World Poker Tour Signs Extension with Bicycle Casino

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This week, the World Poker Tour (WPT) and the Bicycle Casino announced a five-year extension to their longstanding contract. The deal will see the Legends of Poker tournament attached to the WPT brand through 2015.

“The Bicycle Casino has been an enthusiastic and devoted venue partner and the WPT is proud to continue its association with the incredibly popular Legends of Poker event and the team behind it,” said WPT President Adam Pliska. “The Bicycle Casino is a charter member of the WPT and this extension will allow us to build on a tradition of collaboration and best-in-class poker started in 2002.”

The Legends of Poker takes place at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California each year and has been won by big names like Doyle Brunson, Dan Harrington, Prahlad Friedman, and John “The Razor” Phan. Most recently, Andy Frankenberger took down the $5,000 buy-in Main Event for $750,000. Frankenberger beat Kyle Wilson heads-up for the title and is the current leader in the WPT Player of the Year standings going into WPT Marrakech. The Legends of Poker, along with most WPT events, will air on the Fox Sports Network in early 2011.

This year’s Legends of Poker drew 426 players, a 66% attendance increase over the previous year’s total of 279. It should be noted, however, that the 2010 version had a $5,000 buy-in, while $10,000 per seat was charged in previous years. As a result, the tournament’s prize pool dropped from $2.63 million to $2.15 million. Friedman, the 2009 champion, earned more than $1 million for his victory.

Despite the drop in buy-in, the biggest names in the game still made the trek to Los Angeles this year. Among those who took part in the 2010 Legends of Poker were Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Allen Cunningham, Phil Hellmuth, Jeff Madsen, Joe Sebok, and Kathy Liebert, who was playing in her 100th WPT event.

The WPT and the Bicycle Casino were very pleased with the overall result. “It is very evident that the WPT made significant enhancements across the board this year and has plans to continue to do so in the future,” said Bicycle Casino Director of Marketing Kelly O’Hara. “We believe these changes are resonating with our players and with us. We’ve had nine great seasons together and look forward to at least five more. I believe together we’ll continue to offer players a better experience during every year of this deal.”

The announcement of the contract extension came at a very interesting time for the Bicycle Casino, as it played host to the PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Los Angeles Main Event earlier this week. However, due to a television exclusivity clause between The Bike and the WPT, the ESPN-televised final table was moved to Compton, California at the Crystal Casino.

As Poker News Daily reported on Tuesday, PokerStars officials sent out an e-mail that read, “Please be advised that the final table of the NAPT Los Angeles Main Event has been relocated to the Crystal Casino and Hotel. The final table is being filmed for broadcast on ESPN2. The cards will be in the air at 2:00pm PT.”

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