The World Poker Tour, often abbreviated to WPT, is a series of high-stakes poker tournaments held at casinos around the world. Modeled after successful sports tours like the PGA Tour, the WPT produces the highest-rated poker television show in the United States. The World Poker Tour television show, currently broadcast on the Fox Sports Network, airs between 15-20 episodes per season, culminating in its own "WPT Championship", held at the Bellagio at the end of every season. The WPT began in 2002.
Each episode shows an edited-down and energized version of the action at the final table of the main event for a major WPT tournament. The WPT tournaments themselves take several days and usually consist of many sub-tournaments, but very little of the footage of the other events or earlier days makes it to the air. Tournaments are generally aired approximately six months after they are originally held and filmed, to provide time for post-production and for optimum TV scheduling.
Arguably, the WPT was one of the main catalysts in the poker boom. Along with Celebrity Poker Showdown, it brought Texas Hold 'em into America's living rooms and legitimized and glamorized the game for a large segment of the American viewing public. Subsequently, a number of other networks have aired poker series, notably:
- ESPN's much expanded coverage of the World Series of Poker
- Fox Sports Net's series, including the Poker Superstars tournaments and others.
- NBC's occasional forays into the subject, including the "National Heads-Up Poker Championship", an NCAA-tournament style playoff of poker's greats.
- Game Show Network's poker shows, including Poker Royale and High Stakes Poker
The WPT was originally aired on the Travel Channel in the United States for its first five seasons. Season six was shown on the Game Show Network, and Season 7 is currently airing on the Fox Sports Network.
The casinos and tournaments involved in the World Poker Tour 2005-06 season (airing on the Travel Channel beginning March 8, 2006):
- The Mirage Poker Showdown, The Mirage, Las Vegas
- Grand Prix de Paris, Aviation Club de France, Paris
- Legends Of Poker, Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles
- Borgata Poker Open, Borgata, Atlantic City
- UltimateBet's Aruba Poker Classic, Aruba
- Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship, Bellagio, Las Vegas
- World Poker Finals, Foxwoods, Connecticut
- Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Bellagio, Las Vegas
- PokerStars' Caribbean Poker Adventure, on a Cruise Ship in the Caribbean
- World Poker Open, Gold Strike, Tunica
- Borgata Poker Classic, Borgata, Atlantic City
- L.A. Poker Classic, Commerce Casino, Los Angeles
- WPT Invitational, Commerce Casino, Los Angeles
- Bad Boys Of Poker II, Commerce Casino, Los Angeles
- Bay 101 Shooting Star, Bay 101, San Jose
- World Poker Challenge, Reno Hilton, Reno
- Foxwoods Poker Classic, Foxwoods, Connecticut
- WPT World Championship, Bellagio, Las Vegas