World Poker Tour Championships (WPT)

The World Poker Tour (WPT) is an internationally televised gaming and entertainment brand. The World Poker Tour was started in the year 2002 and has operated a series of international poker tournaments and associated television series broadcasting playdown and the final table of each tournament. It is hands down one of the biggest poker tournaments ever.

The WPT Main Tour focuses on the buy-in range of $3,500-$25,000, and winners of official WPT Main Tour events are awarded a membership to the WPT Champions Club. The WPT Champions Cup is the trophy awarded to all winners of WPT Main Tour events, and champions have his or her name engraved on the Cup.

The winners get whopping prize money greater than $1M. This tournament is popular all over the world and millions watch the action by sitting at home and watching on TV.

In 2008, they even started the WPT ladies where there were tournaments conducted only for women. Their buy-in is usually $300 to $1500 and the winner gets more than $500,000 as of the prize money.

Without any doubt, this is one of the biggest poker tournaments that happens once a year and attracts a lot of viewers.

WPT on TV

The year-round WPT television show has broadcast globally in more than 150 countries and territories, and is currently producing its 16th season, which airs on Fox Sports Regional Networks in the United States. In August 2016, the World Poker Tour and Fox Sports announced a five-year deal to see Fox Sports broadcast the WPT through Season 19.

The WPT television show currently features commentary and analysis by Tony Dunst and Vince Van Patten. Dunst joined the World Poker Tour as host of the WPT Raw Deal during Season 9 after winning the role through an open casting competition. Following the retirement of Mike Sexton from the WPT commentary booth after 15 years, Dunst was elevated into the role alongside Van Patten.

Joining Dunst and Van Patten for all WPT televised broadcasts is anchor Lynn Gilmartin. Gilmartin's role focuses on hosting and presenting the show, as well as offering intimate interviews and sideline reporting. Gilmartin assumed the anchor role for Season 12 and remains the current anchor.

Prior to Gilmartin, Shana Hiatt served as the show host and sideline reporter in its first three seasons. Courtney Friel took over the host role for the fourth season, and Sabina Gadecki for the fifth. Layla Kayleigh and Kimberly Lansing began serving as hostesses in Season VI. Poker player and reporter Amanda Leatherman was the host for Season VII. Kimberly Lansing returned as the anchor for Season 9 through 11.

The first season aired on the Travel Channel on American cable television in the spring of 2003. The show made its network debut on February 1, 2004, on NBC with a special "Battle of Champions" tournament, which aired against CBS coverage of the Super Bowl XXXVIII pre-game show. The Travel Channel aired the first five seasons of the Tour. In April 2007, WPTE announced that the series would move to GSN for its sixth season in the spring of 2008. 'The first WPT tournament to air on GSN, the Mirage Poker Showdown, debuted on March 24, 2008. In July 2008, WPTE announced that the series would move to Fox Sports Regional Networks for its seventh season.

Following the November 2009 acquisition of the World Poker Tour by PartyGaming plc, the new owners added a second series of televised WPT events under their PartyPoker brand name. This series has, to date, focused on televising the European stops of the WPT. Mike Sexton continues to provide commentary, though he is partnered with Denmark-based American commentator Jesse May rather than Vince Van Patten. The role of female show host and sideline reporter has been served by a number of personalities, often from the country where the event is held. One exception is Canadian born poker player Kara Scott, who has served as host for a number of the PartyPoker branded telecasts of these European WPT events.

The show's hosts, Tony Dunst and Vince Van Patten, sit at a booth near the final table, providing commentary and occasionally interacting with the players during the game. However, their specific comments about hole cards are recorded after the tournament takes place because gaming regulations prohibit them from observing a live feed of the "hole card cameras" while on the set. These cameras, built into the table, allow viewers to see the face-down hole cards dealt to each player.

In 2014, the World Poker Tour launched a high roller tournament series, WPT Alpha8, broadcasting on Fox Sports 1. The series originally featured commentary and analysis by Ali Nejad and Olivier Busquet, with Gilmartin serving as anchor. In later seasons, Vince Van Patten and Tony Dunst replaced Nejad and Busquet, while Lynn Gilmartin continued to serve as anchor.

The first three seasons of WPT are available on NTSC DVD.

In February 2019, WPT announced a deal with BT Sport to broadcast season XV of WPT. The deal expands WPT coverage to the UK and Ireland. During season XV, former WPT television commentator Mike Sexton won his first WPT event.

In March 2019, WPT announced a deal with TV Azteca to bring WPT assets to Latin America

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