The 48th edition of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is currently taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada and the prestigious Main Event is already underway. The WSOP top brass are already making plans on growing the WSOP brand and taking the tournament to new countries.
Right at the top of the expansion program is China, which is considered to be one of the most lucrative poker markets in the world and is largely untouched because gambling is prohibited in Mainland China and the authorities have cracked down on poker tournaments in the past even though organizers have promoted poker as a game of skill and not chance.
The WSOP which is arguably the most recognized and popular poker brand in the world does not have any reservations in entering China as the company announced before the start of the 2017 WSOP Main Event that it had entered into a partnership with Tencent – a Chinese based company that has various business interests – one of them being gambling. The WSOP signed a 10 year agreement that will be beneficial to both companies as they both have a common interest of growing the game of poker and launching successful WSOP events.
The WSOP has plans to launch a number of events throughout Asia and the first event will most likely be the WSOP China tournament which will take place before the end of 2017. Tencent has a strong presence in China and will use its leverage to help spread the WSOP brand and bring in players to future WSOP events in China. Tencent has also signed an agreement with the WSOP to be its exclusive partner in selling WSOP merchandise and also for producing and distributing WSOP programming.
The WSOP is expected to begin training Tencent staff shortly to help the company prepare to host a successful WSOP China edition. Tencent will have to ensure that the WSOP China tournament maintains the high level of standard that the WSOP has set in terms of operational excellence, technical standards, gaming rules and tournament structure.
Tencent has experience of hosting live poker events on Hainan Island, which is similar to Macau but a lot smaller and with limited exposure to gambling. The company will host online qualifiers for WSOP China via its online poker app and the WSOP has confirmed that there will be WSOP gold bracelets up for grabs at WSOP China.Google+