Even though the present season of the World Poker Tour (WPT) is only partway through, the televised moments from the first few stops will begin to be broadcast from Sunday 13 February on Fox Sports Net.
The new episodes, from Season IX, will be aired at either 8 p.m. or 11 p.m. depending on your U.S. location and will be hosted by Vince Van Patten and commentated by popular pro Mike Sexton. There are a number of changes to the show’s format that are aimed at improving the viewing experience for fans and new viewers.
Firstly, Kimberly Lansing, the former WPT hostess, becomes a booth announcer, handling player interviews and linking in with Van Patten and Sexton. A second important improvement is the addition of another expert commentator to accompany Sexton’s analysis; Pro Tony “Bond18” Dunst debuts on the show with a show-in-a-show segment named “The Raw Deal,” that will talk viewers through hands, criticize play and involve Dunst himself as a participant in the WPT events.
The WPT will broadcast all the events from this season from Day 1, enabling poker fans to gauge and experience the feel of a poker tournament and what it takes to get all the way to the final table.
Steve Heller, the Chief Executive Officer of WPT, announced: “As Season Nine rolls out, fans will find all the great poker action they’ve come to expect with a new, faster-paced, edgier tone. We are introducing new elements, graphics, and talent throughout the season. Each week, viewers are guaranteed to see something unexpected and uniquely WPT.”
The coverage of each tournament will last two episodes; the first two installments on Sunday, 13 February and Sunday 20 February will cover the Bellagio Cup VI. Season IX’s first event ended with arguably the best player of recent times, Phil Ivey, in a final table situation and squaring off against top online pro Justin “Boosted J” Smith in the heads-up.
FOX Sports Net’s VP of Programming, David Sussin, remarked: “We’re very excited about the new season of the World Poker Tour. WPT has really amped up everything about the production and it shows in the product. Sunday nights are again the destination viewing for poker fans.”
Action from the Legends of Poker tournament at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles and the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic from the Bellagio in Las Vegas will provide the highest quality viewing as new episodes still to be added to the season’s fare.