WPT lands at Bellagio

Apr 5, 2005 7:50 AM

The World Poker Tour (WPT) returns to Las Vegas this week to conclude its third season with the biggest poker tournament on the tour.

The Five-Star World Poker Classic at Bellagio kicks off on Tuesday, April 5, with the first of 10 No Limit Hold’em events as well as satellite and super-satellite tournaments.

The three-week tournament concludes April 18-24 with the third annual World Poker Tour World Championship, which begins at noon on Monday, April 18.

Players can register at Bellagio for all of the Five Star World Poker Classic tournaments. Entry fees for the No Limit Hold’em events range from $1,500 to $5,000.

To compete in the WPT World Championship, players must pony up the $25,000 entry fee or earn their seat via winning one of the daily satellite tournaments held throughout the first two weeks.

The World Championship is the culmination of the 16-tournament World Poker Tour, and officials are hopeful to have more than 400 participants competing for a prize pool worth at least $8.7 million.

Martin Deknijff defeated 342 other participants in the 2004 WPT World Championship at Bellagio and took home more than $2.7 million for his victory. The final table for the WPT World Championship will be filmed and will air at a later date on the Travel Channel.

The WPT has transformed poker into a televised mainstream sensation, creating record-setting ratings and capturing millions of new fans. The WPT is broadcast weekly (Wednesday) on the Travel Channel at 9 p.m.

This year’s championship will feature the winners from the previous 15 events as well as Daniel Negreanu, winner of the December 2004 Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. Bellagio is a charter member of the World Poker Tour.

"We are excited to host the WPT World Championship for the third consecutive year," said Doug Dalton, director of poker operations for Bellagio. "The increased popularity in the sport of poker and the demand for more tournaments makes us proud to be a part of this spectacular event."

"You couldn’t script a more gripping drama than the one that will be played out at the WPT World Championship this year," says Steve Lipscomb, president and founder of WPT Enterprises, Inc. "The field of players has never been better, the stakes have never been higher, and the millions of fans who now follow the WPT on television every Wednesday night can’t wait to see if one of their favorites or an unknown talent will capture the crown. The results are totally unpredictable, and it will be a great ride all the way to the end."

The Five Diamond World Poker Classic held last December at Bellagio featured 376 participants and a prize pool of more than $5 million. Negreanu, a local Las Vegan, earned more than $1.7 million for his victory.