The Jack Binion World Poker Open at Horseshoe Casino/ Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi is the latest event on the World Poker Tour (WPT) to feel the domino effect of the television show’s huge popularity.
Records have been set in each of the tour stops and the Jack Binion World Poker Open is no exception with a huge increase in players, prize money and first place payout over the previous year’s tournament.
A total of 367 players signed up for last week’s event, which ended on Thursday with the filming of the Final Table for broadcast as part of the WPT series on The Travel Channel.
The telecast airs every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific) on the network. Many faces familiar to the WPT turned out for this event, including fan favorites Gus Hansen, Ben Affleck, Lou Diamond Phillips, Annie Duke, Chris Fergueson, and Howard Lederer.
The increase in players catapulted the total prize money to $3,455,075, including the $25,000 WPT contributed to the prize pool. With such an enormous and record-setting prize pool for the tournament, players down to 27th place will go home with a nice payday, and the winner will capture a top prize of $1,278,370.
Last year’s champion David "Devilfish" Ulliott from England walked away with $589,990 when the prize pool totaled $1,600,000. The prize pool is determined by the number of players "buying in" to the tournament -in this case the entry fee is $10,000 per person.
Congratulations to the Horseshoe Casino and Gold Strike Casino for having the largest prize pool in WPT history. This growth in this tournament is truly remarkable," said CEO of the World Poker Tour, Steve Lipscomb.
The World Poker Tour, over 80% owned by Lakes Entertainment, is one of the television hits of the year. More than five million people tune in each week to watch the high stakes drama of the tense competition where millions of dollars change hands across the table, all chronicled by "WPT Cams," that reveal the players’ hidden cards. The show is the highest rated series in the history of The Travel Channel.
The dramatic increase in prize money at the Jack Binion World Poker Open is helping drive the WPT’s total prize money for Season 2 to an estimated $30 million, triple the prize money in the previous season, which in turn is attracting many newcomers to the game of poker and to WPT tournaments.
WPT fans are welcome to come watch the action and see who will go home with the millions laid forth on the table before the final hand. The next stop on the tour will be the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles in February.
To play in a World Poker Tour event, go to worldpokertour.com. for the complete 2003-2004 Tournament Schedule and casino contacts.
The World Poker Tour has transformed poker into a televised mainstream sports sensation, creating record-setting ratings and capturing millions of new fans for America’s favorite card game.
The blockbuster series has riveted the nation’s TV viewers thanks to its hallmarks—a blend of high caliber sports-style production shot from 13 different camera angles, expert commentary, cliffhanging "reality TV" drama and the WPT’s signature "ace in the hole"—its revolutionary WPT Cams, that reveal the player’s hidden cards.
For information on the World Poker Tour, go to www.worldpokertour.com.
The World Poker Tour is a joint venture between Steven Lipscomb and Lakes Entertainment, Inc., which owns approximately 80% of WPT. Lakes currently has development and management agreements with four separate tribes for four new casino operations, one in Michigan, two in California and one with the Nipmuc Nation on the East Coast.