When the Professional Poker Tour (PPT) kicks off at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Nov. 9, the field will include poker’s All-Stars — champions from the World Poker tour, the World Series of Poker and European Poker competitions.
More than 200 players qualified when the PPT announced its list of eligible players.
A host of top players ranging from veterans (Doyle Brunson) to young lions (24-year-old Antonio Esfandiari) made the cut, earning the right to play in the elite sports league.
Launched by WPT Enterprises, the creator of the World Poker Tour, the Professional Poker Tour reflects the evolution of poker as a sport. A sponsored prize pool totaling $2.5 million is at stake throughout the 5-tournament inaugural 2004-2005 season.
Whereas anyone can play on the WPT, only the game’s professional elite that qualify will compete on the PPT. To be eligible to play on the tour, players must have proven themselves in past poker competition: by winning or making a final table at a WPT event or a WPT Championship; by scoring as a top 10 point leader in WPT Player-of-the-Year rankings; by winning or placing highly in the $10K buy-in event at the World Series of Poker; by securing a spot on either Card Player magazine’s Top 10 list or Poker Europa’s Top 10; or by being a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.
At the time of the announcement, the Professional Poker Tour revealed PPT eligibility rules for future years based on recommendations from the PPT Advisory Committee.
"This qualifying process ensures that the television audience will have a chance to consistently see the most exciting, skilled poker played by the sport’s All-Stars," said Steve Lipscomb, President of WPT Enterprises. "The PPT will be a league of poker Titans."
Among the players on the PPT roster whose names will be recognizable to poker fans are: Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Phil Gordon, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Chris Moneymaker, Antonio Esfandiari, Bobby Baldwin, Daniel Negreanu, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Jennifer Harman, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Samy Farah, Mel Judah, Scotty Nguyen, Erick Lindgren, Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Huck Seed, Tom McEvoy, Layne Flack, Carlos Mortensen, Chip Reese, Erick Seidel, Lyle Berman, Kathy Liebert, T. J. Cloutier, Ted Forrest and Linda Johnson.
A complete list along with qualifying criteria can be found on the WPT website, www.worldpokertour.com/media. More than a dozen of the PPT qualifiers are women.
In its first year, the Professional Poker Tour will encompass five $500,000 free-roll tournaments with a total $2.5 million prize pool. After its debut at Foxwoods in November, the PPT will move to Bellagio (Las Vegas) with subsequent tournaments at the Goldstrike Casino (Tunica, Miss.), Commerce Casino (Commerce, Calif.), and The Mirage (Las Vegas).
WPT Enterprises will reveal more information on the PPT, including potential television partners, at a future date. Meanwhile, viewers can continue to enjoy the World Poker Tour on Travel Channel Wednesday nights at 9 p.m.