About Us

From the riverboats of the Mississippi to the saloons of the Wild Wild West to the prohibition era speakeasies to the gambling dens in Texas to World War II barracks to the underground clubs of New York and Chicago, poker and Americana were intertwined. In the early 2000s, as the internet continued to connect people around the world, the game took on more of an international flavor. In the wake of that wave, an entrepreneur with a solid understanding of the television business and a flair for storytelling seized the opportunity to create a concept that would help put poker on the global map in a revolutionary way.

The Birth of the World Poker Tour

In 2002, The World Poker Tour was founded by Steven Lipscomb as a revolutionary tournament series that transformed poker into a mainstream sport. The journey of the WPT began in 2002 when then television producer and attorney Steven Lipscomb envisioned a televised poker show which showcased the excitement and strategy of the game and made superstars of the men and women who were the best in the world. Lipscomb launched the World Poker Tour with the first season airing in 2003.

The Inaugural Season

The inaugural season of the WPT featured a series of high stakes poker tournaments held at prestigious casinos around the world, including venues like Bellagio in Las Vegas and Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. The tournament series took advantage of hole card cameras, which allowed viewers to see the players’ hidden cards – or hole cards – and gave viewers a unique and immersive experience. The addition of hole card cameras not only elevated the viewing experience but also laid the foundation for the widespread appeal of poker as a spectator sport.

Where Poker Legends Are Made

The inaugural season was defined by the crowning of multiple WPT champions, including Gus Hansen and Howard Lederer who both managed to secure two WPT titles in Season I. Hansen and Lederer led the way as emerging stars of the game. They would later be accompanied in the WPT Champions Club by Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Nick Schulman, Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, and many more who would go on to become some of the biggest superstars in the game and helped set the stage for the WPT’s ascent into the mainstream.

The Faces and Voices of Poker: Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten

As the WPT began broadcasting on the Travel Channel, WPT featured the iconic commentary duo of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Mike Sexton, often referred to as the “Ambassador of Poker”, brought credibility to the WPT television show offering commentary from the perspective of a seasoned professional player. Sexton’s knowledge of the game and passion for poker, made him an invaluable voice in the commentary booth. Van Patten, an actor and poker enthusiast, brought a vibrant energy and charisma to the commentary booth, enhancing the viewing experience. Together, Van Patten and Sexton formed a partnership that not only provided entertaining and informative commentary but also became synonymous with the WPT brand

Putting the ‘World’ in World Poker Tour

As the WPT continued to gain momentum, it expanded its reach globally, hosting events in Europe, Asia, and other regions. The Tour also introduced various spin-off series, such as the WPT Alpha8 for high rollers, and WPTDeepStacks for players seeking a more accessible entry point. Over the years, the WPT has hosted events across six continents and crowned numerous champions, each contributing to the rich history of the tour.

Taking the Game Online: ClubWPT

In 2008, the World Poker Tour expanded its footprint by introducing ClubWPT, an innovative online platform that offers a unique subscription-based model for poker enthusiasts. This marked a significant move into the digital realm, providing fans with the opportunity to experience the thrill of poker from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, ClubWPT serves as a means for players to compete for the opportunity to earn entry into WPT main tour events via satellite events. The launch of ClubWPT demonstrated WPT’s commitment to embracing new technologies and engaging a broader audience.

A New Leader Emerges from Within

In 2009, WPT welcomed a pivotal figure into a leadership role. Adam Pliska, who had been an integral part of the World Poker Tour since its inception in 2002, assumed the role of President and CEO. Pliska offered a wealth of experience and keen understanding of the gaming industry gained through his contributions to the company’s exponential growth in its earliest stages. Under his guidance, the WPT continued to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of poker. Pliska played a crucial role in strengthening the WPT brand, fostering partnerships, and ensuring the tours continued success. His leadership has been instrumental in steering the WPT through various milestones, reinforcing its position as a premier poker tournament series worldwide.

WPT Enters Prime Time

In 2022, WPT introduced a new and exciting mid-major tour titled WPT Prime. Designed to supersede the previous WPTDeepStacks series, WPT Prime embarked on a global journey traveling to highly acclaimed international destinations to offer players from around the world the opportunity to experience the WPT festival experience for a more affordable price point. Since its inception in 2022, WPT Prime has traveled to 12 unique countries and crowned 20 WPT Prime Champions. In 2023, the WPT Prime Championship at Wynn Las Vegas attracted 10,512 entries, doubling the $5 million guarantee to generate a record-setting prizepool of $10,196,640 marking the largest field and prizepool of any $1,100 buy-in event in WPT history.

The WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas

The WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas made its debut in 2022 serving as the crescendo of the historic 20th season of the World Poker Tour. The inaugural event boasted a $15 million guaranteed prizepool, setting a new record for the largest guaranteed prizepool in live tournament poker history. The event attracted a record setting turnout of nearly 3,000 entrants, surpassing and nearly doubling the ambitious $15 million guaranteed prizepool which reached an astonishing $29 million.

This allowed the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas to instantly solidify itself as WPT’s flagship event and quickly became one of the most highly anticipated events in all of poker. That year, the event won a Global Poker Award for Poker Event of the Year. One year later, WPT took the opportunity to build upon what was quickly recognized as one of poker’s most prestigious events at one of the most beloved venues that Las Vegas has to offer in the Wynn Las Vegas, by following up the debut event with an ambitious $40 million guaranteed prizepool at the WPT World Championship in 2023.

Forever Shaping the Modern Poker Landscape

Throughout its history, the World Poker Tour has played a pivotal role in shaping the modern poker landscape. Over the course of 22 seasons the World Poker Tour has awarded over $1.35 billion in prize money at 760 global events and 323 players have been crowned a WPT Champion, having their name forever inscribed on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. From its pioneering use of hole card cameras to its global expansion and adaption to digital platforms, the WPT remains a dynamic force in the world of competitive poker, continuing to capture the hearts and minds of enthusiasts around the globe.