WPT Employees Roast, Toast Vince Van Patten at Special Party
It's been Mike Sexton crushing tournaments and dominating headlines lately, but the other half of the World Poker Tour's famed broadcasting team took center stage for a shenanigan-filled night in Florida.
WPT employees took turns verbally reducing Vince Van Patten to ash at the company's "Vince Van Patten Roast," an invite-only party that took place at The Capital Grille in downtown Fort Lauderdale on April 5.
"It was like I died, and I was seeing my own memorial," said Van Patten in an interview to PokerNews a couple of days later. "It was fun."
The night kicked off with the whole WPT crew — the talent, the brass, the staff and even the live updates team — piling into a shuttle and going from Seminole Hard Rock to the downtown destination. Once the mass of 25 or so people piled out of the shuttle and into the restaurant, the wine started flowing and things got underway.
First up, WPT CEO Adam Pliska took the stage and began the verbal assault. Over the next couple of hours, a handful of prominent WPT employees, including fellow on-camera talent members Sexton, Tony Dunst and Lynn Gilmartin, took their turns firing haymakers at Van Patten.
All parties were present were sworn to secrecy, so the specifics of the insults cannot be revealed. Roasters took aim at Van Patten's professional tennis career — the man peaked at 26th in the world — as well as his poker prowess and his perfectly tanned and coiffed appearance.
None of it came as a surprise to Van Patten, who said he had a good idea of what his colleagues would be coming at him with. Sexton in particular made his bit count though, according to Van Patten.
"I think Mike went under the belt a little bit," Van Patten said. "Perfectly funny. He was probably the most shocking, and I like that."
Of course, as is the custom at any roast, Van Patten picked himself up off the canvas at the end and got his chance to return fire. Van Patten appeared to be more than ready, and he may have had the most fiery turn of anyone with the mic.
He said it was easier than having to prepare material, as he did for the company's previous roasts.
"I jotted down a few basic points, but then I didn't read any. I just made it up, and it works out better that way," he said. "You don't think too much about it. You just dig in a little bit and then roast them a little bit."
After dessert, including a custom-made cake, partygoers drained the last drops of wine from their glasses. Everyone thanked Van Patten for his years of work for the WPT, and the festivities wrapped up.
On the whole, Van Patten said the night was a success.
"It was a great roast," he said. "People were legitimately laughing all night long. I think people had a great time."
All photos courtesy of Jayne Furman and the WPT