The World Poker Tour (WPT) is essentially a poker television show that is aired on the American cable channel – The Travel Channel. It is a collection of local poker tournaments taking place around the world in regular casinos, special tournament yachts and online casinos. The winners are eligible for the final table in the concluding game.
Each season is made out of 13 two-hour episodes. The show has become an immediate success, drawing more than a million and a half viewers per show. The two first shows are even available on DVD with commentaries by some of the players and you can find synopses of the WPT's seasons in online poker sites.
The Word Poker Tour is the brainchild of Steve Lipscomb, an investor and a professional poker player. Lipscomb has realized that poker has a place in the world of professional sports and television. He has set his mind on reproducing the excitement around the poker table on the television screen. The first WPT took place in 2003 and few can argue about his success.
Even though the World Poker Tour was launched in 2003 it immediately transformed the entire televised poker shows. It gave poker fans from all around the world the show they were waiting for. The WPT presented a new way that enables the viewers at home to see players' hole cards – "WPT Cam" it was called. Ever since the first show millions of poker fans find the time to watch every new contest that is being broadcasted from different location around the globe.
The small camera had boosted the drama of this televised form of poker tournaments and it became a popular show and tournament as well, only exceeded by the World Series of Poker. The new innovational options of the World Poker Tour, such as the WPT Cam, allow poker fans to get into the action of the high-stakes and bluffing along with watching the professional poker players making beginners mistakes live on TV.
The World Poker Tour show feature many advantages never seen at televised poker tournaments – there are pop-up boxes that explain the current status of the players, it give automatic pot odds and commentaries about the poker strategy that the contestants use to win. From time to time a terminology pop-up box explains what the hosts, Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, are talking about so even novice poker players can easily follow through.
Like all TV shows the World Poker Tour presents it own drama, action and heroes, like an ordinary Hollywood movie – you can’t simply watch it without getting sucked into it. For millions of poker fans the WPT is the ultimate poker tournament that gives them a chance to watch and learn from the real professional poker players.
In order to enter the WPT you must either pay the buy-in for one of the tournaments or to win a sit in one of the satellite tournaments. The buy-in is usually several thousands of dollars so many players choose to try and win the satellite tournaments which usually cost about 30-40 dollars. Many of the satellite tournaments are played in online poker rooms, where the most common online poker tournaments may earn you a seat to the WPT.
David Gendam, Editorial Staff, 19th of February, 2006.