Posts Tagged ‘Tour’

World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

 World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

Continuing the legacy of honoring those who were instrumental in their contributions to the World Poker Tour and the poker community also, the WPT will give their WPT Honors Award to two men who will join a legendary cast in May.

On May 22, the WPT will look back into their past and honor Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman, two men whose vision created the WPT and cemented its place in poker history. “The WPT is deeply proud to present two extraordinary icons of our industry with the WPT Honors Award,” Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, said during the announcement of the awards. “These Honorees represent the pioneering ingenuity and passionate leadership that has abundantly influenced poker. Mr. Steve Lipscomb and Mr. Lyle Berman brought poker to new heights with the creation of the World Poker Tour, and their passion and dedication have allowed the WPT to become what it is today.”

It goes without saying that, without these two men, there wouldn’t be a World Poker Tour in existence today. Lipscomb was the man who came up with the concept of a tournament poker series that traveled to different casinos. He also knew how he wanted to present these tournaments. Rather than the staid productions that had come previously where the viewers weren’t shown the hole cards, Lipscomb knew that showing these cards would be critical to driving the broadcasts of the tournaments. With that in mind, he utilized the development of the “lipstick camera” as a method of providing the viewer with the excitement of the game.

From the time the WPT debuted in 2002, Lipscomb was instrumental in the success of the show. He served as the director and producer for every episode during the first eight years of the program, with the WPT becoming one of the catalysts of the mid-2000s “poker boom” that erupted during those years. For his efforts, Lipscomb has previously been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the inaugural American Poker Awards in 2015.

While Lipscomb was the one who had the idea, it was Berman who was the one who provided the monetization and the background to be able to work in the cutthroat casino industry. As a businessman, Lipscomb was responsible for the growth and expansion of Grand Casinos, Inc., which allowed him to be able to finance the WPT in its infancy. Because of his casino background, he was also a key player in the negotiations with the different casinos across the States of America and the world when it came to creating the schedule of events and to allowing for the taping of the programs.

Berman’s experience in the world of poker is also noted in his other achievements. He is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, earning over $ 2.6 million in his career in tournament poker. He is also a feared cash game player, giving him the gravitas to be elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

The WPT Honors Award is a relatively new accolade in the poker world, but it has a glowing list of honorees. Former WPT announcer, hostess and tournament director Linda Johnson was the first-ever honoree in February 2017. Later that same year in June, former WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and French poker legend Bruno Fitoussi (instrumental in bringing the WPT to the legendary Aviation Club in Paris) were also feted the award.

Ceremonies to honor both Lipscomb and Berman will be held during the play of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in May. That tournament will be held from May 24-26, so it is likely there will be one night chosen to honor both men simultaneously. Congratulations to Lipscomb and Berman for receiving this prestigious award!

The post World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Heartland Poker Tour Stop at Westgate Courts Controversy Over Alleged Buy-In Decision

 Heartland Poker Tour Stop at Westgate Courts Controversy Over Alleged Buy In Decision

The Heartland Poker Tour has a history as one of the most highly respected “mid-major” tournament circuits in the poker industry. It’s recent stop at the Westgate Las Vegas, however, has become mired in controversy over a decision regarding the buy-in for the tournament and the guarantee that was set.

Making its first return to Las Vegas since 2014, the Heartland Poker Tour was looking to make a big mark on the tournament poker scene with their $ 1650 buy in Main Event. That tournament featured three Day Ones that looked to build a prize pool that would eclipse the $ 500,000 guaranteed prize pool that was put on the event. With those numbers in mind, 334 entries had to be registered for that guarantee to be met.

The issues began late on Saturday afternoon at the Westgate. In a tweet from Jeremy Smith, the tournament director for the Heartland Poker Tour, it became known that there were only 300 or so players on the tournament clock counter with late registration running out (opened until 7:30PM Pacific Time). That meant that, with slightly more than an hour left in late registration, the Westgate and the Heartland Poker Tour were looking at about a $ 70,000 overlay.

The next move, allegedly by the Westgate, is what has set the controversy off. While the players were on dinner break – and late registration was technically still open until the players returned from that break – it is alleged that the Westgate offered to allow players to buy into the tournament for slightly more than half the original price ($ 850 instead of $ 1650). The resulting turmoil drew in several names in the poker community debating the issue and, additionally, Tweets on the subject that were alleged to have been deleted by people with a stake in the game.

Noted poker curmudgeon Allen Kessler brought the subject up on his Facebook page, bringing up the alleged deleted Tweets and the discounted tournament. Surprisingly World Series of Poker bracelet winner and runner-up to Greg Raymer in the Championship Event of 2004 David Williams backed whomever made the decision to offer the discount, saying “If the prize pool is accounted for, who f*****g cares?”

Other members of the poker community didn’t agree on who to lay the blame for the “discounted” entry. At first many were dismissive of the Heartland Poker Tour but, as more info came out, it shifted over to the Westgate. It was alleged that the Westgate made the decision to offer the reduced buy-in to reduce the overlay that they would have been on the hook for.

So why the hubbub over the alleged issue? There apparently were over 300 players who had to pay the whole entry fee – $ 1650 – to enter the event and have a shot at the $ 500,000 guaranteed prize pool. Then along comes a smaller group – let’s say there were enough that the guarantee was met, 30-35 players or so – who only paid $ 850 to have the same shot at the $ 500,000 guarantee. That seems to be the crux of what much of the complaints have been about.

One thing that poker players tend to forget – and tournament poker players also – is that the host casino can pretty much change the rules at any time when it comes to their operations. House rules can deviate greatly from poker room to poker room and, when it comes to tournaments, many events have a sweeping “cover” for its actions. Normally it in small print near the bottom of a flyer – “casino retains the rights to change and/or cancel events as they see fit.” This little clause is what allows many casinos the right to make massive adjustments to their tournaments – such as offering discounted buy-ins to meet a guarantee – or cancel those events outright if there aren’t enough people entering the tournament.

As of press time neither the Heartland Poker Tour nor the Westgate Las Vegas has returned overtures from Poker News Daily regarding the situation. There also has been no contact with the public over their respective Twitter or Facebook feeds to offer an explanation. Poker News Daily will continue to watch the situation and, if a communique is received from either entity, update accordingly.

UPDATE:  Approximately 3PM (Pacific Time) on Sunday afternoon Smith, the tournament director for the HPT, issued a quasi-statement over Twitter in reply to several people who asked him about the decision to allow players to buy in for less than the stated amount. “This has never happened before (in the history of the HPT),” Smith stated to one person. In replying to World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, Smith expressly stated that, “I had no say in this…it was a Westgate decision.”

The Westgate Las Vegas also decided to issue a statement at roughly the same time as Smith. In their Twitter statement, the Westgate stated, “(At the) end of registration for the HPT Main Event, we chose to pay a portion of the entry fee for select VIP. Full $ 1,650 entries accounted for in the $ 500k main event…Westgate is upholding all prize packages & guarantees are being upheld.  Good luck to the participants.”

Finally, the tournament reached 316 full $ 1650 buy ins, falling short of the $ 500,000 guarantee.

The post Heartland Poker Tour Stop at Westgate Courts Controversy Over Alleged Buy-In Decision appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Makes Late Addition to Season XVI with WPT Amsterdam

 World Poker Tour Makes Late Addition to Season XVI with WPT Amsterdam

Not content to sit on their laurels of an outstanding Season XVI, the World Poker Tour has added another event to the roster for the current season. After initially being off the schedule, the WPT Amsterdam will be back for another run from the top pros in Europe just prior to the end of season festivities.

For the fourth year in a row, the WPT Amsterdam will be contested at the Holland Casino Amsterdam. The €3300 Main Event will take place from April 16-20, giving its champion just long enough to get to the States of America for the WPT Tournament of Champions. All winners from the current season receive a seat in the Tournament of Champions as a part of their victory, along with a WPT bracelet, their name inscribed on the Champions’ Cup and a nice financial payday.

“We are proud to return to Holland Casino, home of the first-ever WPT Main Tour event in the Netherlands, for a spectacular festival in partnership with WPTDeepStacks,” said Hermance Blum, General Manager of WPT Europe. “One of the world’s most passionate poker communities is the Netherlands, and Amsterdam presents the perfect location for players wishing to travel to a major European tournament series. With both WPTDeepStacks and WPT Main Tour main events on the schedule, we look forward to seeing you at Holland Casino Amsterdam in April for an incredible week of poker.”

As Blum alluded to, the return of the WPT Main Tour isn’t the only reason for celebration in the Netherlands come April. Along with the Main Tour, the WPTDeepStacks will be back in action. The WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam will be a €1500 buy in tournament that will run just prior to the Main Event on April 13-16.

“It is a great honor for Holland Casino to bring the prestigious World Poker Tour for a fourth consecutive year and WPTDeepStacks for a second year back to Amsterdam,” said Erwin van Lambaart, the Chief Executive Officer of Holland Casino. “Hosting the WPT at Holland Casino ensures a poker festival of the highest standards, and we look forward to welcoming in the world’s best players as they compete on the game’s biggest stage.”

With the addition of the WPT Amsterdam as a part of the Main Tour schedule, there is officially seven events left on the Season XVI schedule. The WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open is currently ongoing, with the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open just around the horizon beginning on January 28. The venerable WPT L. A. Poker Classic (with its $ 10,000 buy in) awaits players on February 24, with the WPT Rolling Thunder in Northern California beginning on March 2. On April 13, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, will play host to the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Once the WPT Amsterdam is completed (and provided that victor is old enough – European casinos have a lower age threshold for entry), then the Season XVI champions will head for Las Vegas for the Tournament of Champions in May. While the current season’s champions are already assured a seat, any past champion of the WPT can buy in directly to the $ 15,000 event. Last year’s tournament was held as a part of the festivities at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, with Daniel Weinman defeating hometown favorite Michael Mizrachi to capture the championship.

The post World Poker Tour Makes Late Addition to Season XVI with WPT Amsterdam appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

 Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

The World Poker Tour recently released the remainder of its Season XVI schedule and, for the most part, the usual suspects were a part of the roster of events. There was one quite noticeable absence, however, as the Bay 101 Shooting Star was not in its usual spot between the WPT L. A. Poker Classic and the WPT Rolling Thunder.

On the WPT schedule since the Season II schedule, the Bay 101 Shooting Star was one of the most popular tournaments on the WPT schedule. Until recently, it was unique in that it was the only bounty tournament on the WPT schedule. Players could enter the event (it started as a $ 10,000 buy-in tournament but, by last year, the buy-in was reduced to $ 7500) and, if they eliminated a few of the 50 poker professionals who were “bounties” in the tournament, they could eliminate their buy-in without having to cash. It also awarded a bonus payout for the leaders after the two-part Day Ones.

These little bonuses for the players brought them out in droves. Professional poker players scrambled to be named one of the “bounties” for the tournament, wearing it as a badge of honor to signify that they were a “notable” in the tournament poker world. It also translated into very nice crowds for the tournament. After starting in 2004 with what was then an unheard of 243 players (and a rousing final table that featured poker pro Phil Gordon defeating defending World Champion Chris Moneymaker for the championship), the 2017 version of the tournament brought in 806 entries, its best performance in its history (and saw Sam Panzica win his second event of the Season XV schedule).

Thus, the actual background on why the WPT didn’t have the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the schedule was a bit of a mystery. The reason for the removal of the fan- and player-favorite tournament wasn’t given in any press release from the WPT or from Bay 101, but now someone for whom the tournament is near to their heart has spoken up. In reaction to Poker News Daily’s editorial on the subject, WPT Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage reached out, clearing away the cobwebs as to why the Bay 101 was taken off the Season XVI schedule.

Poker News Daily: OK, let’s get right to it. Why isn’t the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the Season XVI schedule?

Matt Savage:  It was mutually agreed upon between officials on both sides that the Bay 101 would not be a part of the Season XVI World Poker Tour schedule. Bay 101 will always have a special place in the WPT history books and we would encourage players to continue to visit our friends at Bay 101 Casino.

PND:  Will the Bay 101 Shooting Star return to the schedule in the future?

MS:  We have seen events return to the WPT schedule in the past, as evidenced by the most recent return of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open (at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL) to the Season XVI schedule. We have a group of very exciting events on the roster, including the six newly announced stops, and we look forward to players joining us in Europe (the first-ever WPT European Championship will be contested in January) and throughout the United States and Canada.

PND:  The Bay 101 Shooting Star is something that is very close to your heart, having created the tournament. What are your thoughts on the subject?

MS:  If we are going to do the Shooting Star tournament, I want to do it right. The Shooting Star may be a no-go this year on the WPT, but of course I’d love to run it this year and, hopefully, we can bring it back to the WPT in 2019.

Poker News Daily would like to thank Matt for clearing up the story a bit regarding the Bay 101 Shooting Star. While it would be good to see it continue uninterrupted, players can hope that it returns in some manner – whether it be a “stand alone” tournament or as a part of the WPT roster of events.

The post Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

 World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

In an effort to keep up with the ever-changing times, the World Poker Tour has made the decision to live stream all its Main Tour championship events over PokerGO, the subscription streaming service from the former Poker Central.

“The World Poker Tour delivers the thrilling and action-packed poker programming our audience loves,” said Joe Kakaty, the president of Poker Central. “This partnership is part of our commitment to adding the best live poker programming to our already robust library of content and bringing it to our viewers around the world.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added during the announcement, “Poker Central shares the World Poker Tour’s vision of high-quality, entertaining poker content, and we are proud to have such a committed partner to showcase our events. We look forward to continuing to elevate the WPT product and invite poker fans from around the world to watch the World Poker Tour live on PokerGO.”

Although Season XVI has already started, future final tables on the WPT’s Main Tour schedule will be shown over PokerGO, the subscription service that can be had for $ 10 per month or $ 99 per year. The first event that will show up on the PokerGO streamers will be the 2017 Legends of Poker, broadcast from the venerable Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. When the final table convenes on August 31, the cameras for PokerGO will be on the scene to broadcast the tournament live.

This doesn’t mean that the WPT is ditching its longtime partner, Fox Sports. Fox Sports will have the cable broadcast rights to the WPT for the upcoming season, with the first episodes expected to begin later this year. The deal allows for the WPT to have a consistent streaming outlet and provide all their Main Tour events live, something that was very inconsistent in the recent past.

The move does present a mixed bag of thoughts, however. On the one hand, the World Series of Poker has shown that people want to see poker tournaments live, especially the final table of an event. The WPT has dabbled in streaming tournaments (see previous), but it has never committed to an actual live broadcast or streaming schedule of its tournaments, depending on the tape-delayed Fox Sports broadcasts to bring its product to the people.

On the other hand, however, the move by the WPT to live stream its events might be indicative of a bigger problem. Broadcasting the tournaments over a network outlet is expensive and, if the WPT could bring its product directly to the people live through streaming and save money, then the thought would have to be entertained. Furthermore, if it doesn’t look as if there will be an audience on television for the product, it might not be worth maintaining.

Even the WSOP Championship Event had issues with its final table. Ditching the “November Nine” format it had used for the last decade, the 2017 live broadcasts over ESPN weren’t exactly stellar. While there was an overall increase in viewers comparing 2017 to the 2016 “November Nine,” the average total number of viewers for the three nights (615,000), the final night of the tournament saw a decrease in the number of viewers. In 2017, 741,000 viewers watched Scott Blumstein seal the deal and win poker’s World Championship, a drop from the 780,000 who watched in 2016 as Qui Nguyen bested Gordon Vayo for the crown.

There are two paths forward for the WPT with their broadcasts. If this experiment works with Poker Central and PokerGO, then it would give the WPT the opportunity to depart the cable spectrum and simply broadcast their events live over PokerGO. PokerGO, however, hasn’t demonstrated that it is the answer. Many have complained of the quality of the streaming product during the WSOP, while some have also complained that paying for what they’ll eventually see on a major cable network is a useless endeavor.

For now, the WPT will be collaborating with Poker Central, PokerGO and Fox Sports 1 for its broadcasting needs. Whether that will be the case in the future remains to be seen.

Poker News Daily