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World Poker Tour quick facts

By Gary Steele

Taking a quick look through the World Poker Tour web site (http://www.worldpokertour.com) reveals some very interesting information. I visit it every once in a while and they are constantly updating with new player profiles and up to date information. I went back recently and here are some of the things I discovered which grabbed my attention.

The most interesting detail I discovered was that each player making the final table on the World Poker Tour receives a special card marker to commemorate their achievement. The markers are solid silver and show the WPT logo. The site claims there is only one way to receive one of these ingots and that is to win your spot on a WPT final table.

If you are interested in going to see a World Poker Tour event you may have some trouble getting in the door. The events are usually free to watch, but seating is limited and is typically first-come, first-served. When you get to the event you will be given a numbered ticket. When your ticket number is called a seat is open for you. Once you get up for any reason though, your seat may be given to another member of the audience waiting to sit down. The WPT site does not have information on where and when the tickets will be available. For that information you need to contact the host casino.

The buy-in for the WPT tournaments is between $5000 and $10,000. Many players also win satellite entries from web sites or local tournaments. Somewhere between 35% and 40% of the entry fees go to the winner of the event with the rest of the money being distributed amongst the other players “in the money.” Rounds are timed with the blinds being increased at the end of each round. The tournament is not as glamorous as you see on the discover channel. Until the last six players are left, the games are played in your average drab, smoky poker room. Only when the final six are left do players move to the sensational stage you see on television.

Over thirty of the players in the Season Two WPT Championship in Las Vegas won their entry via a satellite tournament. This event is special only because it costs $25,000 to buy-in. The top prize at this tournament was $2.7 million of the $8 million dollar prize pool.

You can now own part of the World Poker Tour. In August of 2004 WPT Enterprises, Incorporated went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange with symbol WPTE. The stock currently is at $9.32 per share. I see only expansion for poker in the future and these guys have a lock on all but one of the premier tournaments in the world (they do not have the World Series of Poker). This may be a solid investment for the future.

The World Poker Tour events have really skyrocketed over the last year. A good example is this years Party Poker Million held in March. Just one year ago (2003) the tournament only had 177 players. This year 546 players signed up to make a prize pool worth almost 4 Million dollars.

There seems to be no end to the popularity of the World Poker Tour. The Television show is extremely popular and has catapulted the game to new heights. This year I even heard talk of Poker becoming an Olympic sport some day in the future. Maybe I can win a Gold Medal. I hope to see you there.

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