The WPT is best known for its Main Tour but also operates several other live poker festivals including the WPTDeepStacks, WPT500, WPT Prime, WPT Heads-Up Championship Alpha8, WPT National, WPT Regional, and special events. World Poker Tour players can also join in the action online via ClubWPT, PlayWPT, and a soon-to-be-launched WPT Global.WPT also aims to empower its players by teaching poker skills to aspiring WPT champions via its LearnWPT training site.
The WPT Main Tour, founded by attorney and television producer Steve Lipscomb and currently owned by Element Partners, is the crown jewel of the WPT’s offerings with many big buy-in events planned around the world with the majority taking place in the United States where the World Poker Tour began.
The tour began in May 2002 with the $10,000 buy-in Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio Resort & Casino where two legends faced off heads-up for the title. Gus Hanson made history as the first WPT champion after he defeated 146 entries including the formidable John Juanda heads-up to win the inaugural title along with a huge $556,460 top prize.
The WPT Main Tour operates mostly in the United States at prestigious venues including the previously mentioned Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the
The tour has crowned hundreds of winners over the past two decades with each winner not only rewarded with a huge top prize but also earning the right to have their name engraved in
the Champions Cup. The cup was renamed the Mike Sexton’s Champions Cup in May 2020 after Champions Club member and long-time WPT commentator Mike Sexton retired. The poker world would mourn several months later with the popular Sexton passing away from prostate cancer in September 2020. Main Tour champions also earn Player of the Year points and are invited to compete
Most of the tour takes place within the United States including at the aforementioned Bellagio in Las Vegas, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California. During the COVID pandemic, WPT also held online events at partypoker.
WPT Prime is new live tournament format with tournaments alongside the WPT Main Tour stops with affordable buy-ins. These are designed to be accessible to more players around the world and establish the WPT in more markets.
As with the Main Tour tournaments, WPT Prime will feature shot clock play, WPT titles to be won and tournament coverage from the WPT Digital Content Team. The WPT Prime Main Events will also count towards the WPT Player of the Year leader board, which awards $30,000 worth of prizes at the end of each year.
While the WPT attracts professional and recreational poker players alike, the WPT500 provides a more reasonable entry point for many amateur players with a buy-in of around $500.
The WPT500 was hosted solely at partypoker during the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID pandemic and has not hosted an event since August 2021.
WPT Global is a newly launched poker room that operates in over 100 countries. The poker site went live in April 2022 and is available in most European countries, the Americas (except the US) and Asia.
WPT Global is a licensed partner of the World Poker Tour which has been around for nearly 20 years and it is one of the biggest and most valuable poker brands. The new online poker site offers cash games, tournaments and various different game formats such as No Limit Hold'em, Short Deck and Pot Limit Omaha.
In addition to the WPT occasionally hosting its branded events online at places like partypoker and 888poker, it also hosts a catalogue of its own online offerings.
Players typically have a choice in how they wish to qualify for the WPT. Players can choose to directly buy-in at the venue or play a live satellite to qualify in for a fraction of the cost.
Historically, many satellites have also taken place at the best poker sites online and this will continue to be the case via WPT Global upon its launch. In addition, players can win a free seat for an upcoming WPT event at ClubWPT.
The World Poker Tour kicked off in style with Gus Hanson winning the inaugural event. Hanson went on to win two more WPTs and joins five others in Brian Altman, Eric Afriat, Chino Rheem, Anthony Zinno, and Carlos Mortensen. Meanwhile, Darren Elias is the only player to win four separate WPT Main Tour events.
All Pictures via WorldPokerTour.com
In February 2004, WPT introduced its first members to the World Poker Tour Walk of Fame, which is for poker players who have played poker at the highest level. The original candidates for the WPT Walk of Fame were Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen and James Garn and no new players have been added since 2004.
The WPT broadcasts many of its events on the regional network Bally Sports as well elsewhere at places like BT Sport in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Additional premier broadcasts also include NBC Sports, AT&T Sports Net, and MSG. Reputable commentators Vince Van Patten and Tony Durst are the main commentators with Lynn Gilmartin hosting the event as the anchor.
WPT also highlights many of the interesting hands at its World Poker Tour YouTube channel.