Joe Bartholdi Wins $3.76 Million In Fourth WPT World Championship At Bellagio
The 2006 WPT World ChampionshipTwill be remembered in a string of superlatives - the most, biggest and first! When Joe Bartholdi, of Las Vegas, defeated the brightest poker talent from nearly 40 countries, he did so in a tournament that is going to be talked about for years. The finale to the WORLD POKER TOUR®'s Season IV drew a record-breaking 605 entrants, generated the highest ever WPT prize pool of more than $15 million, and for the first time in WPT history, awarded more than a million dollars to a player that qualified on a $25 satellite! Bartholdi pockets a coveted first prize of $3.76 million, the enviable title of WPT World Champion and a seat in the 2007 WPT World Championship at Bellagio.
The WPT World Championship is the jewel atop the crown of the WPT's fourth season. Its $15 million purse brings the total prize money for the 17 Season IV tournaments to a staggering $85+ million. The riveting shows, currently airing on the Travel Channel every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT, have revealed the 20 newest WPT Poker Millionaires. After the WPT World Championship that number rises to 23 as the tournament paid more than $3 million to first place, nearly $2 million to second place and $1 million to third place.
"This tournament captures the dream and the reason we created the WORLD POKER TOUR," says Steve Lipscomb, Founder and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: WPTE). "The Championship is an open event where anyone with the drive and courage to enter can test his or her skills against the best players in the world. This Final Table match-up will absolutely fuel the poker fantasies of millions of players. We congratulate Joe and welcome him to our family of WPT Champions."
Champion Joe Bartholdi was cheered on by a sizable hometown crowd. His post-tournament plans include taking his cheering section out to "celebrate for a while," and once the party ends he intends go out and "buy a house." His friends were also heard to be talking about a Bartholdi-funded trip to the Caribbean. Money is no object for the newest WPT Millionaire.
Second place finisher, Davidson Matthew of Toronto, Canada, enthused, "This tournament has turned me from an amateur to a professional. It's set me up to play poker. Now if I lose, financially, it just doesn't matter." To put his accomplishment in perspective - his $25 spent on a satellite buy-in to cash over $1.9 million puts his winnings at $76,000+ for every dollar spent - now that's good investment!
Roland De Wolfe, of London, England, was the only previous WPT winner (Grand Prix de Paris, Season IV) to make the Final Table. De Wolfe also joins the ranks of WPT Millionaires as his third place finish awarded him $1,025,205. Claus Nielson of Las Vegas finished in fourth and cashed $659,120. Fifth place, with an award of $439,375, was given to James Van Alstyne also of Las Vegas. Sixth place and $292,915 goes to the legendary Men "the Master" Nguyen of Bell Gardens, California.
This tournament marked the closest yet that a woman has come to making the Final Table of the WPT World Championship. Vanessa Russo of Miami, FL, finished "on the bubble" -- seventh--but took home to the "Sunshine State" a consoling $263,625.
The $25,500 buy-in tournament at Las Vegas' Bellagio proved to be a lure to marquee players from all around the globe. Among those who took to the felt for the WPT World Championship were defending champion Tuan Le and Alan Goehring, plus T.J. Cloutier, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Doyle Brunson, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Erick Lindgren, David Williams, Allen Cunningham, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Phil Ivey, Kathy Liebert, Chip Jett, Ted Forrest, Gavin Smith, Barry Greenstein, Paul Darden, Nick Schulman, Freddy Deeb, Jennifer Tilly, Michael Gracz, John D'Agostino, Hasan Habib, Scott Fischman and James Woods.
The international contingent also included Martin DeKniff, Paul Maxfield, Gus Hansen, David Benyamine, Juha Helppi, Chris Bigler, Humberto Brenes, Juan Carlos Mortensen, Johan Storakers, Marcel Luske, David "Devilfish" Ulliot, John Gale and Patrik Antonius, among others.
The 2006 WPT World Championship will bring the excitement coast-to-coast when it airs on the Travel Channel on Wednesday, June 28th at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The WORLD POKER TOUR is the global leader in poker. The WPT introduced poker to a worldwide audience through its innovative and riveting brand of televised poker, now seen in more than 147 countries and territories. Capturing all the excitement and sizzling action at its 17 Tour stops around the globe, the show sets the gold standard in poker programming. The WPT inspired a global poker phenomenon that has attracted millions of men and women to the game and legions of devoted followers to the poker lifestyle. It has transformed poker into the sport of choice for vast numbers of viewers and players, and the hundreds of millions of dollars of prize money on the WPT have rekindled the promise of "The New American Dream." The WORLD POKER TOUR airs on the Travel Channel, every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT in the U.S. and on ITV4 in the U.K. For more information, go to www.worldpokertour.com.
About WPTE WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE) is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes. WPTE is the creator of the World Poker Tour®, a television show based on a series of high-stakes poker tournaments that airs on the Travel Channel in the United States and more than 147 markets globally. WPT Enterprises currently licenses its brand to companies in the business of poker equipment and instruction, apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games, and giftware.