The World Poker Tour has announced PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg and longtime WPT commentator Vince Van Patten as the latest WPT Honors Award recipients during day 1A of the 2022 WPT World Championships at Wynn Las Vegas.
“These two men have both made transformational contributions to the poker community, Isai as a pioneer with his incredible ingenuity and boldness, and Vince with his love and dedication to expanding the game of poker. Both honorees are truly deserving of the award,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska in a press release revealing the pair of award winners.
Van Patten has been a part of the WPT throughout its two decades on the poker scene. He joined the WPT when it kicked off 2003, and has been an integral part of the tour and its final table broadcasts since then. The New York native was introduced to poker by his father, notable actor Dick Van Patten, at a very young age, and has been a player for most of his life, In the 1990s, helming a notable Hollywood home game that ran for years.
“I’d like to thank Adam and the whole WPT family for this award,” said Van Patten. “I am so fortunate to have been a part of this amazing company for 20 years and I have never been more proud of what WPT has become, than here at the first-ever W_PT World Championship_ at the Wynn. It is an incredible site.”
Scheinberg co-founded PokerStars in 2001, and quickly guided the online poker site to the forefront of the market in time for the poker boom of that decade that helped spread the game around the globe. The WPT’s press release noted, “Many of the hundreds of thousands of poker players who were able to hone their craft playing on PokerStars still consider Scheinberg to be the standard bearer for how online players should be treated. Scheinberg sold PokerStars in 2014 and has spent the years since then working on philanthropic endeavors and spending time with his family.”
“I am very honored. The WPT is a very important poker company which made major contributions to the game,” said Scheinberg. “The first TV advertising PokerStars did was on WPT programming on the Travel Channel. It had a major impact that led to millions of players joining us.”
Scheinberg and Van Patten were brought on stage during the first break in play during day 1A of the WPT World Championships main event after they were announced as this year’s honorees. They both gave brief comments before Scheinberg had to hurry over to the featured table set, where he took a seat for day two of the $25,000 buy-in high roller as one the largest stacks among the 18 players that remained from a field of 108 entries. This is reportedly the first live tournament he has played in eight years.
The tour first awarded WPT Honors awards in 2017, with the intention of honoring members of the poker industry that have made exceptional contributions to the World Poker Tour and the poker community as a whole. That first year saw Bruno Fitoussi, Linda Johnson, and the late Mike Sexton honored. Lyle Berman and Steve Lipscomb followed in 2018, while Deb Giardina and Matt Savage were selected in 2019.
Featured photo credit: World Poker Tour / Drew Amato.