In 2004, the World Poker Tour Enterprises brand had a market cap of $500 million, with shares trading from $25. Last week, those shares traded at about $1. That’s a slight drop from when the sale of the brand to PartyGaming was announced over the summer.

According to Joel Russell at the Los Angeles Business Journal, the WPT brand helped to create the current poker craze that the U.S., and the whole world, is currently in. Russell blames the fading fortunes of the brand on the drop of TV ratings for poker shows, and for the excessive amount of tournaments WPT produced “to keep up with competitors.”

“As a result, entry fees and ad sales, the two main sources of WPT’s income, have been decimated,” Russell writes.

“Growth of the poker boom is slowing down and there are new people getting into the business,” Russell quoted Matthew Rousu, an assistant professor of economics at Pennyslvania’s Susquehanna University.

What do you think? Did the WPT lose out to now-more-popular brands like the World Series of Poker because of mistakes made? Or was it just too soon to the table, and unable to maintain popularity in the face of a poker-playing public that preferred other things? Or was it just unable to compete with higher-profile tournaments like the WSOP?

Click here to read Joel Russell’s article at the Los Angeles Business Journal.