The poker boom began eight years ago with every cardsharp and hack across the country dreaming of hitting it big. The World Poker Tour was the first American poker show to introduce “hole card Cams” and the game’s popularity skyrocketed.
With the WPT descending on Florida this month, Sun-Sentinel.com recaps the history of the tour with a great read:
The WPT made poker much more popular, beginning in 2003 when it began employing new technology that let viewers see the players’ hole cards – so everyone could play along.
That’s how everyone does it now, but the telecasts were ground-breaking back then. The WPT would edit days of poker footage down to a two-hour show and roll in storylines, player interviews and commentary from poker legend Mike Sexton and actor Vince Van Patten – complete with all kinds of poker lingo.
The tour consists of stops at about a dozen casinos around the world. It didn’t exist until the WPT created it by stringing existing tournaments together. Casinos such as the Hard Rock pay the WPT to bring its cameras to their tournaments, betting that the WPT name will bring them more business.
“The World Poker Tour will bring a new level of sophistication and excitement to poker rooms at Seminole Casinos,” says Jeffrey Hook, senior vice president of marketing for Seminole Gaming.
The World Poker Tour was the first to make poker a show. The 2003 telecasts drew about 4 million viewers for each original episode, the largest ratings in Travel Channel history.
The WPT can still one of the biggest names in poker and can now be seen on Fox Sports Net each week. What are your thoughts on the WPT?