The World Poker Tour was founded in 2002 and is a series of international poker tournaments. Every year the World Poker Tour gathers famous poker players and amateurs alike for the chance to win huge cash prizes. Each WPT final table is filmed and livestreamed or broadcast for television on Bally Sports. Tony Dunst and Vince Van Patten host the show along with anchor Lynn Gilmartin.
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The World Poker Tour is one of the most prestigious poker tours in the world, as the name states. Throughout the year, the WPT hosts events around the world, mostly in the United States, and players compete for massive prize pools. In some cases, the winner takes home over $1 million, especially in the $10,000 buy-in events such as the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Players compete for more than just big cashes in WPT events. Each tour stop awards points toward the Player of the Year race, which is awarded to one skillful winner at the end of each season. Winning WPT Player of the Year is a prestigious honor that many tournament grinders strive to achieve, much like the World Series of Poker Player of the Year.
When is the World Poker Tour?
World Poker Tour events take place once or twice per month, in most cases, throughout the year. Each event typically lasts four or five days, and sometimes three.
Where is the World Poker Tour hosted?
World Poker Tour tournaments are hosted in numerous casinos around the world. Although most events take place in the United States, there are some exceptions, including the popular Playground Casino in Montreal, Canada. Other common stops include the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California.
History of the World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour has an extensive history within the poker community, and the tour's inception was an important part of poker history. Attorney and TV producer Steve Lipscomb founded the WPT in 2002. He brought an innovative idea to televised poker before the poker boom era, and his creation helped grow the game.
The WPT is credited as being the first to show hole cards to TV viewers, perhaps the greatest invention in poker history. Many WPT events are edited and then televised on Bally Sports, previously Fox Sports. Originally, the tour events aired on the Travel Channel, a cable network in the U.S.
On May 27, 2002, the first ever World Poker Tour event took place at the Bellagio. Gus Hansen won the inaugural Five Diamond World Poker Classic, which cost $10,200 to enter, beating out 146 players to win $581,480. Season I, which ran from mid 2002 until mid 2003, featured 13 tournaments with some legendary pros taking down titles including Hansen, Juha Helppi, Howard Lederer, and David "Devilfish" Ulliott.
Shortly after the first season concluded, ESPN televised the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, won by amateur Chris Moneymaker for $2.5 million. Many credit Moneymaker for sparking the greatest popularity spike in poker history, but it was the combination of his win and the innovative World Poker Tour that led to the poker boom era.
Millions of new players all around the world wanted to become the next Moneymaker or the next WPT champion. It was the perfect storm to grow the game, and the WPT played a significant role in poker's popularity back then and still to this day.
As the tour continued to grow in popularity, the prize pools became so large that winners were earning life-changing money and even the others at the final table were making a killing.
The World Poker Tour is about more than just the players. From 2002-2017 Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten co-hosted the WPT on Fox Sports, and they became one of the most beloved duos in poker media. Sexton, who passed away in 2020, returned to his Partypoker roots and resigned as co-host. Tony Dunst, the host of the WPT's "Raw Deal" segment, replaced the Poker Hall of Famer in the booth, and continues to team up with Van Patten.
The WPT is prestigious and features some difficult events. Some of the best tournament grinders in the world come out to play. Only one player in history has more than three career WPT titles. That individual is Darren Elias, who has four victories entering the 2021-2022 season. Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem, Eric Afriat, Anthony Zinno, and Brian Altman are all tied for second place with three.
During the 2019-2020 season, play was halted due to the pandemic. The 2019-2020 became the 2020-2021 season (Season XVIII) as the World Poker Tour had to make some adjustments to its schedule after being forced to cancel so many events. Brian Altman won Player of the Year during Season XVIII after winning the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open and finishing third in two other events. He would pick up right where he left off at the start of the 2021-2022 season by shipping the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa event, a $3,500 buy-in tournament, for $613,225.
Where does the World Poker Tour take place?
WPT events are hosted in spots all around the world, from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and all the way across the world in Russia and England.
How can you watch the World Poker Tour?
Many WPT events are filmed, edited and then rebroadcast on Bally Sports (previously Fox Sports), a regional sports cable network. Check your local cable listings for dates and times.
Who hosts the World Poker Tour?
Tony Dunst, an online poker pro, and Vince Van Patten, the son of former ESPN WSOP commentator Dick Van Patten, co-host the televised World Poker Tour episodes, with Lynn Gilmartin handling the sideline reporter duties. Mike Sexton co-hosted the tournaments with Van Patten for the first 15 seasons.
Who is the greatest player in WPT history?
Darren Elias. Why? Because he holds the record for most titles (4), cashes (43), and final table appearances (12). It's tough to go against the player who holds so many key records.
What is the buy-in for a WPT tournament?
The buy-in for most WPT events range from $3,500 to $10,000. The most prestigious tournaments such as the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas are on the more expensive end.