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World Poker Tour Airs 200th Episode

Mike Sexton Shares his Thoughts on the Huge Milestone for the WPT on Television

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WPT LogoOn Sunday, July 10, the World Poker Tour hit a monumental milestone with the broadcast of their 200th episode. That’s more than Seinfeld, The Cosby Show and other huge shows (daily shows don’t count in the list). And now that the WPT is the top rated show on Fox Sports Net, the WPT in nine years on air, has been the top-rated show on two networks (It was also the top show on Travel Channel.)

The 200th episode is the championship show from the Hollywood Poker Open, which took place in April. The tournament was won by Michael Scarbough, who topped a tough final table that included runner up Erik Seidel, William Reynolds, Thomas Marchese, and Ali Eslami. Card Player caught up with WPT host Mike Sexton who was playing in the WSOP main event on Sunday and he shared his thoughts on the milestone as well as memories from the first nine seasons of the show.

Ryan Lucchesi: The World Poker Tour airs its 200th episode on Sunday night, what does that television milestone mean to you and the show?

Mike Sexton: Well it’s pretty strong. I can remember a little over a year ago they sent me over congratulations that we had done our 179th show. I didn’t realize what that meant but that was how many episodes Seinfeld did, and I Love Lucy did, so really in television lore when you pass those kind of iconic shows it’s pretty impressive stuff. Now we have made it to our 200th episode and not too many TV shows make it that far.

RL: What are some new things we can expect to see during Season X and moving forward for the World Poker Tour?

MS: I’m excited about Season X coming up; we have a couple of European events that are going to be on the U.S. television schedule, which is great. As you know our ratings went up 35 percent last year so I’m looking for big ratings and bigger events next year. We are excited about Season X, no doubt about it.

RL: Since players don’t have the option to play online anymore how important do you feel it is to present poker in a good light on television to the general audience?

MS: I think it is always important to present poker in a good light and I think the World Poker Tour does a good job of that honestly. I think that the players that strictly played online are going to have to come out into the real poker world and either play in cash games or live tournaments. I see our events getting bigger and bigger. I think we are going to have a great season with large prize pools, and a lot more players than we have had in the past.

RL: What are some of your favorite memories from the first 200 episodes of the show?

MS: Well, the very first show we ever did, that final table at Bellagio was my first TV show ever, so I was scared to death. I’m drinking beers on the side there trying to remain cool [Laughs]. That was really fun for me. That was where we met Gus Hansen. That first final table has brought nine WPT titles from the players who were at that table, so it was an impressive final table. It was the kickoff to our series.

When Doyle Brunson won his Legends of Poker title that was very special to me, I also think that Carlos Mortensen winning the main event on the World Poker Tour was impressive. He is the only guy in the world who has won the main event on the World Poker Tour and the main event at the World Series of Poker. Nobody else has done that and we may not see that again in our lifetimes. That is a pretty impressive feat I think.