Lyle Berman

Lyle Arnold Berman is a professional poker player and business executive who played a large part in the growth of the World Poker Tour brand.


Born in 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Berman has had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic since he was a kid. He attended the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in business administration. He then went to work for his father's leather business. When the business was sold to W. R. Grace in 1979, he stayed on as president and CEO. The company was then later sold and eventually became Wilson's Leather. From 1994 to 2000 he was the chairman and CEO of the Rainforest Cafe chain of restaurant.

Berman was also interested in card games since he was young so it was natural that he turned his business attention to the gaming industry. In 1990 he was a co-founder of Grand Casinos, Inc., a company that sought to create gambling establishments which soon expanded and opened casinos in several states. After the merger of Hilton Casinos and Grand Casinos, Grand Casinos' Native American casino holdings were spun off into a new company, Lakes Entertainment Inc., and Berman was named CEO. Berman won the Gaming Executive of the Year award in 1996.

World Poker Tour

In 2001, Berman agreed to meet with Steve Lipscomb to discuss the idea of televised poker tournaments. After the Lakesí Board of Directors agreed the financing was taken care of, the first tournament was taped. The Travel Channel entered into an agreement with Lakes to air the first season of the World Poker Tour.

"WPT Enterprises" broke from Lakes in order to become a public company in 2004. Berman, who had confidence in the project since the beginning, remains committed to the company and played an integral role in growing of the company by licensing its products, broadcasting its shows internationally, and expanding the WPT brand.

Poker Playing

Berman read Doyle Brunsonís Super System in the 1980ís and decided to try out poker tournaments in Las Vegas. He cashed in the WSOP 7 times during the '80s and won his 1st bracelet in the 1989 $1,500 Limit Omaha event. He won his second bracelet in the 1994 $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball event for $128,250 and his 3rd bracelet in the 1992 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em event for $192,000.

Berman finished 5th in the 2008 WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for $444,000.

In 2005, he finished in 5th place in the season 4 WPT World Poker Finals for $345,000 and competed in the National Heads Up Championship, finishing in fifth place to eventual champion Phil Hellmuth Jr.

Lyleís also play high-stakes cash games, including the Big Game.

Berman co-authored his autobiography titled "I'm All In: Lyle Berman and the Birth of the World Poker Tour" with Marvin Karlins. The book covered Berman's childhood and his business ventures, including the World Poker Tour.

According to the book Positively Fifth Street, Berman has bankrolled T. J. Cloutier in numerous poker tournaments, including the 2000 WSOP main event, where he finished 2nd.

As of 2009 he has 3 WSOP bracelets, 16 WSOP cashes, and live tournament winnings over $2,500,000. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

WSOP Bracelets

Year Event Prize
1989 $1,500 Limit Omaha $108,600
1992 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em $192,000
1994 $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw $128,250


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Lyle Berman

HPG ADMIN on February 27, 2013

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