Two of the most important members of the poker community in history — PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg and long-time broadcaster Vince Van Patten — will receive some much deserved World Poker Tour honors.
These two poker giants are the recipients of 2022 WPT Honors Awards. They will receive recognition for their contribution to poker. They have all contributed more to poker over the years than many people realize.
Poker has made a tremendous contribution
PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg (left), WPT CEO Adam Pliska, and WPT announcer Vince Van Patten.
Scheinberg was once an IBM Canada senior programmer and founded PokerStars. It has been the largest online poker site in the last two decades. No one in the world has played a greater role in online poker’s growth, leading to an enormous increase in popularity.
Van Patten was the son and poker commentator Dick Van Patten. Steve Lipscomb gambled with Mike Sexton (an old-school poker commentator) and Van Patten (a poker and tennis player), when the World Poker Tour was first broadcast on cable TV in 2003.
The WPT as well as the whole poker community benefited greatly from this decision. Van Patten and Sexton were among the greatest broadcast teams in poker history. They are right there with Lon McEachern and Norman Chad (World Series of Poker), Gabe Kaplan, and A.J. Benza (High Stakes Poker).
Van Patten and Tony Dunst were paired together after Sexton died in 2020. Tony Dunst had hosted the “Raw Deals” segment on WSOP shows, which was now Fox Sports Network. While it was impossible to replace Sexton as a Poker Hall of Famer and legend, WPT once more found the perfect broadcast pairing.
Van Patten is still a popular presence at WPT. Van Patten’s contribution to WPT is more than his ability to draw the action from the felt. Since its conception, the actor, father, and poker player has supported the World Poker Tour (WPT) for 20 years. He’s as vital as any for the continued growth of this prestigious tour.
“It is my privilege to share that this year’s WPT Honors Awards recipients will be Vince Van Patten and Isai Scheinberg,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. “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.”
Wynn Las Vegas hosted the announcement at 1a on the WPT World Championship of $15 Million guaranteed prizes.
“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 WPT World Championship at the Wynn. It is an incredible site.”
Scheinberg competed at Wynn’s $25,000 high-roller on Monday. Scheinberg doesn’t usually play poker anymore. Although Scheinberg lost the cash, he still plans to register for Day 1c in the WPT World Championship.
“I am very honored. The World Poker Tour 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.”
Pliska presents the WPT Honors Award to recognize outstanding contributions to WPT and to poker as a whole. Past recipients included Bruno Fitoussi (2017) and Linda Johnson (2017). Mike Sexton (2018), Lyle Berman (2018). Steve Lipscomb (2018). Deb Giardina (2018). Matt Savage (2018).
*Images courtesy of WPT.