The 48th edition of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is currently underway at the Rio in Las Vegas and over the weekend the Main Event kicked-off. The WSOP is the biggest and longest running poker tournament in the world and poker players from all over the world block their calendar to well in advance to show up at the WSOP.
WSOP – A Global Brand
The WSOP which started back in 1970 has made Las Vegas its home for all these years but the brand does conduct WSOP tournaments across the globe on a regular basis. The WSOP has hosted tournaments over the years in Australia, Latin America and Europe but its presence in Asia has been limited, much to the disappointment of Asia poker players.
Asia poker players will now be happy to learn that the WSOP plans to expand its presence in the Asian market. Before the Main Event could begin, Ty Stewart – WSOP Executive Director announced that the WSOP had entered into a partnership with Tencent, an investment company in China that has multiple business interests – one of which is gaming. The partnership between the two companies will result in the launch of the first ever WSOP tournament which is scheduled to take place in December 2017.
There are over 4 billion people in Asia and the popularity of poker is growing at a fast pace in countries like China and India. Gambling is banned in Mainland China but poker is usually promoted as a game of skill and not chance – thereby gaining legal approval. When the WSOP launches in China, it will provide a huge boost to the game of poker as poker players from all over Asia are likely to make their way into China.
WSOP And Tencent Partnership
Poker analysts and operators have always kept a close watch on China as they consider it to be one of the most lucrative poker markets in the world. However it isn’t easy entering into the Chinese market as a number of poker operators have tried to do so in the fast and have not been very successful. The WSOP will have a major advantage due to its strategic partnership with Tencent.
In a statement, Stewart said “There is so much untapped potential in Asia and we’ve found the perfect partner in Tencent to help spread the great game throughout the entire continent. We’ve joined forces with Tencent to bring the number one trophy in all of poker to China. We plan to use the WSOP brand and our expertise, along with Tencent’s reach in Asia, to inspire the next generation. This 10-year agreement is the longest in history and we work together to make poker the biggest it’s ever been.”
The WSOP team will look to train Tencent staff and help them organize and streamline WSOP China and other WSOP Asian events that will be held going forward. Asian poker players will be delighted to know that WSOP Asian tournaments will host WSOP gold bracelet events giving them an opportunity to win one of the coveted bracelets.
WSOP Expand Its Global Presence
The WSOP-Tencent partnership will help boost the revenue of both companies, grow the game of poker and further establish the WSOP as being the biggest poker brand in the world. The WSOP has dominated the global poker market for the last 40 years and WSOP Management are now working on plans to ensure that the WSOP continues to be the great poker tournament for the next 50 years.
The WSOP also made changes to its 48th season by introducing a number of new events, adding more WSOP gold bracelet events and creating more opportunity for players to be able to register and enter the WSOP. One of those changes was cancelling the WSOP Main Event November Nine schedule and scheduling it for July.
The WSOP has not yet released any information on how long the WSOP China will run for and how many events will take place. The WSOP is looking to windup its 48th season successfully in Las Vegas and will then get down to working out details for WSOP China and other WSOP Asia events.