Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

WPTE Transitions From Poker to Energy

Lyle Berman Speaks About the Success of His New Business


Steve LipscombWhen World Poker Tour Enterprises sold its well-known poker tour and all of its poker-related assets to PartyGaming, the dissolved company was left with nothing but $28 million in cash and a desire to start a new project.

There was no public comment on what direction it would take, but Steve Lipscomb told Card Player at the time that the company would look into pursuing opportunities unrelated to the poker industry.

Well, less than a year later, it has become clear what that new project looks like — and it’s been “so far, so good” for the former owners of the World Poker Tour.

Los Angeles Business Journal published a special feature on Voyager Oil & Gas this week, an energy company based in Montana that has become the new project for Lipscomb and the other founders of World Poker Tour Enterprises, Lyle and Brad Berman.

After Lipscomb and the Bermans sold the WPT, they could have distributed that $28 million to its shareholders at approximately $1.40. Instead, they decided to rename the company Ante4Inc (NASDAQ: ANTF) and look for another venture. The result — a decision to enter the oil and gas business.

The Business Journal describes the move as an “odd turn,” but acknowledges that it has been a successful if not unlikely transition. After doing its research, the company merged with an oil leasing firm in Montana to create the new Voyager Oil & Gas Company.

Lyle BermanSince the merger, stock shares have more than doubled. ANTF is currently trading at $3.44 per share.

“I don’t think we have many unhappy shareholders,” Lyle Berman told the publication. “We thought if we could find a company with a great business model that needed cash, the stock would trade significantly above $1.40 … We have fulfilled that mission.”

The Bermans and Lipscomb hold no day-to-day responsibilities with the new company, having never worked in the energy industry before. But it has become evident that they have an eye for good investments.

That eye is what landed them in the poker industry in the first place. They launched the World Poker Tour in 2002, before stepping away from the industry altogether after the PartyGaming deal finalized late last year.

“As I go into a different phase of my life, it’s time for me to thank everyone in the poker community,” Lipscomb told Card Player in December. “I know we’ve made decisions that were contentious and hard, but through all of that, I think there has been a tremendous amount of grace shown by people in the poker community.”