Online Poker

World Poker Tour - WPT

by Poker Team

What is The World Poker Tour or WPT?

Taking tournament poker to the masses

WPT - Poker TourThe World Poker Tour (WPT) began streaming into households with it’s premier on television in 2002. Created by Steve Lipscomb, CEO and founder of WPTE (World Poker Tour Enterprises), the show has been a huge hit among poker fans. In addition it has introduced tournament poker to millions of people that likely considered poker a back room card game played by seedy characters. The result has been record fields in both poker tournament satellites and total direct entries into the tournaments themselves.

The WPT Developed “Hole Card Cam”

What truly revolutionized the concept of televised poker was the WPT’s use of the “Hole Card Cam”. You might take that for granted now, but there never used to be a hole card camera for televised poker.

There are actually two types of these cams, the first being invented by Henry Orenstein in 2005. His invention was awarded a patent is an “under table” hole card cam that has a camera positioned underneath tinted glass, thus showing the cards as they lay down on the table. The WPT championed the use of a small pen type camera that’s mounted flush on the elevated rail of the poker table. Prior to this, viewers of televised poker games had to wait until the showdown (if there was one) to see the players hole cards. With the advent of this format, the WPT skyrocketed to worldwide popularity as this greatly enhanced the drama of big hands being played out.

WPT Partners with Big Casinos

The WPT has a network of partner casinos and hotels that host the high level buy-in events (typically 10K). These events often attract the biggest names in the poker world to play for record prize pools that almost always exceed one million dollar payouts to the winner. With the additional exposure, the big name casinos, and corporate sponsors such as Budweiser, the WPT experienced light speed growth which lead to some controversial actions.

The WPT Goes Public with a Stock Offering

Faces a lawsuit filed by big poker names

In 2004 the WPT went public with a stock offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange. This was an effort to get a cash infusion and continue to grow the brand. While the IPO was a success and raised 32 million dollars in working capital, it was followed in 2006 by a boycott and then a lawsuit by many of the games top players including Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, and Howard Lederer. The basis of the suit was that the WPT required players to sign a waiver giving up the rights to, among other things, the use of their likeness for promotional purposes and no sponsor logos on shirts or hats. This rubbed many of the players the wrong way (consider the number of big pros who have contracts with online poker sites like Full Tilt Poker) and according to most, violated state and Federal antitrust laws.

The lawsuit was just settled in 2008 with a modified version of the general release that all players must sign in order to play a WPT event. Since that took place, most of the pros listed in the original lawsuit have returned to play and even made final tables in subsequent WPT events. As typical with lawsuits that are settled out of court, the WPT admitted to no wrong doing and paid no damages to the players.

Lately, the WPT has battled financial woes (their stock is at 0.74 a share at the time of this writing) as well as battles with the SEC over alleged violations. However, they continue to build their brand and partner with new companies such as FSN. Stay tuned to for the latest in WPT developments on and away from the poker felt.

The official World Poker Tour site can be found by visiting

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