The World Poker Tour triggered TV's poker boom, and Adam Pliska has been guiding the WPT for more than 10 years as WPT president.
"It has kind of gone through the Wild West days when everything you put the word 'poker' on, peole went crazy. Then with the laws changing, the WPT had a difficult time. But as a public company, we made it and we could survive when others didn’t."
He said another turn came about three years ago when bwin bought the company.
"And we're seeing a new Renaissance," he said. "Three years ago we had no more than 15 events, now we’re going to have 55 televised or nontelevised events and it's truly, a world poker tour, including South Africa, Morocco and China."
The players are younger and more aggressive, he notes.
"(Hall of Famer) Mike Sexton will be the first to say they’re smarter; a much brighter pool of players in there," Pliska said. "And a lot of them grew up in the online world. It's somewhat of a democracy on TV; you really get a cross section of not only the country but the world."
He said Black Friday fallout hasn't been as bad for WPT because the tour wasn't in as vulnerable position relating to online poker.
"Other shows had sponsored themselves with other online sites; we were sponsored with our own site," he said. "When all the other poker shows were being scrubbed with no sponsorship we not only were able to stay on, we were filling space with people eager to advertise. And Club WPT became an alternative."
Meanwhile, he compared the tournament series to the PGA.
"We are filming almost 12 months out of the year and editing definitely 12 months out of the year."
This year's tour also has launched a foundation, he notes.
"We’ve looked to work with a number of charities; the idea is a number of very generous pople in the poker world and the WPT is a big name that can allow us the advantage of being in touch with the biggest players and being able to get a lot of exposure," he said.
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