The World Poker Tour (WPT) and Fox Sports go together like peanut butter and jelly, so most poker fans will be happy to know the tour has signed another five-year deal with the major cable network.
The new agreement ensures most cable and satellite television customers will have access to the WPT’s televised events through Season XIX. Currently, the poker tour is in its 15th season. Fox Sports is the only cable network to own the rights to this major poker tournament series.
A Fox Sports and WPT partnership wouldn’t be the same without iconic broadcasters Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, of course. Yes, those legendary announcers will remain in the booth, as they have been since day one, giving pithy color commentary.
WPT’s Top Performers
The WPT is to Fox Sports what the WSOP is to ESPN. Both organizations have meant a great deal to the growth of the game around the world. As with the WSOP, the bigger careers of many tournament stars have been launched over the years.
Only four players through the first 14 seasons of WPT action have won three titles: Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, Anthony Zinno, and Carlos Mortensen. And no one has been crowned Player of the Year twice. Howard Lederer, now a name that is considered a curse word by many around the poker community, was the first to earn POY honors.
Hansen might come as the biggest surprise as a triple-WPT winner. The once-popular poker pro has been noticeably absent from the high stakes poker games in recent years. Gus is the biggest loser in online poker history (more than $20 million in the hole), but he won WPT tournaments in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Anthony Zinno had a Jason Mercier-like run in February 2015. He won two WPT events in the same month, for a total of more than $1.3 million. He also finished 23rd in another WPT event earlier in the month. Zinno’s first World Poker Tour title came in 2013.
The World Poker Tour played a key role, along with the WSOP and online poker, in creating the Poker Boom era around 2003. For the first time ever, hole cards were introduced to a poker television audience. That was, according to many, one of the main reasons for the poker boom, along with Chris Moneymaker, of course.
The Fox Sports and World Poker Tour partnership has been mutually beneficial, but also good for the poker industry. Poker television shows such as High Stakes Poker, National Heads-Up Championship, and Poker Superstars have come and gone over the years. But only the WSOP and WPT have stuck around for the long haul. And, thanks to the contract extension with Fox Sports, it’s clear the WPT isn’t going away any time soon.