World Poker Tour
|Current season or competition:
World Poker Tour season 11 results
|Sport||Texas hold 'em|
|Founded||May 27, 2002|
|Country(ies)||United States (Founded)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Marvin Rettenmaier (2012 WPT Championship)|
|Most titles||Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen (3)|
|TV partner(s)||Travel Channel, NBC, GSN, Fox Sports Net|
The World Poker Tour (WPT) is a series of international poker tournaments and associated television series broadcasting the final table of each tournament. It was started in the United States by attorney/television producer Steven Lipscomb, who served as CEO of WPT Enterprises (WPTE), the firm that controlled the World Poker Tour up to November 2009. In 2008, the WPT started offering bracelets to its event champions. Players who won a title prior to the release of the WPT Bracelet were given one retroactively.
The year-round WPT television show, building on the annual broadcast of the World Series of Poker, has contributed to the Poker boom in American homes, in local casino poker rooms and online. The key sponsors of the WPT are casinos and online poker sites.
The WPT television show, which is syndicated internationally, features commentary and analysis by World Series of Poker bracelet winner Mike Sexton and actor Vince Van Patten. Interviews and sideline reporting are provided by a female host. 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 six. Poker player and reporter Amanda Leatherman was the host for season seven. For Season 9 (2010/11), Kimberly Lansing has returned to the hosting role.
Following the November 2009 acquisition of the World Poker Tour by PartyGaming plc, the new owners have added a second series of televised WPT events under their Party Poker (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 Party Poker branded telecasts of these European WPT events.
The tour had its debut season in the latter part of 2002 and early part of 2003, climaxing with the WPT Championship in April 2003 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Net for its seventh season.
The drawing power of the WPT, and most other poker tournaments, is that anyone who can pay the "buy-in" (an amount ranging from $2,500 to $25,000) or win a "satellite" tournament is able to compete against the top professional players.
A series of spin-off tournaments, titled the Professional Poker Tour, began filming in 2004. Broadcast of the series was delayed, which was partly due to a dispute with the Travel Channel over rights. In the fall of 2005, WPTE announced that "a cable channel" (believed to be ESPN) had withdrawn from bidding for the PPT series, and that WPTE was negotiating with the Travel Channel to air the series. On January 30, 2006, WPTE and the Travel Channel announced that they had dismissed all open lawsuits. The series began regular broadcast July 5, 2006, but was suspended after one season as WPTE couldn't find a television home for a second season.
An interesting side note is that only 4 players have finished in the money at least once in all 8 seasons of the World Poker Tour. These players are Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Mark Seif, and Surinder Sunar.
In 2008, the WPT launched a new product called ClubWPT. It is a subscription-based club where members can pay a monthly fee to play in tournaments that award over $100,000 in cash and prizes each month.
The show's hosts, Mike Sexton 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.
Sherman Act lawsuit 
In July 2006, seven poker professionals sued WPTE, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the California Cartwright Act, and intentional interference with contract. The professionals (Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Joe Hachem, Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer) allege that WPTE's standard release forms, required for participation in WPTE events, are anti-competitive and designed to interfere with their contractual obligations to other companies. The anti-competition claim is based on the fact that WPTE's contracts with the casinos that host its tournaments bar those casinos (and other casinos owned by the same parent companies) from hosting non-WPTE poker events. The claim of interference with contract is based on the releases' claim to perpetual rights to the players' likenesses for any use WPTE wishes. The players claim that this would put them in violation of other contracts (such as Ferguson's Activision Games contract or several players' contracts with online poker sites). Hachem and Raymer dropped out of the lawsuit before its eventual settlement.
In April 2008, WPT Enterprises, Inc. settled with the five remaining players of the lawsuit that was brought against them, Chris Ferguson, said about the settlement, "We are happy to have come to an agreement that is fair to all players, and to have put in place a new release that clears up ambiguities in how players' images may be used. We are especially happy that this new release will apply to all poker players who wish to participate in WPT tournaments and events."
WPT Ladies 
In January 2008, the WPT announced a set of tournaments for women, known as WPT Ladies. The first season had five events, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,500. Nancy Todd finished first in the Ladies Championship with Vanessa Selbst finishing second. There are currently no WPT Ladies events scheduled.
WPT Walk of Fame 
The World Poker Tour Walk of Fame is designed to honor those poker players who have played the game well at the highest levels as well as those who have promoted the spread of it through film, television, and literature.
In February 2004, the World Poker Tour Walk of Fame inducted its second members at the Commerce Casino in a ceremony before top pros and celebrities in town for the World Poker Tour Invitational Poker Tournament. The induction ceremony was staged on the doorstep of Commerce Casino.
Player of the Year 
While the winner of the season-ending WPT World Championship (simply the WPT Championship before season 9) is deemed that season's WPT Champion, the WPT also determines a Player of the Year to recognize the player who achieves consistent high finishes in WPT events throughout the entire season.
The Player of the Year is determined by a points system, with the player who earns the most points each season being named the WPT Player of the Year. The season-ending WPT World Championship is a points-earning event for the Player of the Year calculation.
Through the end of Season 9, no player has been named WPT Player of the Year and also captured the WPT Championship. The closest to date is Season 7 WPT Player of the Year Bertrand Grospellier, who finished 3rd in that season's WPT Championship.
Points system 
During the first 8 seasons, only the 6 players at the final table in each Open event, plus the last (7th) player eliminated before the final table, earned points as follows:
- Winner: 1000 points
- Runner-up: 700 points
- 3rd place: 600 points
- 4th place: 500 points
- 5th place: 400 points
- 6th place: 300 points
- 7th place (TV bubble): 200 points
Starting with season 9, the points system was adjusted to recognize the number of entries and the size of the prizepool for each event:
- Generally, 10% of the participants in each event will finish in the money (ITM), so the system now gives Player of the Year points to all ITM players.
- The maximum number of points awarded to the event winner are now scaled to the size of the prizepool, with 600 points to the winner of an event with a prizepool smaller than $500,000 and 1400 points to the winner of an event with a prize pool larger than $4,000,000. The season-ending WPT World Championship, no matter the prizepool, also starts at 1400 points to the winner.
- The system still operates on a descending scale, though the scale provides a minimum of 50 points to all the 'bottom' ITM players in any event.
WPT Player of the Year, by Season 
The players earning WPT Player of the Year honors have been:
- Season 1: Howard Lederer
- Season 2: Erick Lindgren
- Season 3: Daniel Negreanu
- Season 4: Gavin Smith
- Season 5: J. C. Tran
- Season 6: Jonathan Little
- Season 7: Bertrand Grospellier
- Season 8: Faraz Jaka
- Season 9: Andy Frankenberger
- Season 10: Joe Serock
Tournament results 
- World Poker Tour season 1 results (2002–2003)
- World Poker Tour season 2 results (2003–2004)
- World Poker Tour season 3 results (2004–2005)
- World Poker Tour season 4 results (2005–2006)
- World Poker Tour season 5 results (2006–2007)
- World Poker Tour season 6 results (2007–2008)
- World Poker Tour season 7 results (2008–2009)
- World Poker Tour season 8 results (2009–2010)
- World Poker Tour season 9 results (2010–2011)
- World Poker Tour season 10 results (2011-2012)
- World Poker Tour season 11 results (2012-2013)
Record winnings 
Regular Events 
Progression of the "highest payout" through the history of the WPT, starting with the win by Gus Hansen in Event 1 of WPT Season 1. Entries have declined somewhat post the poker boom, with no increase in "highest payout" since 2007 - though there continues to be some million dollar first prizes each year.
|1||#1 - Five Diamond World Poker Classic 2002||Gus Hansen||$556,480|
|1||#6 - World Poker Open 2003||Dave Ulliott||$589,175|
|2||#5 - World Poker Finals 2003||Hoyt Corkins||$1,089,200|
|2||#6 - Five Diamond World Poker Classic 2003||Paul Phillips||$1,101,980|
|2||#8 - World Poker Open 2004||Barry Greenstein||$1,278,370|
|2||#9 - LA Poker Classic 2004||Antonio Esfandiari||$1,399,135|
|3||#7 - World Poker Finals 2004||Tuan Le||$1,549,588|
|3||#8 - Five Diamond World Poker Classic 2004||Daniel Negreanu||$1,759,218|
|3||#11 - LA Poker Classic 2005||Michael Mizrachi||$1,859,909|
|4||#7 - World Poker Finals 2005||Nick Schulman||$2,142,000|
|4||#12 - LA Poker Classic 2006||Alan Goehring||$2,391,550|
|5||#14 - LA Poker Classic 2007||Eric Hershler||$2,429,970|
|6||#11 - Doyle Brunson Classic 2007||Eugene Katchalov||$2,482,605|
WPT Championships 
Each WPT season culminates with the $25,000 buy-in WPT World Championship (simply the WPT Championship before season 9).
|1||WPT Championship - Season I||Alan Goehring||$1,011,866|
|2||WPT Championship - Season II||Martin De Knijff||$2,728,356|
|3||WPT Championship - Season III||Tuan Le||$2,856,150|
|4||WPT Championship - Season IV||Joe Bartholdi Jr||$3,760,165|
|5||WPT Championship - Season V||Carlos Mortensen||$3,970,415|
|6||WPT Championship - Season VI||David Chiu||$3,389,140|
|7||WPT Championship - Season VII||Yevgeniy Timoshenko||$2,149,960|
|8||WPT Championship - Season VIII||David Williams||$1,530,537|
|9||WPT World Championship - Season IX||Scott Seiver||$1,618,344|
|10||WPT World Championship - Season X||Marvin Rettenmaier||$1,196,858|
A fictional WPT championship match is the setting for the 2007 feature film Deal. Sexton, Van Patten, and Friel play themselves and a number of other poker professionals and poker-playing celebrities are reportedly in the cast. The WPT set was shipped to New Orleans for filming following the season 4 championship.
- Osborne, Alistair (2009-11-09). "PartyGaming buys World Poker Tour". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- World Poker Tour Signs New Broadcast Rights Agreement for Season VI With GSN
- "About ClubWPT". ClubWPT. World Poker Tour. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Associated Press: Seven poker players sue WPT over use of likeness, name
- Hintze, Haley (2008-04-19). "World Poker Tour Settles Player Release Lawsuit". PokerNews.com. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- Women's Poker Spotlight:WPT Ladies League, Tour Announced
- World Poker Tour (17 March 2004). "World Poker Tour Unveils WPT Poker Walk of Fame at Commerce Casino". Cardplayer (Cardplayer Magazine). Retrieved 7 November 2011.