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Foxwoods, WPT Expand Relationship with New WPT Poker Room

28 March 2006

When Steven Lipscomb presented the concept of the World Poker Tour (WPT) to Foxwoods executives nearly five years ago, it didn't take the brass at the world's largest resort casino long to decide they wanted to jump on board.

"We met immediately following his presentation," said Robert J. DeSalvio, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Foxwoods. "We quickly decided it was something we wanted to do and gave him a call on his way to the airport and told him that he had his first partner."

So it isn't surprising that the Mashantucket, Conn., casino was the first to launch a WPT branded poker room, celebrating the opening with a star-studded event which included Carmen Electra and Mike Sexton on March 23. The room includes 114 new tables with WPT logos, automatic card shufflers, LED table components, and a state-of-the-art seating system.

"We have talked for some time about franchising poker rooms across the country," said Lipscomb, founder and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. "It makes sense to come to Foxwoods first. They were the first casino to sign up for the World Poker Tour, and now they are the first to have a World Poker Tour branded poker room."

Poker at Foxwoods has grown at an exponential rate, paralleling the popularity of WPT broadcasts on the Travel Channel. Since the first WPT tournament went on the air, Foxwoods has expanded its poker room four times. The most recent expansion increases the number of tables by 50 percent, giving Foxwoods the ability to seat over 1,000 poker players at a time.

"We really had no idea that the concept would become such a phenomenon, but we are very pleased that it has," DeSalvio said. "We opened (the World Poker Tour Room last weekend) at 8 a.m. with 30 tables just to make sure everything was going to run smoothly. By 1 p.m., we had all 114 tables in action."

The Foxwoods Poker Classic scheduled for April 6-9 will be Foxwoods' fifth WPT event in four years, making it the third most frequent host for WPT events behind only the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Commerce Casino in southern Calif. The partnership also includes the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), a concept created by WPT Enterprises, with the first PPT event held at Foxwoods in Nov., 2004.

"We just signed on for the Professional Poker Tour again," DeSalvio said. "With two televised World Poker Tour events, and the additional event with the Professional Poker Tour each year, we are the major player in the poker industry."

In his previous life, Aaron Todd was a sports journalist by day and a poker player by night. He can now be found covering the poker beat for Casino City and making horrendously unsuccessful bluffs in his home game. Write to Aaron at aarontodd@casinocity.com.

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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.