The sixth season on the WPT sees the venerable tournament series move from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network. As reportedby PokerListings.com earlier this year, the move came into being when Travel Channel passed on renewing the series for a sixth year after broadcasting the original five. The Game Show Network, arguably a better fit for a program about poker, stepped in and the brainchild of Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman will miss nary a beat as it moves forward from its recently-filmed 100th episode.
The other major change that viewers will notice (provided they can find the GSN on their TV dials) is the absence of Season 5 hostess Sabina Gadecki and the presence of a new, as-yet-unannounced young blonde woman in her stead. Sabina's departure is a bit of a mystery, with the official word being that the WPT will feature a new spokesmodel every year, and the unofficial word being that Sabina was canned because she wasn't up to the rigors of the gig.
The fact that a replacement for the former Miss Polonia, herself a replacement for Courtney Friel, who was herself a replacement for Shana Hiatt (we miss you, Shana!), has yet to be announced with Season 6 kicking off in two days would seem to speak to Sabina's being fired, rather than Lipscomb & Co. planning her departure well in advance.
Moving on to matters feltside, the sixth iteration of the WPT features a number of new events and bids goodbye to a few others. Gone are the Grand Prix de Paris, the Canadian Open, and the PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventure, while in their stead the WPT roadies will be faithfully carting that soundstage (and Vince) to Barcelona, Biloxi, and the Turks and Caicos.
In addition, the WPT has added the Bellagio Cup to its schedule. The event was run in-house for two years with no tie-in to the Tour, but for its third iteration will come replete with Linda Johnson for increased doses of poker insanity.
With the Bellagio Cup III, WPT has decided to make life difficult for the roving reporters who follow its every move, moving the event from late- to early July to coincide with the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, which will be taking place from July 6 to 17. The Bellagio Cup will begin on July 10, which is Day 2 of the Main Event, with WPT organizers clearly aiming at scooping anyone who was eliminated on the various Day 1s and who might still be thirsting for more poker (or more Linda Johnson).
It's a bit of a shot across the bow of the WSOP on the part of Steve Lipscomb, but all in all a pretty convenient set-up for anyone who likes high-stakes tournament poker. PokerListings.com will be in the middle of destroying our competition at the WSOP, but we'll still take time out from our busy schedules to bring you our trademark comprehensive coverage of the WPT event as well.
In fact, you'll be able to enjoy that comprehensive coverage from every casino at which the World Poker Tour calls during Season 6. We're kicking off coverage this weekend from Las Vegas with the Mirage Poker Showdown, and afterwards you'll find us at Mandalay Bay, Bellagio (times three!), The Bike, Beau Rivage, Borgata (times two), the Caribbean, Spain, Canada, Foxwoods (also times two), Tunica, the Commerce, Bay 101 and Reno.
Check our schedule section for full details, and we hope you'll join us for another season of the livest of updates, the most scintillating of photography, and the most atrocious of puns. Maybe we'll even see you at the tables (except you, Mortensen - you stay away from our tables).