The World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker stop at the Bicycle Casino is one of the highlights of the Los Angeles poker scene every year. For the last five years, the main attraction has been the WPT’s $10,000 Main Event that brings out the biggest names in poker. MacPoker.com was on-hand for the start of the festivities and put together a report of how the event and several side promotions were proceeding.
The WPT decided to make this year’s Main Event a $5,000 affair and not a $10,000 buy-in, which was a very smart move. With the buy-in cut in half, the field should be what we are used to seeing and there were plenty of satellites running beforehand, ranging from $120 super satellites to $530 one-table qualifiers. The Bike has been running these consistently for the last few days and I was shocked to see World Series of Poker Main Event winner Jerry Yang participating in one of the satellite tournaments. WPT officials are extremely excited about this year’s event and it promises to be well attended by poker’s elite.
Another huge promotion taking place on the 19th were the auditions for the newest cast member of the WPT broadcast team. The “Raw Deal” segment will air during Season 9 broadcasts on Fox Sports Net and auditions were open to all who came. The WPT has said they are looking for the “Simon Cowell of Poker,” someone to add an edge and attitude to the broadcast.
Judges during the auditions included Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who sat with me for an interview that aired over at PokerNewsDaily.com. They were both very excited to bring aboard someone new to the team and mentioned their surprise at some of the people that auditioned. Beyond the average people off the street and wanna-be actors from Hollywood, some of poker’s elite came out to try their hand behind the camera.
The first big name to audition was none other than UB.com pro Joe Sebok, formerly of “Poker2Nite” fame. Another member of Team UB that auditioned was Bryan Devonshire, who showed up in a dapper suit. Full Tilt‘s Ali Nejad, known for his work on multiple NBC poker broadcasts, stated that the prospects of adding the “Raw Deal” to his portfolio were exciting and would allow him to show off his colorful sense of humor. Perhaps the biggest shock of all came when Clonie Gowen flew in from her home in Dallas to try out. Plenty of people wondered where Gowen had been for the better part of a year and why she would try to get into the broadcast booth.
Auditions via Facebook and at The Bike are now closed. The WPT will announce in a few weeks’ time the finalists for the spot and give callback auditions to select a winner. Between this new “Raw Deal” promotion and a leaner Main Event, we can safely say that the WPT is making some positive steps to get itself back into relevancy in the poker world after what seemed to be a long hibernation.