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Travel Channel sweetens the poker pot

Mar 25, 2003 5:05 AM

Special to GT

World-class poker and the Travel Channel is a nice fit.

Poker is a game that truly stands alone. It is a game like no other, one that requires a deft balance of patience, aggression and gumption.

Elements of this intricate joust of calls and bluffs routinely manifest themselves away from the card table, transcending other areas in one’s life and business.

It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans regularly play poker. That is truly an astonishing number. However, despite this widespread popularity, misconceptions about this great game linger, and the perception by many is that poker is played by a small few in the dark corners of smoke-filled rooms.

The partnership between the Travel Channel and the World Poker Tour stands to dispel those myths.

Premiering on Sunday, March 30, from 7-9 p.m. (ET) and 8-10 p.m. (PT), the Travel Channel’s new series, the WORLD POKER TOUR, gives viewers a never-before-seen look at the high stakes world of competitive poker ”” one where hundreds of thousands of dollars can be won or lost in the blink of an eye.

Overall, the WORLD POKER TOUR series on the Travel Channel will consist of 13 nationally-televised poker events filmed in casinos around the world, and each episode features the best poker players in the world as they vie for multi-million dollar prize pools.

The WORLD POKER TOUR, which airs regularly on the Travel Channel Wednesday nights from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT beginning Wednesday, April 2, features the expert analysis of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, and offers varying camera angles that will bring viewers from their couch ”” to the center of the action.

Best of all, viewers will get close-ups of the players’ hands and sneak peeks of the hole cards, creating a whole new element of high-stakes, high-anxiety excitement.

At the Travel Channel, we feel strongly that the widespread allure of this series will center on the astronomical stakes of each tournament.

The 13-episode series reaches its exciting conclusion with the season’s grand finale, The World Poker Tour Championship ”” a championship that epitomizes high-stakes with a $25,000 participant entry fee. The event will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The program will feature winners from all the poker competitions throughout the 13-tournament season, competing to become the world’s best poker player. The event promises to be one of the biggest televised tournaments in poker history.

Some people have asked, "Why the Travel Channel?" There are a multitude of reasons why the partnership between the Travel Channel and WORLD POKER TOUR is an ideal union.

First, our network now boasts more than 70 million homes nationwide, and the Travel Channel is the only television network devoted exclusively to travel.

Second, it is our goal to deliver insightful stories from the world’s most popular destinations and inspiring diversions.

Further, Las Vegas programming has always done well for us, especially those programs that feature a gaming focus.

Finally, when you look beyond the high-stakes action on the tables, the WORLD POKER TOUR series will take viewers to some of the most famous casinos and card rooms in the world, from Bellagio in Nevada to the Casinos Europa Card Club in San Jose, Costa Rica.

As our March 30 "Opening Night" approaches, we are extremely excited about the potential for the WORLD POKER TOUR series. We hope that we can count on the gaming industry to support the program so that we can make the WORLD POKER TOUR series a permanent fixture on the Travel Channel for many years to come.

(Steve Cheskin is the general manager of the Travel Channel)