WSOP Enters Africa With Stop At Dakar, Senegal
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit will make its first visit to Dakar, Senegal in West Africa in May, as the brand looks to establish a foothold in the largely untapped African poker market. The Dakar stop is the latest addition to the 2021-2022 WSOP Circuit schedule.
WSOP Circuit Dakar Details & Highlights
The WSOPC Dakar stop features nine tournaments and runs from May 13-22. The series is mostly comprised of small stakes events with an average buy-in of less than $500. The stop culminates in a $1,700 Special Main Event which takes place on May 19.
An Omaha tournament has also been thrown into the mix. It comes with a $1,700 buy-in and takes place on May 21. The highest buy-in event of the series is the $3,400 Super High Roller which is scheduled for May 22.
Little One for One Drop
Apart from the Main Event, another highlight of the WSOP Circuit Dakar is the $1,260 Little One for One Drop which takes place on May 21, continuing the WSOP tradition of giving back to the community.
The One Drop Foundation is a Montreal-based non-profit organization focused on water initiatives, such as providing access to safe water, hygiene, and sanitation. It was established by Guy Laliberte in 2007.
Laliberte, who also founded Cirque du Soleil, the world’s largest contemporary circus producer, started the Big One for One Drop tournament in 2012. Upon its launch, the $1,000,000 buy-in event became the highest buy-in tournament in poker history. It also awarded poker’s largest single payout to Antonio Esfandiari who won the inaugural event for more than $18,000,000.
The tournament is popular for its charity element, where a portion of each player’s buy-in is donated to the One Drop Foundation. During the inaugural tournament, 3.5% of the $42 million total prize pool went to several water projects in Africa.
With the addition of the Little One for One Drop to the WSOPC Dakar schedule, the One Drop Foundation’s charitable works are coming full circle. Participants will contribute directly to water initiatives in Senegal, a country that has been dealing with a clean water crisis for a long time now.
WSOP Takes Another Shot at Expanding into Africa
Over the years, the poker market in Africa has attracted major poker tours and brands, including the World Poker Tour (WPT) and the WSOP, with huge events previously held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Marrakech, Morocco. While this is the case, the continent’s poker market has remained mainly untapped.
With a population of more than 1.3 billion, Africa shows strong poker potential. South Africa is home to the region’s most established gambling industry with over 40 licensed casinos operating in the country. These casinos are generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue for the country.
The new Circuit stop in Dakar marks the WSOP’s latest expansion efforts in Africa. In 2010, the WSOP traveled to Africa for its second major expansion (the first being WSOP Europe) outside the US. South Africa played host to the first two WSOPA events in 2010. The series continued for two more editions until it was scrapped in 2013 in the wake of the 2011 Black Friday.
The poker industry is now in a much stronger position compared to where it was several years ago. The massive turnout at the 2021 WSOP Main Event despite the threat of COVID-19 is a clear indication that live poker is generally back up and running across the globe. Online poker has also seen massive growth boosted by the pandemic lockdowns.
With the current status of the industry, it comes as no surprise that WSOP is making another attempt to break into a new market.