Online Poker News » March 2005 » March 31, 2005.

World Poker Tour Championship Caps Record $70 Million Season.

wpt West Hollywood - Poker's Aces Converge At Bellagio April 18 - 24 For A Shot At The WPT's Biggest Payday. The Championship Winner Expected To Pocket At Least $3.5 Million.

Crowning a sixteen-tournament Third Season that awarded $70 plus million in prize money and averaged "a millionaire a week," the WORLD POKER TOUR™ (WPT) will attract the sport's premiere players to Bellagio in Las Vegas for its sensational season finale WPT World Championship, April 18 - 24. The culmination of a record Third Season for the hit series on the Travel Channel, the tournament will boast a prize pool of at least $10 million, a potential five-fold increase over WPT's Season One championship prize pool.

WPT Championship 2004 awarded its winner, Martin De Knijff of Stockholm, Sweden, a staggering $2,728,356. At the time, this was the largest prize ever paid to a single-placed finisher in a televised poker tournament. This year's WPT World Championship will boast an even larger payday for the winner, estimated at $3.5 million. Hundreds are expected to ante-up the buy-in of $25,000, which is known as one of the priciest tickets in televised poker.

At Bellagio, all eyes will be on the best poker and the best poker players in the world. De Knijff will return to defend his title against a galaxy of established and emerging poker stars including some winners from the WPT's riveting three years of televised tournaments.

"You couldn't script a more gripping drama than the one that will be played out at the WPT World Championship this year," says Steve Lipscomb, President and founder of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE.) "The field of players has never been better, the stakes have never been higher, and the millions of fans who now follow the WPT on television every Wednesday night can't wait to see if one of their favorites or an unknown talent will capture the crown. The results are totally unpredictable, and it will be a great ride all the way to the end."

Battling De Knijff will be poker legends Doyle Brunson, T.J. Cloutier, Daniel Negreanu (the tour's leading money winner thus far in Season Three), Gus Hansen, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Scotty Nguyen, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Kathy Liebert, Humberto Brenes, John Juanda (one of the season's most visible players) and many others. The field also includes rising stars who have made their mark during the WORLD POKER TOUR's first two seasons, including Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Paul Phillips, Clonie Gowen, Isabelle Mercier, and WPT's 2004 "Player of the Year" Erick Lindgren. The still-in-progress Third Season has also produced a new crop of Final Table regulars and poker faces to watch, among them are:
  • Alex and Erek Brenes of Costa Rica, brothers of fellow poker star Humberto who has had his own star turns on the WPT in the last two seasons.
  • Surinder Sunar, a karate black belt who kicked the competition at a WPT Final Table this season.
  • David Williams, who won his entry to last year's World Series by playing online, and finished second to Greg "Fossilman" Raymer. A student at Southern Methodist University who was also accepted to Harvard and Princeton, Williams will be seen finishing in the money in at least one WPT Season Three tournament.
  • Josh Arieh, who finished third after Williams in the 2004 World Series and placed high at one WPT Season Three Final Table.
  • Proving that you can go to school on the pros: 23-year-old John Stoltzman, a University of Wisconsin senior who made a stunning showing at one Final Table. Last year Matt Matros, a Sarah Lawrence grad student, walked away with a cool $706,903 at the Championship.
  • Mike "The Mouth" Matusow who followed up a Final Table showing in Season Two with another in Season Three.
  • Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi and Canadian pro Haralobos Voulgaris whose two-hour battle at the L.A. Poker Classic will make for classic poker television this season.

Celebrities including Mena Suvari, David Sutcliffe, and Carlos Bernard who all won their spots with victories in this year's WORLD POKER TOUR Hollywood Home Games, and Ben Affleck, who earned his spot by winning Commerce Casino's California State Poker Championship No Limit Hold‘em event, is expected to amp up the glamour quotient.

Anyone can enter the tournament by anteing up the $25,000 buy-in fee. Another option to nab a coveted spot at the table is by winning a satellite tournament run by Bellagio or at a WORLD POKER TOUR satellite tournament affiliate casino across the country. Check out the following recommended online poker rooms to take part in multiple WPT Satellite tournaments: all Prima Poker rooms or Absolute Poker.

Fans may view the Final Table at Bellagio on April 24, with seating available on a firstcome, first-serve basis. The tournament will begin at 4:00pm but it is suggested that fans arrive by 2:00pm to ensure a spot.

The WORLD POKER TOUR airs every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The Travel Channel. The series, which launched its Third Season on March 2nd, is the most popular in Travel Channel history. Through expert analysis, multiple camera angles, explanatory on-screen graphics and the "WPT Cam," which shows close-ups of the players' hole cards, the WORLD POKER TOUR has transformed poker into a televised sports sensation and inspired the world's passion for the game. More than just a television show today, the WPT aims to educate poker enthusiasts through its new line of books (WPT: Shuffle Up and Deal from HarperCollins), a 60-second radio and audio internet feature (WPT Poker Corner), a series of weekend instructional clinics around the country (WPT Boot Camp) and the DVD collections of each season's WPT shows that can be viewed for tips and strategy. For more information on the WPT and WPT poker learning tools, please visit:

About WPTE
WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE) is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes. WPTE is the creator of the WORLD POKER TOUR(R), a television show based on a series of high-stakes poker tournaments that airs on the Travel Channel in the United States and more than 60 markets globally. WPT Enterprises currently licenses its brand to companies in the business of poker equipment and instruction, apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games, and giftware.

Source: WPTE

Tags: World Poker Tour, World Championship, WPT.

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