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World Poker Tour (WPT)

History of the World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour (WPT) is an international poker tournament series, created in 2002 where only the final table of each event was broadcasted on TV. The WPT was created by Steven Lipscomb, the CEO of World Poker Tour Enterprise, who was an attorney and TV producer. His idea was to create high stakes tournaments and broadcast the final table with hole cards, so the viewer could see and understand everything that was going on, with professional commentary giving thoughts and explanations about what was going on at the table.

The WPT started in the end of 2002 and ran until April 2003, with the grand finale WPT Championship at the Bellagio Casino and Hotel. The first season of the WPT was aired on TV in the spring of 2003 and quickly became very popular.

The reason for the quick popularity was a mix of many different aspects such as the final table being with only six players creating a lot more action, players hole cards being showed while the hand was being played giving viewers a chance to understand what the players are going through and last but not least the popular commentary team of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Mike and Vince did an excellent job of creating excitement among viewers, explain the rules and giving the viewer an understanding of the dynamics of the table. This combo made the WPT a favorite TV program for many people all over the world and was a very helpful hand in creating the poker boom in the early 00's. 

The WPT began being broadcasted all over the world in its second season, hitting more than a 150 countries in total. The show was loved all over the world, being the first of its kind and with its professional setup. The Travel Channel was the official channel for the WPT in the US as well as being broadcasted via American Cable Television.

The transmission of the WPT resulted in more and more players playing the events in the casino, growing every year from its start until 2007. The WPT attracted all the biggest and most famous players in the world and also helped to make a lot of players more famous over the years. A player like Gus Hansen got known worldwide for being "the crazy Dane" with his aggressive playing style compared to his American colleagues shocking the poker world at the time.

In 2007 the WPT and poker in general was at its highest, creating insane prize pools in the regular events and made the biggest win in WPT history at WPT Championship, which gave Carlos Mortensen almost $4 million in first prize. The WPT was the second biggest tournament series in the world after World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the time, but the following year’s recession hit everybody including the WPT. The recession caused smaller attendances and prize pools overall, but the WPT was still a popular series.

To expand the brand from being live poker only to online, WPT opened ClubWPT in 2008. ClubWPT is a subscription based site, where players play free tournaments and can win prizes for $100,000 each month. Since players were not playing with real money, it was legal for Americans to sign up and play on the site, giving the site instant success with its famous brand. The same year WPT decided to give winners of each event a bracelet as a extra token of their winnings, giving former winners a bracelet as well.

In November 2009 WPTE sold the rights to the WPT to PartyGaming for $12,300,000, changing the WPT from being an American based tournament series to the whole world instead. A major change television wise is that Vince Van Patten is no longer a commentary, but instead Mike Sexton got partnered up with Jesse May. PartyGaming quickly expanded the WPT to the rest of the world and especially Europe, creating lots of regular WPT as well as WPT regional events. WPT regional is a concept for smaller casinos, to get the WPT feeling with a smaller buy-in to cater more to the hobby players instead of professionals.

Today WPT is running events all over the world, becoming more and more popular outside America.

WPT Events

From the beginning of the WPT and until the acquisition from PartyGaming in 2009, the WPT tournaments were primarily hosted in American casinos all over the US. The WPT made a clear decision to primarily stay within the US to optimize the tournaments and to keep the cost as low as possible. If they would have to travel to Europe on a regular basis, the cost of production would become much higher than they wanted and the events in the US were more than enough popular to cover the demand from the viewers and players. Another reason was that Europe already had its own poker tour, the European Poker Tour (EPT), which travelled across all of Europe and had a more European feel.

When PartyGaming took over, they quickly decided to expand the tournament series to the whole world, with the brand being so famous it would be easy for them to advertise the tours. To cover as many different countries as possible, PartyGaming created WPT regional events together with their regular WPT events. The WPT regional was is tournaments mainly aimed at smaller casinos with hobby players, doing small buy-ins and large fields in opposition to the regular events which are expensive, have smaller fields and consist mainly of professionals.

The latest news event wise is the WPT Alpha 8, which is an exclusive high stakes tournament series, taking place in Europe, Africa, Asia and America. The tournaments have a buy-in of minimum $100,000, which leaves it for only the best players in the world to play the events. The events are all televised and feature a eight-player final table, instead of the regular six-man final table known from the WPT.

Today the WPT visits every continent in the world, more than 20 different countries and 35 casinos. This makes the WPT the tournament with most different destinations of them all and gives players all over the world the chance to play with the pros.

WPT Player of the year

After each season of the WPT, the WPT gives away the "Player of the year" award, which is awarded to the player who has earned most points throughout the season. Players earn points by finishing in the money and the better the position, the more points are awarded. Until 2010 only the players reaching the final table would receive any points towards the player of the year award, but the rules were changed to be fairer with the big attendance of players. Below you can see the winners of the player of the year award by season and year:






Howard Lederer



Erick Lindgren



Daniel Negreanu



Gavin Smith



J. C. Tran



Jonathan Little



Bertrand Grospellier



Faraz Jaka



Andy Frankenberger



Joe Serock



Matthew Salsberg


WPT World Championship Winners

Every season of the WPT ends with the great $25,000 buy-in finale, the WPT World Championship. The WPT World Championship was simply known as the WPT Championship prior to 2010, but was changed with the acquisition of WPT from PartyGaming, who took the popular tournament series to the rest of the world. The WPT World Championship event is known to provide huge prize pools, with its high attendance. This also means that the poker elite all come to play the tournament, making the tournament one of the toughest to play of them all.

Here you can see the winners of the WPT World Championship by season:





Alan Goehring



Martin De Knijff



Tuan Le



Joe Bartholdi Jr



Carlos Mortensen



David Chiu



Yevgeniy Timoshenko



David Williams



Scott Seiver



Marvin Rettenmaier



David Rheem


Most WPT Titles, Winnings, Cashes and Final Tables

Two players share the honor of having won the WPT most times, Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen. Both players have each won the WPT three times, with Carlos using 71 attempts in total to win it and Gus only 47. Carlos also tops the list of most winnings in the WPT, with total winnings of $6,447,960 which is $736,345 more than Daniel Negreanu on the second place with $5,711,615 in total winnings.

 Lee Markholt Jr has had the most cashes of all players in the WPT, with a total of 24 cashes. The 24 cashes has brought $1,457,499 with it in winnings and one WPT title. Lee has played 105 WPT events in total, making him one of the regulars at the series.

It is very difficult to reach a final table in a tournament series like the WPT, that's why it's not a surprise that the player that have reached the most final tables in the WPT is none other than Phil Ivey. Phil has reached a total of nine final tables, winning only one event in 87 attempts. This brought him a total of $3,370,721 in earnings.