Twenty years up to now, television producer Steve Lipscomb introduced to the American viewers a poker tournament show conceal called the World Poker Tour (WPT). Two a protracted time later and the WPT is quiet thriving and stays a fixture in the poker neighborhood.
In 2002, Lipscomb employed poker professionals Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, a tennis star and the son of actor Dick Van Patten, who hosted the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on ESPN from 1993-1995, to present commentary. Together the dynamic duo helped put poker on the plot as a minimal a TV audiences were racy.
Sexton, who in 2017 left the WPT broadcast gross sales role after 15 seasons to return to his roots at partypoker, handed away in 2020., but Van Patten is quiet commentating on WPT events, and he has no plans to retire any time rapidly.
“I will always admire poker,” Van Patten, 64, suggested PokerNews throughout a Steve Aoki home sport occasion remaining week. “I develop not know precisely the keep I would possibly proceed with the commentating and hosting down the boulevard and all that, but I dazzling admire the sport and the World Poker Tour, and am angry that it grew admire this.”
When Van Patten and Sexton were employed because the faces of the WPT, the sport of poker quiet hadn’t long previous mainstream. The neighborhood used to be noteworthy smaller on the time than it’s a ways on the original time and the tour’s first episode aired a year before Chris Moneymaker gained the WSOP Main Tournament.
“That would possibly per chance per chance be a one out of 52 out of the deck long-shot,” Van Patten mentioned when asked if he belief in 2002 the WPT would quiet be round 20 years later. “Neither one of us belief it would possibly per chance per chance per chance per chance well remaining. Mike always believed in the sport and belief it used to be going to be huge. I loved the sport, but we had no thoughts that we’d not be doing three reveals and that will per chance be it.”
Van Patten praised his fashioned boss, Lipscomb, for introducing gap playing cards (not “succor playing cards,” Joe Stapleton) to the U.S. poker market. Many credit ranking the WPT founder’s revolutionary mindset for the early 2000s poker boost as noteworthy or more so than Moneymaker.
“The genius of Steve’s conception to show conceal the playing cards used to be dazzling. He made a sport out of it.”
Van Patten has been partnered with poker pro Tony Dunst in the broadcast gross sales role for WPT events on Fox Sports and now Bally Sports since 2017. Dunst, who began working for the WPT in 2009 because the host of the “Raw Deal” segment, understands he is had some huge sneakers to absorb changing a fable admire Sexton, a Poker Hall of Famer and one of many sport’s most attention-grabbing ambassadors of all-time.
But he is handled that role marvelously, and the viewers appear to expertise his commentary and chemistry with Van Patten. He promotes the WPT in the an analogous manner all over which Sexton did for thus a few years.
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Creating Poker Expansive Stars
Unprecedented admire the WSOP, successful a WPT title is one of basically the most prestigious honors in poker. The top events over the years own been televised and quite lots of of the tour’s champions own change into poker legends.
The most critical-ever WPT occasion, the May per chance perhaps well moreover 2002 Five Diamond World Poker Classic, used to be gained by none assorted than Gus Hansen, who like a flash grew to change into one of basically the most in style avid gamers throughout that generation. The “Tremendous Dane” beat out a area of 146 avid gamers in the $10,000 capture-in tournament, the greatest area of any tournament at that mark level ever on the time, exterior of the WSOP Main Tournament.
A success a World Poker Tour title has on no memoir been easy, and most attention-grabbing 40 avid gamers own gained more than one events. Hansen is one of three folks to grab three WPT tournaments. Darren Elias, who has gained notoriety on account of the WPT, is basically the most attention-grabbing four-time champion. He also holds the file for most closing table appearances (12).
The WPT has developed over the years, however the an analogous in style conception quiet applies — appease the informal viewers and entice a combination of gracious professionals and leisure avid gamers. Quiz to compete in the WPT’s Main Tour events (and likewise the WPTDeepStacks tour) has gotten so excessive that nearly about 2,000 avid gamers are signing up for these form of events.
In January on the $3,500 capture-in WPT Fortunate Hearts Poker Originate in Florida, Alexander Yen beat out a area of 1,982 avid gamers to grab $975,240.
Up next for the tour is the $3,500 capture-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April on the an analogous venue — Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. There would possibly per chance be a excessive chance that this occasion will own a an analogous sized area because the Fortunate Hearts.
Device forward for the World Poker Tour
World Poker Tour Season XX most attention-grabbing has three events on the US schedule, to this point, but WPT CEO Adam Pliska suggested PokerNews that extra events are on the horizon. Or not it’s all about locking up some dates and cases with associate venues.
The WPT made a splash among the home music crowd remaining month after they signed megastar DJ Steve Aoki as a stamp ambassador. Aoki, as Pliska defined, helps the WPT reach out previous the poker neighborhood to plot recent followers and viewers.
We caught up with Aoki throughout his WPT home sport at his Las Vegas “playhouse.” He made it clear he isn’t dazzling collecting a check and is hooked in to promoting the World Poker Tour.
Or not it’s that put of passion that is kept the WPT going sturdy for 20 years!
*Pictures courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron.