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HOME > HI-ROLLER > Gaming Life > WPT Invitational Draws Poker and Hollywood Stars

WPT Invitational Draws Poker and Hollywood Stars

24 February 2005

COMMERCE, California – (PRESS RELEASE) -- The World Poker Tour's annual star-studded WPT Invitational today at the Commerce Casino brought out Hollywood's new crop of poker aficionados including such personalities as Ray Romano, Camryn Manheim, Jon Favreau, the Masterson Brothers Danny and Chris, Brad Garrett, Dean Cain, Mimi Rogers, Mena Suvari, Ed Asner, Norm MacDonald, Lou Diamond Phillips, Stephen Collins and 30 others. While the last celebrity "survivor" will take home a $5,000 donation for charity, there is plenty more at stake for the 236 total players in the tournament that concludes tomorrow -- a $200,000 prize pool and a seat at the WPT World Championship in April. The winner will also receive the elegant and prestigious Argentium(TM) Silver trophy, designed especially for the WPT Invitational.

While the fans along the rail ogled the celebrities, the celebrities were in awe of their favorite poker stars...many of whom have made their names on WPT telecasts. Seated alongside the stars were such poker luminaries at Doyle Brunson, Layne Flack, Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke, Scotty Nguyen, Phil Laak, Chris Ferguson, Phil Hellmuth, T.J. Cloutier, Gus Hansen and numerous other champions.

Said Lou Diamond Phillips: "I think the THE WORLD POKER TOUR was the fuse that helped poker just blow up. I know a lot of kitchen and home game players who now see the strategy and yell out the answers. It's like watching Jeopardy on TV."

The first celebrities to exit the tournament and tell their bad beat stories were former Los Angeles Ram superstar Deacon Jones, followed by Rossi Morreale (Junkyard Mega Wars), Erik Palladino (ER), Dean Cain (Superman), James Woods, Ed Asner, Ty Treadway (SoapNet), Chris Rich (Reba), Sarah Gilbert (ER) and Macauley (MAC) Culkin.

Other celebrities in the chips were Jennifer Tilly, Laura Prepon (That '70s Show), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: Next Generation), Adrian Young (No Doubt), David Sutcliffe (The Gilmore Girls), Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter), Hill Harper (CSI:NY), Jeremy London (7th Heaven), comedian Kathy Griffin, Kelly Packard (Baywatch, Ripley's Believe It or Not), supermodel Natalia Vodianova, Skeet Ulrich (Scream), Tanya Roberts (That '70s Show), Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do), Traci Bingham, (Baywatch) and Willie Garson (Sex and the City).

The WPT Invitational's Final Table will be taped for the WPT's much-anticipated Third Season of high-drama, high-stakes poker play on the Travel Channel. The new season will air every Wednesday night beginning March 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The show that reinvented poker as a televised spectator sport, WORLD POKER TOUR has made stars of the poker players who have captured million-dollar purses on the Tour. Since their WPT Final Table appearances, they are frequently spotted in airports and restaurants, and pressed for autographs by fans, just like their celebrity counterparts. In Season Three, the WPT is averaging a "millionaire a month" with its record-breaking prize pool of approximately $70 million.

"The WPT Invitational has become a hot Hollywood ticket," says Steve Lipscomb, founder and President of WPT Enterprises (Nasdaq:WPTE). "It's a fan favorite, too... one of the WPT's highest rated shows each year. We embrace and share the stars' love of poker. It's great fun to see many of them hang around after they have lost their chips to watch and learn from the pros."

Fans may view the Final Table on Feb. 24, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The tournament will begin at 3:00 p.m., but it is suggested that fans arrive by 2 p.m. to ensure a spot. The Commerce Casino, the country's largest poker room, is located at 6131 East Telegraph Road in Commerce, just five minutes from downtown Los Angeles off the Washington exit of the 5 Freeway.


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