There are many companies that have launched poker tournaments over the years only to find that the global poker market is extremely competitive and finding the right formula for success is not very easy. The World Poker Tour (WPT) launched in 2002 and the company was one of the few that managed to find the right formula to establish its brand across the globe, launch a successful television program and continue to host exciting WPT events across the United States and the world.
WPT – A Television Success
The WPT first started broadcasting its poker tournaments on television via the Travel Channel in 2003. The show gained a dedicated audience which continued to grow with each season. The WPT moved to the GSN network for Season 6 and after seeing the demand for television poker made a move for Season 7 to Fox Sports where it has remained since then. WPT televised events are one of the most watched poker tournaments as they tend to feature some of the top poker players in the game.
During the last 16 seasons of the WPT, some of the WPT Main Event winners and WPT Legends of Poker include the likes of Scotty Nguyen, Gus Hansen, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Dan Harrington and Barry Greenstein. The player that stands out at the WPT is Carlos Mortensen who holds the record for winning the biggest cash prize in WPT history, when he won the WPT Season 5 Main Event and took home $3,970,415. He also holds the record for all-time winnings in the WPT having won more than $6.8 million in WPT cashes.
WPT – Over One Billion Awarded
The WPT celebrated giving out its one billionth dollar on August 29 at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino when T.J Shepherd finished in 47th place and was the recipient of the WPT’s one billionth dollar. The occasion was celebrated in style as play was stopped, music was played and card girls walked out holding signs saying ‘B-I-L-L-I-O-N’ to recognize what the WPT had done for the game of poker.
WPT CEO Adam Pliska was present to celebrate the occasion and paid tribute the WPT brand and staff who have played their role in helping establish the WPT as one of the leading poker brands in the world today. The WPT awarded T.J Shepherd free accommodation and a free entry to the 2018 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event.
Pliska stated that one of the main reasons why the WPT has turned out to be so successful over the years was because the company had built a strong team who believed that poker was more than just a game. The WPT has achieved a number of unique milestones along the way including giving away more than $1 million in prize money to over 203 WPT winners till date, recording some of the highest TV ratings for poker shows during the last 16 seasons and raising more than $7 million in charity donations over the years.
WPT – Future Plans
The WPT will not rest on its accomplishments as it realizes the global poker landscape is changing rapidly and those that fail to innovate and adapt to changing trends become irrelevant pretty quickly. The WPT want to lead from the front and one of their key goals is to focus on globalization.
In a statement, Pliska said “You’re going to see more globalization and I think more access points, because even ten years ago, you had to have a lot of money to be playing in these tournaments. So we’re going to make sure that there are places anywhere you are in your poker journey that you can step on, and to make sure you feel like you can continue, and that you will get the true global experience.”
The WPT is expected to announce some of these key initiatives in the coming months and some of those plans may not work out successfully. However Pliska believes that the WPT needs to take these calculated risks going forward and continue to create magic along the way. The WPT will look to venture into new locations in the coming years and promises players that it will still deliver the same levels of passion and energy as usual.