The World Poker Tour (WPT) is considered to be one of the top poker brands across the world and for the last 15 years, players from all over the world have thronged to be a part of WPT events. The WPT recently completed its 15th season and company executives were very happy with the achievements of the tour and have already begun the process of planning the next tour.
The WPT had a presence in 7 countries back in 2010 and in 2017 that presence has expanded to 18 countries. The WPT has held events in the last year in places like Amsterdam, Canada, Caribbean Islands and Prague. The WPT 15th season was easily one of the most successful seasons for the company and clearly outperformed the 14th season. WPT Season 14 saw a total of 11,699 entries, which is around 585 entries per event and the combined prize money was $49,924,973. WPT Season 15 saw a total of 12,536 entries, which is around 627 entries per event and the combined prize money was $54,201,345.
The WPT has a strong presence in North America and the 15th season saw record breaking attendance records at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, WPT Fallsview, WPT Five Diamond and WPT Maryland Live! What is interesting to note is that WPT Season 15 recorded some of the highest attendance numbers even though the WPT reduced the number of events for Season 15 when compared to some of the previous seasons.
WPT Management recently held a press conference at the Seminole Hard Rock and while they discussed the success of Season 15, they also spent a significant amount of time discussing the future of the company, keeping the focus on global expansion and improving overall player experience. Angelica Hael is the VP of Global Tour Management and she has been tasked with the responsibility of taking the WPT brand into international waters.
Hael was candid in her statements saying that in the past the WPT had probably expanded faster than it should have in international markets and as a result make some poor financial decisions. Adam Pliska, the CEO of the WPT echoed similar views saying that over a decade ago the WPT decided to enter China as it believed it was a lucrative market. However the timing and the method of going into China was wrong and as a result, the WPT lost millions. The WPT has not given up on China as the company recently hosted the WPT Beijing tour to kick-start Season 16.
One of the reasons why the WPT is looking to expand into new markets is because it believes that the U.S market has reached a point of saturation. The WPT has dropped a number of U.S stops and Matt Savage, WPT Executive Tour Director believes that it’s a good thing for the WPT as the poker market had turned into a ‘survival of the fittest’ which was a good thing as the tours which were not producing financial results for the company got eliminated while the ones that were successful and lucrative would continue to operate.
The WPT is looking to foray into the Latin America and Asia in the near future and one of the countries that is on the radar is India. The WPT has already tied up with, the biggest online poker website in India who is also the exclusive partner for the WPT in India.
WPT Management also took the time to stress that the company would continue to focus on developing overall player experience by continuing to roll out new initiatives such as investing in grassroots poker, encouraging free to play live social poker via its WPT League and developing its ClubWPT – which is the company’s monthly poker membership game.
Pliska was clearly excited about the efforts the WPT has put in on developing grassroots poker and has spent time meeting with these players and getting feedback. He was very impressed with how enthusiastic and happy that these poker players were about the game. Pliska would also go on to say that the WPT would continue to concentrate on social gaming as it was commercial for the poker industry and was important for the company going forward.