The World Poker Tour announced expansion of its media footprint recently through a new distribution agreement with Fubo Sports Network. The tour has also adjusted its Player of the Year format for Season XX, the company’s 20th anniversary.
The Lucky Hearts Poker Open also wrapped up on Jan. 26, kicking off the new season. Here’s a look at some of the latest news from the WPT.
Tour expands media reach with Fubo Sports Network
The Fubo deal comes as the company continues adding digital options for WPT viewers. Fubo Sports is a live, free-to-consumer, linear TV network available from the fuboTV streaming platform.
As part of the deal, WPT tournament coverage can now be viewed via Fubo from nearly any device in the United States and Canada. The network offers recent WPT tournaments as well as classic events spanning over 10 seasons. WPT programming joins Fubo’s lineup of live sports from Lights Out Xtreme Fighting, the South American Qatar World Cup qualifiers, Liga Endesa, and more.
“The rich history of the World Poker Tour is something that we continually strive to share with all poker fans,” WPT Studios Vice President Johnny McMahon said in a news release. “With Fubo Sports Network, viewers can catch classic WPT action on fuboTV or on the many Fubo Sports Networks distribution partners, including Roku Channels, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio Channels, and more.”
Fans can stream Fubo Sports Net for free on LG Channels, Samsung TV Plus, the Roku Channel, Vizio Channels, Sports on Tubi, Plex, Hisense Smart TVs, XUMO, or as part of fuboTV’s subscription packages of sports, news, and entertainment channels.
“We’re eager to crack open the vault of WPT tournament history to share with the poker world,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said. “We are not stopping there. We will supplement with regular additions of new WPT tournament coverage from Season XX and beyond.”
WPT Launches new Player of the Year scoring system
In other WPT news, the company announced a new Player of the Year system that also includes WPTDeepStacks events. Beginning with the recent Lucky Hearts Poker Open, every Main Tour and WPTDS counts toward the POY rankings.
“From Florida to Amsterdam, and Australia to Las Vegas, every time a player sits down to play a WPT-branded event, they’re going to be competing to become Player of the Year,” Pliska said. “This is yet another pillar in the 20th anniversary celebration for the WPT and the players.”
The previous scoring system considered a player’s finishing position and the event’s total prize pool. That’s now been refined to account for the wider range of tournaments. All players finishing in the money of any WPT event now earn POY points.
Players are competing for $30,000 in prizes with the winner earning a $15,000 WPT Passport. Those funds can be used in any WPT event around the world. The runner-up and third-place finishers also score $10,000 and $5,000 WPT Passports.
“We wanted to make sure that our new system gives everybody a chance to put in the work and chase down the POY title,” WPT executive tour director Matt Savage said. “On top of the honor that comes from winning Player of the Year, we wanted to have a worthy prize attached to it.”
Previous winners include Daniel Negreanu, Anthony Zinno, and Brian Altman. Jake Ferro recently took the honor for Season XIX.
Alex Yen begins new season as first winner
The WPT kicked off Season XX in January with the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. Alex Yen, originally from Lisle, Illinois, took the title for $975,240.
A finance graduate from the University of Indiana, the 36-year-old has been playing poker full time for 15 years. He now lives in Indianapolis and has more than $1.3 million in live tournament winnings. Playing at the virtual poker tables played a major role in his poker education.
“(My friends and I) started playing for beer money, and they would all beat me and take my money,” he told WPT.com. “By sophomore year, I started playing online poker, and that’s when things really started to click and take off.”
Anton Wigg finished runner-up for $650,180 in a tournament that saw 1,982 entries for a $6.4 million prize pool. The next event on the schedule is the $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April.