WPT To Honor Key Founders Lyle Berman And Steve Lipscomb

Written By Katie Callahan on May 2, 2018

The World Poker Tour will award Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman the WPT Honors Award at the WPT Tournament of Champions May 22 for their contributions to WPT and to the poker community.

According to World Poker Tour, both Lipscomb and Berman are the driving forces behind the WPT’s success and contributed to poker’s advancement worldwide by continuing to advocate for televised poker.

Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, said this in a release:

“The WPT is deeply proud to present two extraordinary icons of our industry with the WPT Honors Award. These Honorees represent the pioneering ingenuity and passionate leadership that has abundantly influenced poker. Mr. Steve Lipscomb and Mr. Lyle Berman brought poker to new heights with the creation of the World Poker Tour, and their passion and dedication have allowed the WPT to become what it is today.”

Lipscomb’s hole card idea was a game-changer

Lipscomb came up with the idea to show hole cards to the audience during televised poker broadcasts 16 years ago. His idea launched what would be known as the World Poker Tour.

While Lipscomb started as founder and CEO, he also wrote, directed, and produced every episode the first season of the World Poker Tour. He continued with that for eight seasons.

Lipscomb is responsible for bringing poker international via television. It was the first distributed franchise, and within two years, was available to over 130 markets worldwide.

Lipscomb also received the first American Poker Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his advancements in the industry.

Lipscomb produced and directed On the Inside of the World Series of Poker for the Discovery Channel in 1999 and filmed the 2001 Tournament of Champions of Poker. He also created and executive produced the Cruisin’ to a Million program for the Travel Channel.

NPR and others initially called televised poker a trend, not even Time could deny that this trend made for compelling television.

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Berman brings the poker business to Lipscomb’s idea

Prior to poker, Berman owned his family’s leather business, turning it into a company worth over $100 million. He later renamed it Wilsons Leather.

At the advent of the World Poker Tour, Berman worked alongside Lipscomb to bring the televised poker with hole card idea to life.

Before Berman got involved, he spent plenty of time in poker. As owner of Grand Casinos, Inc., Berman ran eight casinos. He used that venture to finance the World Poker Tour. He also took a spot as the chairman of the board for the WPT.

Berman is no stranger to the tables though; he can commonly be found at the world’s largest cash games against the game’s top competitors. His winnings otherwise include:

Berman maintained his involvement in the industry by raising his stake in Golden Entertainment in Las Vegas in June of last year. He kept more than 2 million shares or 9.1 percent of the outstanding stock, reported the Minnesota Star Tribune. The company’s stock sat at $20 per share after signing to acquire four Nevada casinos. The stock currently sits at about $26. 

As part of the World Poker Tour’s Tournament of Champions, Adam Pliska and the WPT Honors Award Advisory Council nominate and agree upon the recipients of the WPT Honors Award. This award is the WPT’s highest honor. First established in February 2017, the WPT first gave Linda Johnson this award with Mike Sexton and Bruno Fituoussi following in July 2017.

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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