Poker tournaments are frequently aired on television and mentioned in newspaper articles. Most of these tournaments are associated with a poker circuit. This article will detail four of the more famous poker circuits.
World Series of Poker (WSOP)
In 1970 Las Vegas casino owner Benny Binion invited a small handful of the world's best poker players to his casino, Binion's Horseshoe Casino, for a poker tournament he dubbed the World Series of Poker. Now, thirty-six years after its creation, the WSOP has blossomed into a major poker circuit. Each summer alone more than $100 million is exchanged in poker's greatest arena, recorded by ESPN, and later aired for the world to see.
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The 2006 WSOP features a series of 45 poker tournaments that begin June 25th and last until August 10th. The games have been moved away from the rather small Binion's Horseshoe Casino and are now played at the significantly larger Rio Hotel and Casino located on the Las Vegas strip. It is here that players will battle for the most coveted prize in poker, a WSOP gold bracelet, which is awarded to each event winner.
The Main Event of the WSOP, a $10,000 buy-in NL hold'em tournament, is considered poker's most important tournament. Make the final table of this event and you're an instant poker celebrity, not to mention a millionaire. Win this event and you're a poker legend. Of course, the amount of skill and luck needed to pull off this sort of feat is tremendous. Harrah's, owners and operators of the WSOP, are prepared for more than 8,000 entrants for the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
World Poker Tour (WPT)
The World Poker Tour, already immensely popular in just its 4th year of existence, is responsible for turning dozens of poker players into millionaires and celebrities. Poker players travel all around the world to chase the dream of becoming the next WPT Champion. Sixteen events are featured on the WPT which is concluded in Las Vegas with the prestigious $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship at the Bellagio each April. Many online poker rooms hold satellites to various WPT events.
When a WPT event reaches the final six players, cameras begin rolling to record the final-table. This footage is edited and used in making the Travel Channel's popular show World Poker Tour. This show is noted for making celebrities out of guys like Antonio "the Magician" Esfandiari, Phil "Unabomber" Laak, and Gus Hansen. Each episode is two hours long, which gives viewers the chance to see some of the fairly routine hands in the game, rather than just exciting all-in showdowns.
Professional Poker Tour (PPT)
The PPT has been in operation for more than a year now but has failed to gain any popularity due to the events not being aired on television. That will soon change since World Poker Tour Enterprises, operators of the Professional Poker Tour, recently reached a deal with the Travel Channel to begin airing PPT events beginning in the fall of 2006.
The Professional Poker Tour is an invitation-only poker tour that holds events after the conclusion of each WPT event. There are a few different ways players can qualify to gain an exemption on the PPT. They include making the final table of a WPT event, finishing in the Top 10 of Card Player's Player of the Year Standings, by being a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, or by finishing well in the WSOP Main Event.
One of the perks of being invited to the PPT is that each event is a sponsored freeroll. This means that the participating players do not use any of their own money to play in a PPT event. Historically, PPT events have had a prize pool of $500,000. However, with the new deal to televise PPT events, one can expect the amount of the free prize pool to increase. Details of the new to-be-televised PPT events, such as dates and prize pool, have not yet been released.
European Poker Tour (EPT)
The European Poker Tour is sponsored exclusively by the online poker room PokerStars. Currently nearing the close of its second season, the EPT is a series of seven high-priced poker tournaments hosted in various European countries. Like the World Poker Tour, each final table is recorded and aired on television..
The tour is concluded in Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final. This tournament features a ?10,000 buy-in (about $12,000 USD) and is considered Europe's most significant poker tournament. Last year, Rob Hollink bested 211 entrants to win roughly $750,000 USD. Anyone who plays every EPT event will visit seven different countries; Spain, England, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, France, and Monaco.
PokerStars is the only online poker room that offers the chance to qualify for an EPT event.