Championship Features Match Up of WPT Millionaires

12 April 2006

LAS VEGAS –- (PRESS RELEASE) -- You could see it as an opportunity for the rich to get richer ... should any of the World Poker Tour's millionaire champions survive the estimated 600-field shootout for the $12-$15 million WPT World Championship(TM). If the prize pool reaches those lofty heights, three people will be bagging $1+ million paychecks.

On the other hand, it could also be an opportunity for an unknown to spoil their day and snatch the estimated $3.5 million dollar prize.

In the largest gathering of WPT poker millionaires ever, fans will be looking out for their favorite when the event begins April 18 - 24 at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The showdown of the WPT's Millionaire Poker Brat Pack (those who won their millions while under the age of 30) includes: Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari (Las Vegas and Bay Area), Steve-Paul Ambrose (Waterloo, CAN), Michael Gracz (Raleigh, NC), Erick Lindgren (Las Vegas and Burney, CA), Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi (Hollywood, FL), Nick Schulman (New York City), John Stolzmann (Madison, WI) and $2.8-million winner in 2005, defending champion, Tuan Le (Los Angeles).

Other WPT millionaires above the age of 30 include Paul Phillips, Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Carlos Mortensen and Freddie Deeb, (all from Las Vegas); Alex Kahaner, Ming Ly, Hasan Habib , Barry Greenstein and Nam Le (all from Southern California); Al Ardebili (New Jersey); Hoyt Corkins (Las Vegas and Alabama); David Minto (New Mexico); Eric Brenes (Costa Rica); Tony Licastro (New Jersey); Patrik Antonius (Finland); Rehne Pedersen (Denmark); Mel Judah (England);and Paul Maxfield (England). Maxfield was the runner-up in 2005, with $1.6 million-not bad for a consolation prize!

Two other returning WPT World Championship winners are Martin DeKnijff ($2.7 million) and Alan Goehring ($1 million)-both of Las Vegas. Goehring is a retired junk bond analyst who says that poker is still a hobby for him. DeKnijff, a poker pro and professional sports bettor originally from Sweden, said he felt "the prestige of winning the WPT Championship was overwhelming."

"The challenge for these players and all the WPT champions is to show that that they are not a one hit wonder," says Steve Lipscomb, founder and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE). "There's a lot of pressure on these guys. They have to fight through the toughest field in poker with a veritable bulls-eye on their backs."

With nearly $100 million in prize money at stake on the WPT, men and women want to reach out and grab their share of the New American Dream, a dream made possible by one of the hottest series on television. Since the WPT went on the air in March 2003, more than 50 people have become WPT Poker Millionaires. Many of these WPT millionaires were unknowns when they made it to a WPT Final Table.

Who will be this WPT World Championship's big surprises?

Satellite tournaments for the WPT World Championship are being run by more than 49 land-based and online casinos, many with small buy-ins. Bellagio will run tournaments daily beginning April 5 that will award seats in the event and will offer two $2,500 Super Satellite Tournaments Sunday, April 16 and Monday, April 17.


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