China has entered the world of poker big time, by organizing its first national Poker Tour for the traditional Tuo La Ji or Traktor Poker. The Poker Tour, organized by the WPT and the China Leisure Sports Administrative Centre (CLSAC), has crowned its first provincial champions.

The tour will consist of 15 preliminary tournaments that will take place between now and April 2008, in which teams from every city will compete against each other to represent their region in the Grand Final. Tournament Traktor is played in teams of 4 people with 2 decks, where kings, tens and fives hold the highest point value.

The inaugural event took place in Lanzhou, where 418 competitors played for three days to determine which team would represent the province of Gansu in the National Final. The winning team was led by Lanzhou city residents Zhu An Men and Chen Haili, who must now prepare to face the best from across the country at the finals next year.

Authorities form the CLSAC and the WTO expressed their satisfaction at the successful start of China’s first Poker tour: Mr. Xing Xiao Quan, Secretary General of the CLSAC said that “October 12th will be remembered as a historic day for poker in China, as the beloved folk game of Traktor poker has been elevated to the position of an official National Sport.” And WPT’s COO Peter Hughes declared in Lanzhou: “This inaugural event is a strong sign of the success we anticipate for this Tour. Traktor Poker is a tradition and sport rich with history, and will only grow and build momentum from here.”

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