Spanish stop returns on WPT

The Keep

Casino Barcelona will host its second World Poker Tour event May 21-27, bringing the tour back to Spain for another season.

The announcement was made today by WPT Enterprises and Grup Peralada, operator of casinos in Spain.

"The WPT Spanish Championship was a great success last year," said Steve Lipscomb, WPT founder, president and CEO. "We are honored to extend our partnership with Grup Peralada and return to Spain with a regional tour stop that Catalonians can call their own."

The Season 6 Spanish Championship took place in October 2007 and drew 226 entrants. Among the pros who paid the €7,500 buy-in to compete were Gus Hansen, Erik Seidel, Isabelle Mercier, Juha Helppi, Chister Johansson and others.

It was Austrian Markus Lehmann who took first place to win €537,000 at a final table that included Hansen and Steve Sung.

The Spanish Championship in May is expected to draw more than 400 players, according to the WPT, including Antonio Esfandiari, the new face of the WPT Poker Made Millionaire.

Esfandiari will also be one of the players receiving a new WPT Champions bracelet at the upcoming WPT Ceremony of Champions announced by the WPT today.

The Ceremony of Champions will take place at the Bellagio's "O" Theatre April 21 and will honor the 96 WPT Champions who have been crowned during the first six seasons of the WPT. Not only will each player's achievements be highlighted during the event; the honorees will also be given personalized titanium and diamond bracelets.

"There are so many incredible stories to celebrate from the six World Poker Tour seasons and we are thrilled to pay tribute to each of our SPT Champions," Lipscomb said. "The championship bracelet has become synonymous with poker as a symbol of achievement and respect, and we are honored to continue the tradition that Benny Binion began over 30 years ago."

Doug Dalton, Bellagio director of poker operations, noted that the Ceremony of Champions is a great way to highlight the dedication and hard work it takes to become a winner on the WPT, and the Bellagio is excited to host the event.

The Ceremony of Champions will begin at 8:30 p.m., April 21, with a private cocktail party for players and VIPS at the "O" Theatre lobby.

The ceremony will begin at 10 p.m. with Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who have been commentators for the WPT events since the first champion was crowned at the Bellagio six years ago, acting as masters of ceremony.

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