|With the huge success of the World Poker Tour (WPT) on U.S television, WPT is now trying to draw poker enthusiasts to poker rooms and casinos across the country, who until now didn't get a slice of the action and had to be content with watching it on TV.|
WPT and Lakes Entertainment (which owns 80 percent of the venture), have disclosed plans to launch a WPT Satellite program to allow casinos and online poker rooms to run low cost satellite events that will feed directly into the season-ending World Poker Tour Championship. The WPT is expected to end on April 19-23, 2004 at Bellagio, Las Vegas, with the total prize pool touching $5 million.
According to Steve Lipscomb, founder and CEO of WPT, the new satellite service initiative is all about expanding participation to other casinos in the poker industry and improve the appeal of the game by drawing a new generation of poker players.
Casinos benefit by receiving exposure on the WPT website (worldpokertour.com) listing their satellites. And if the select players from a casino make it to the WPT Final Table, the casino will be featured on the Travel Channel broadcast.
Currently WPT attracts nearly 5 million viewers a week, and with the new WPT Satellite program in place, the finals are expected to draw more than 200 players, pulling in $5 million in prize pools and $2 million for the first prize winner.
The WPT airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm (Eastern and Pacific time) on The Travel Channel.