Amaya, the Canada-based owner of sister sites Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, will launch a number of initiatives to promote poker throughout the world, especially in Asia.

The company said that it will use PokerStars to promote the growth of the game in China and Japan. It has already singed a sponsorship deal, according to which it will sponsor the Nanjing Millions 2014, which is scheduled to be held next month at Beijing Star Poker Club at Nanjing Olympics Sports Center in Jiangsu Province.

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The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) China poker tournament has the approval of the Jiangsu Provincial Chess Sports Association. The PokerStars-sponsored event will be held from April 14 to April 19 and will include a main event, which guarantees a prize of CN¥1 million.

Danny McDonagh, the president of the APPT, said: “The growth of poker in China has been tremendous and we are committed to support this sport throughout the region. Nanjing is a key location that allows players from all over the country to participate. The previous two Beijing events last year were very successful and we are proud to be a part of this government-supported event.” has also presented its latest brand ambassador, Yuiko Matsukawa, the Japanese actress and model. PokerStars has already sponsored a number of celebrities such as Rafael Nadal, the Spanish tennis player; Ronaldo, the Brazilian soccer player; and Daniel Negreanu, the professional poker player.

As the PokerStars brand ambassador, Matsukawa will take part in marketing activities and poker tournaments to promote poker as a skill-based game. Recently, Matsukawa took part in the Macau Poker Cup at PokerStars LIVE Macau, an Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) stop.

PokerStars has expressed its commitment to promote the growth of the game in Japan. Recently, it expanded its Japanese team to include Kosei Ichinose, the talented online poker player, and Naoya Kihara, the WSOP bracelet winner.

The EPT Malta Poker Festival, the European Poker Tour’s (EPT) first event in Malta, began yesterday. An event that spread over 12 days, it will be played till March 28th at Malta’s Portomaso Casino. The festival will include more than 30 cash game tables and 69 scheduled tournaments.

The festival schedule includes an invitational charity poker tournament, which will be held on March 21. The proceeds will be directed to PokerStars’ charity partner Right to Play.

Recently, Rational Group will also help CARE International raise funds for the cyclone victims of Vanuatu.