Online Pro Mike Watson Wins WPT Bellagio Cup

No Actual Cups Were Awarded

by , Jul 20, 2008 | 12:05 pm

The World Poker Tour kicked off its seventh season with the Bellagio Cup at Bellagio (go figure). The powers-that-be raised the buy-in to $15K in the hopes of getting a field of pros, and that’s what happened. A total of 446 players anted up to create a prize pool of $6,489,300 with a whopping $1,673,700 first prize. (The prize money was not given away in a cup, which would have been a creative idea, right? C’mon, guys. A WPT bracelet and a Bellagio Cup bracelet? A gold cup – use your imagination!)

Anyway, the final table looked promising… Several pros made it, and it looked like David Benyamine was going to take it down and add two bracelets (ugh) to the WSOP bracelet he won this year. But 24-year old online pro Mike “SirWatts” Watson’s luck skillful play got in the way, and a brand new name was added to the list of WPT millionaires. The action will be shown – dates unknown – on Fox Sports.

The final table results were as follows:

1st: Mike “SirWatts” Watson – $1,673,770
2nd: David Benyamine – $840,295
3rd: Luke Staudenmaier – $452,465
4th: Ralph Perry – $290,900
5th: John “The Razor” Phan – $193,915
6th: Gabe Thaler – $129,275

Next stop on the World Poker Tour: The Bike in Los Angeles at the end of August.


7 Comments to “Online Pro Mike Watson Wins WPT Bellagio Cup”


  1. DanM
    says:

    Did the WPT hook up a sponsorship deal with myspace?!?


  2. California Jen
    says:

    Huh?


  3. California Jen
    says:

    Oh my. Just saw the MySpace logo behind Mike in the pic. Hmmm. If that is one of the new sponsors, I can’t believe WPT didn’t pimp that info!


  4. olivert
    says:

    MySpace is owned and operated by News Corporation Limited.

    FSN is owned and operated by FOX Television, which is majority-owned and operated by News Corporation Limited.

    I do know that the WPT/NewsCorp deal involves much more than a simple “time buy” by WPTE on FSN (otherwise, FSN wouldn’t have been granted a “license”, i.e. the rights, to WPT Season 7).

    There has to be a lot more involved in the barter arrangement between WPTE and NewsCorp for WPT Season 7, including swaps of advertising inventory (i.e. mySpace getting an ad sign board in WPT Arena), not to mention possible international distribution of WPT Season 7 in some territories on NewsCorp-affiliated sports TV networks i.e. Sky Sports United Kingdom, Sky Sports Italia, Sky Sports New Zealand, FOX Sports Australia, FOX Sports Latin America (in Spanish only), FOX Sports Israel, FOX Sports Africa, FOX Sports Turkey, FOX Sports Middle East, ESPN Latin America-Brazil and ESPN Brasil (both 33% owned by NewsCorp under a joint venture with Globosat and ESPN), J Sports in Japan (operated by Sumitomo with both ESPN and NewsCorp being minority shareholders), and ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) in Asia ex-middle east (joint venture between NewsCorp’s STAR TV and Disney/ESPN, with NewsCorp being the managing partner).


  5. DanM
    says:

    Interesting, Oliver. If this is the case, it seems like the forced move from GSN to FSN will actually be a good thing, then. Blessing in disguise for the WPT?


  6. olivert
    says:

    > Interesting, Oliver. If this is the case, it seems like the forced move from GSN to FSN will actually be a good thing, then. Blessing in disguise for the WPT?

    GSN paid WPTE $6.9 million (excluding any ratings bonuses) in CASH for WPT Season 6.

    Suffice to say, FSN may have paid a “rights fee”, but it probably did not pay any substantial amounts of “cash” (beyond the symbolic amount of “$1”), to WPTE for WPT Season 7.

    Just as “revenue” does not necessarily equate “cash” in the world of accounting, a TV “rights fee” does not necessarily equate “cash” in the entertainment business.


  7. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    FYI, Amnon Filippi won an actual Bellagio “Cup” when he won the first Bellagio Cup (now known as Bellagio Cup I) back in 2005. And yes, the money was actually put into the cup on the table when he played heads up against Quinn Do.

    I don’t know about Bellagio Cups II & III, because I wasn’t covering them. But there was a physical Bellagio Cup at one point! (And presumably, it still exists somewhere at Amnon Filippi’s house.)