World Poker Tour (WPT) CEO Adam Pliska said Season XVII of the World Poker Tour (WPT) has been ground-breaking, marked with new stops, new records and new ideas.
Perhaps what attracted the most attention of the recently concluded Season XVIII was the delayed final tables which took place at the new HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. While this was the biggest change last season, the WPT also announced a series of new partnerships, including a five-year deal with TV Azteca, a Mexican multimedia conglomerate owned by Grupo Salinas.
The WPT has even bigger expansion plans for Season XVIII which promises to be bigger and better in every possible way. The WPT is planning to reach a bigger audience and add more stops to its poker calendar. The WPT team has already started preparing for a new season of premier international poker events.
Expansion Continues
In line with its goal to increase its customer base, the WPT has continued to improve its social gaming offerings, attracting huge numbers to its online platforms PlayWPT, ClubWPT, and most recently Zynga, with the brand’s own TV show also proving to be a hit.
The WPT’s new partnership with TV Azteca will enable the company to reach a wider audience, as it brings its extensive poker content library to the booming Latin American market. Soon, the WPT will also hit Mexican TV screens during late nights, becoming visible to the massive number of people who watch free TV.  Pliska said being given the opportunity to reach a mass audience is incredibly exciting and the WPT will take full advantage of this opening.
With the brand set to penetrate new markets, the WPT will continue its practice of adding more stops and adding more countries each season. For Season XVIII, the tour will give players in 25 countries the opportunity to join in on the fun and action. More announcements will be made on this soon.
New Partnerships
From July 12-22, WPT will hold its inaugural stop in Taiwan, made possible by its recent partnership with the Taiwanese company Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association (CTP). WPT Taiwan will take place at the CTP property in Taipei City, with the Main Event featuring a $1,000 buy-in. The WPT is hoping to leverage this partnership to penetrate the country’s rapidly growing poker market.
Season XVIII will also mark the first time that the WPT will enter Australia, with a new stop at The Star Gold Coast Casino in Queensland. The expansion is hugely attributed to Angelica Hael, the VP of Global Tour Management for the WPT, who is from Australia. Hael won 2018 Industry Person of the Year at the Global Poker Awards.
Commenting on the new announcement, Hael said it’s always been her goal to bring WPT to Australia, and after a series of discussions and conversations over the last couple years, it’s finally happening. Hael said it wouldn’t be made possible without the support of tournament director Danny McDonagh.
Sticking With Delayed Final Tables
The WPT has been taking into account player feedback from different markets. A lot of feedback was received regarding the delayed final table experiment. Pliska said they will use this feedback in order to provide a better experience in Season XVIII.
Unveiling their plans for the delayed final tables next season, Pliska said players and the audience can expect a more “sporting event” feel, with entertainment, personal touches for the participants, plus giveaways for the attendees. The company will also continue exploring what other options the state-of-the art HyperX Arena can offer for a top-notch gaming experience.
A Peek Into Season XVIII
The delayed final table stops for the next season have already been announced. The first batch includes the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, and the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The second batch of stops include WPT Choctaw and the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Final dates will be announced soon.
Two new WPT Honors award nominees are also set to be inducted into the WPT in-house Hall of Fame. Erik Seidel, who currently sits at number 3 on the all-time money list, and longtime tournament director Matt Savage will join a group of WPT movers and shakers.
The winner of the first event of the year, which is the Gardens Casino stop, will receive a brand-new BMW X1, in addition to the top prize.

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