Although he had been playing high-stakes poker for several years in Las Vegas and got to know a number of casino executives, he had little experience in casino operations. What he did have, however, was years of interaction with the local Indian tribes, and understood Native American culture and needs.

As a founder and Chairman of the Board of Grand Casinos, Inc. (from Oct. 1991 through Dec. 1998) Berman opened up contracts with several Indian tribes, and the Grand Casino Mille Lacs opened in April of 1991. Other casinos followed, and in 1998 Grand Casinos, Inc. had a total of eight casinos in four states when it merged with Hilton Hotels. The casino management group was spun-off to form Lakes Gaming, which became Lakes Entertainment.

World Poker Tour

2002 was a momentous year for Berman, as already mentioned, not only was he inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, it is also the year that World Poker Tour, which he helped co-found, was launched.

Originally the brain child of Steve Lipscomb, Berman helped the former take the poker industry by storm. The pair transformed how the game was broadcasted on televisions with new innovations, most notably through the introduction of hole-cams. Without being able to see a player's hole cards, poker would not have reached its highest peaks in popularity.

Berman has made one final table appearance on the WPT circuit and was honoured in 2018 with the "WPT Honors Award, representing outstanding contributions to the WPT and the greater poker community".

Lyle Berman's Top WPT Results

yeareventplaceprize
2005WPT World Poker Finals - $10,200 No-Limit Hold'em5th$345,000
2007WPT Five Star World Poker Classic - $25,500 No-Limit Hold'em Championship29th$92,820
2004WPT Championship - $ 25,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship40th$41,582

World Series of Poker

His first experience cashing at the World Series of Poker was in the $1,500 Limit Omaha event, which he won. Two weeks later in the 1989 tournament at Binion's, he took fifth place in the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship, his highest ever finish in the 'Main Event'.

In 1992, Berman won another gold bracelet, claiming the first-place prize of $192,000 in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament. Two years later he won the $5,000 buy-in No-limit Deuce to Seven tournament, and in 1997 and 2000 took second place in the same event.

He has two more runner-up finishes at the WSOP and achieved his highest ever tournament cash in 2008's $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for $444,000. Overall Berman has recorded 22 in the money finishes at the series and has $1,619,407 in WSOP earnings.

Lyle Berman's WSOP Bracelet Wins

YearEventPrize
1989Event #1 $1,500 Limit Omaha$108,600
1992Event #16: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em$192,000
1994Event #20: $5,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw$128,250

Did You Know?

PokerNews Covered Events

Event Place Prize
2017 World Series of Poker
Event #17: $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship
14th $14,783
2017 World Series of Poker
Event #7: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball
20th $4,925
2011 World Series of Poker
Event #29: $2,500 10-Game Mix / Six Handed
28th $6,726
2011 World Series of Poker
Event #17: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
49th $4,199
2010 World Series of Poker
Event #2: $50,000 Poker Player's Championship
12th $129,957
2009 World Series of Poker
Event 37 - $10,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8-or-better
12th $33,668
2008 World Series of Poker
Event 45 - $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship
5th $444,000
2008 World Series of Poker
Event 25 - $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em World Championship
5th $54,144
WPT $25,000 Championship - Bellagio
WPT Championship Main Event
29th $92,820

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