World Poker Tour Events Continue Dramatic Growth

1 April 2004

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- (Press Release) -- The World Poker Challenge hosted by the Reno Hilton is the latest event on the WORLD POKER TOUR to demonstrate the effects of the television show's popularity. The tournament recorded its highest participation levels to date, with 342 players signed up for this week's event. The tournament will culminate on April 1, 2004 with the filming of the Final Table for the WORLD POKER TOUR series on The Travel Channel. WORLD POKER TOUR airs every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the network.

The increase in players catapults the total prize money to $1,633,700, including the $25,000 WPT contributed to the prize pool. With this large prize pool for the tournament, players down to 27th place will go home with a nice payday, and the winner will capture a top prize of $604,469, including a seat in the season finale WPT Championship April 19th-23rd at Bellagio, Las Vegas. Last year's champion, Ron Rose, from Dayton, OH, walked away with $186,298 when the prize pool totaled $420,746. Two years ago, before the tournament became a WPT event, the tournament had 32 entries. The prize pool is determined by the number of players "buying in" to the tournament - in this case the entry fee is $5,000 per person.

"We are excited about the dramatic increase in participation and prize pool at the World Poker Challenge" said CEO of the World Poker Tour, Steve Lipscomb. "The accomplishment is a testament to the Reno Hilton and we are pleased to have the event as one of the WPT's tour stops."

The World Poker Tour, approximately 80% owned by Lakes Entertainment, is one of cable television's hit shows of the year. More than five million people tune in each week to watch the high stakes drama of the tense competition where millions of dollars change hands across the table, all chronicled by "WPT Cams," that reveal the players hidden cards to the television audience. The show is the highest rated series in the history of The Travel Channel.

The dramatic increase in prize money at the World Poker Challenge is helping drive the WPT's total prize money for Season 2 to over $30 million, triple the prize money in the previous season, which in turn is attracting many newcomers to the game of poker and to WPT tournaments.

The World Poker Challenge concludes Thursday. WPT fans in Reno are welcome to come watch the action and see who will go home with the millions laid forth on the table before the final hand. The show begins at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, April 1st in the Reno Ballroom at the Reno Hilton. The next stop on the tour will be the WPT Championship at Bellagio, Las Vegas on April 19-23, 2004. To play in a WORLD POKER TOUR event, go to www.worldpokertour.com for the complete 2003-2004 Tournament Schedule and casino contacts. The WORLD POKER TOUR airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The Travel Channel.


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