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[caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour, with Mike Sexton, Lynn Gilmartin and Vince van Patten will be on FOX Sports networks through Season XIX.[/caption] Fans of the World Poker Tour are going to be happy to learn that FOX Sports and the tour have come to terms on a deal that will see FOX Sports continue to be the broadcast home of the WPT for the next five years. The extension means that FOX Sports will broadcast WPT events through Season XIX. "This unprecedented, five-year deal with FOX Sports elevates WPT into an elite and exclusive group of shows that have aired on television for nineteen seasons," said Adam Pliska, WPT President and CEO. The WPT debuted on the Travel Channel in 2003 and moved to Fox Sports fro Season VII in 2008. Since then it has become a staple of FOX programming, averaging more than 900,000 viewers per week. "WPT remains a highly rated, regularly scheduled program on FOX Sports Regional Networks, and it's a key part of our primetime lineup each Sunday," said Josh Oakley, Executive Director, Acquisitions and Programming, FOX Sports. "WPT is the perfect complement to our other sports programming, including MLB, NBA, NHL, and college football and basketball. We are excited to have this partnership through 2021." In 2015 the WPT broke their own record when Episode 22, the final table of WPT Fallsview won by Anthony Zinno, drew 1.6 million viewers to become the most-watched episode in tour history. As part of the new agreement, Fox Sports Regional Networks will air two WPT marathons each season with the first coming on Labor Day. "This announcement is great for fans of the WPT and provides extensive, guaranteed exposure for our mainstream sponsors, including Hublot, Monster Headphones, Royal Caribbean International, and FIAT," said Pliska. "We are proud of our new deal with FOX Sports, and we thank the network for its continued support and promotion of our content across its television and digital platforms." World Poker Tour mainstays Mike Sexton, Vince van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin and Tony Dunst will continue to be a part of the broadcast. Season XV began two weeks when James Mackey beat Benjamin Zamani to win WPT Choctaw. The World Poker Tour is broadcast each Sunday night on FOX Sports Regional Networks.
[caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour Season XV broadcasts begin Sunday on Fox Sports (WPT Photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Fret not poker fans. New episodes of the World Poker Tour are coming to Fox Sports Regional soon. Really soon actually. Beginning this Sunday, March 12, Fox Sports Regional will begin airing 27 episodes from Season XV of the World Poker Tour. This marks the beginning of a five-year extension that WPT signed with Fox Sports in late 2016. “Thanks to our award-winning production team, the World Poker Tour continues to raise the bar as the premier name in internationally televised gaming and entertainment," said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. "Season XV of the World Poker Tour promises some truly legendary moments, including the first-ever King of the Club series and the second edition of the prestigious WPT Tournament of Champions.” The action kicks off with the first episode of the WPT Choctaw final table. A total of nine events will hit the airwaves this season. Along with Choctaw, viewers will see the final tables from the Legends of Poker, Borgata Poker Open, bestbet Bounty Scramble, WPT Montreal, Five Diamond World Poker Classic, LA Poker Classic, Bay 101 Shooting Star and the debut of the Tournament of Champions. As well as the Season XV episodes, the ClubWPT.com 'King of the Club' series will make its TV debut. The two 'King of Club' episodes feature six different ClubWPT.com qualifiers playing for a piece of the $37,500 in prize money. All of the familiar faces from previous WPT seasons will be back. Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who have been in the broadcast booth since the beginning, are both back calling the action together in all but one episode. Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst fills in for Sexton for one event - but we won't spoil why.Lynn Gilmartin is also back as WPT anchor this season. Episodes air each Sunday at 8/11 PM local time with repeats throughout the week
Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. As family and friends gather during the holiday season, what are some of the favorite foods poker players are filling up their plates with? We caught up with Jeremy Ausmus, Shannon Shorr, 'Boston' Rob Mariano, Felipe 'mojave14' Ramos, Vince Van Patten, and Mike Sexton about their favorite holiday eats. "I grew up on this family recipe of homemade rolls that are phenomenal," Ausmus, a WSOP gold bracelet winner with more than $6 million in live tournament earnings, said. "I think it's about all I ate as a kid at holiday dinners. Now, I make them. Fresh out of the oven, with butter - nothing is better." Shorr recently relocated to Las Vegas from Alabama, and we're hoping he packed the recipe for his aunt's holiday dish that was his all-time favorite because it sounds like a great one. "Growing up in Alabama, my all-time favorite holiday food had to be sweet potato casserole that my Aunt Pat made," Shorr said, "It was loaded with all the things a 14-year-old boy loves: pecans, chocolate, marshmallows. Unfortunately, I can't get away with eating like that anymore." Mariano, winner of Survivor: Redemption Island for $1 million who now frequents poker events around the world, does not disappoint when it comes to his family’s holiday meals. It's a two-day affair across Christmas Eve and Christmas Day featuring some delicious-sounding menu items. "I'm Italian, so there's no shortage of food around my house during the holidays," Mariano said. "Christmas Eve is usually reserved for seafood - everything from lobster to crab and the traditional Italian-style salted cod dish called Baccala. Then on Christmas Day, we always have some type of macaroni with a special homemade red sauce (gravy) and usually eggplant Parmesan, which is my wife’s favorite." Ramos, a Brazilian, is also accustomed to large holiday meals with family, but a recent lifestyle change has caused him to switch up from one holiday favorite to another. "Talking about tradition, my favorite food was always whatever my Grandma was cooking," Ramos said. "In Brazil, we are very attached to the family tradition, especially because we are Christians, so this date means a lot to us. As the world's second-largest meat producer (behind the USA), we are meat lovers and tradition always told us to have a turkey at the table and many more meat options. Recently, like two-and-a-half years from now, I have been trying to go vegan, knowing of the problems that meat production are causing to the world, and much more. I have made my transition to veganism now and I still love my family and friends, but my favorite meal is not meat anymore. My favorite foods are nuts and dried fruits, truly. I love all kinds, especially cashews and walnuts, figs and apricots. Roasted cauliflowers are part of my favorite meal, with a lot of spices. I think that will be my favorite holiday food from now on." For Van Patten, the energy behind bringing the World Poker Tour TV show into homes every single week, he said his family mixes it up but that he enjoys a little traditional simplicity. "We mix it up, but for tradition, it's turkey, dressing, popovers, and gravy," Van Patten said. Van Patten's former longtime partner in the WPT commentary booth for 15 years, Sexton, said he and his family enjoy doubling down on their Thanksgiving feast but with a little bit of a twist. "My favorite holiday food is Christmas dinner, which is the same at our house as Thanksgiving but we usually substitute ham for turkey," Sexton said. "Mmmmm!" Do you have a favorite holiday food? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweet to us at @PocketFives. Don’t forget to share the recipe so we can cook it up ourselves! Happy Holidays! *Photos courtesy of Run It Up and the World Poker Tour.
Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. We've covered the favorite holiday traditions, favorite holiday eats, most memorable gifts, and even the top holiday movies from those within the poker world. Now, we're going to hear some of the favorite places to spend the holiday season. In the poker world, it’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the best times to be in Las Vegas, and that’s where WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner David Williams loves to be. "I would say Las Vegas," Williams said. "You get the WPT Five Diamond, which is one of the best tournaments of the year, and it’s truffle season, so all the top Vegas restaurants have white truffles available on their menus. My mother moved here, so I also get to spend it with my mother and daughter, so no other choice." As you can imagine, family was a big theme no matter the location. Williams mentioned it, so did others, including Felipe 'mojave14' Ramos. "My favorite place to be was always with family in Brazil, but not every time is it possible to be with them, even though I have traveled across the world so many times just to be with there, even last minute," Ramos said. "But now, I am starting my own family and also have to think about my fiancés family. This year's Christmas I will be spending in Las Vegas with Natalie, and my favorite place to be is now with her. I wish I could have every one of my family and friends together at the same place, at least for this time of the year. Life is such a rush and we miss a lot these precious time, so I am trying to build my life and family, but also can't forget my roots." Arguably poker's greatest ambassador, Mike Sexton, also makes the case for Las Vegas where he lives, but he knows the value of showing his son a winter wonderland during this time of year, too. "I love being home for Christmas, but a couple years ago we wanted our son to experience a ‘White Christmas’ so we went to Park City, Utah, and it was truly fantastic," Sexton said. The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be known to drive people crazy. You’re trying to decorate, make every party or plan your own, buy gifts for friends and family, and do it all while living your regular day-to-day life. Vince Van Patten, longtime commentator for the World Poker Tour, likes to take it easy this time of year, at home. "I love staying home in L.A., hanging with the family, swimming in cold water, and seeing some of the best movies of the year during this time," Van Patten said. "I like to slow down and be thankful." Whereas Van Patten may be slowing down, Dan O'Brien loves the city that never sleeps. "New York City," O'Brien said. "It has a special buzz around Christmas and my family has a tradition of enjoying dinner and a play every year. Great spot to be." Ronnie Bardah, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner who was once the victim of one of the most incredible bluffs of all time by a former Miss Finland, stays true and says the holidays are best spent back where it all began. "The holidays are best spent in the hood you grew up in, where childhood memories were created," Bardah said. "Growing up Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah on Christmas Day and mom would try to keep the Jewish tradition in the house. I love Christmas, and if I could choose, I would always spend it in Boston! Walking around malls, singing Christmas music, and throwing snowballs at punk kids. These days, New Year’s is always somewhere new. This year, though, I’ll be in Vegas bringing it in with Papa Smurf!" Lynn Gilmartin, anchor of the World Poker Tour, is also on board for her favorite place being home. For her, that's Down Under in Australia, but it's doesn't mean it's going to be cold. "My favorite place to be is at home in Melbourne with my family and friends," Gilmartin said. "It's summertime in Australia, so the holidays revolve around barbecues and the beach. I love it and couldn't imagine having a cold Christmas!" Do you have a favorite place to spend the holidays? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweet to us at @PocketFives. Happy Holidays! *Photo courtesy of PokerStarsLIVE.