The World Series of Poker has announced a new partnership agreement with Chinese e-commerce, mobile gaming and social media giant Tencent which will help to expand awareness of poker in Asia.
Tencent Poker is already the top play-for-fun social poker app in China, and the WSOP brand will receive exposure on this vehicle as part of the partnership deal.
A WSOP press statement advises that it will join with Tencent to the first ever WSOP China live poker event this December in Sanya, with the experienced staff at World Series of Poker creating a program to help train and certify Chinese poker tournament staff.
WSOP will in addition contribute its expertise on large event structures, rules, equipment and procedures to ensure any live events are successful and meet international standards.
Ty Stewart, executive director of WSOP, commented:.
“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 plan to use the WSOP brand and our expertise, along with Tencent’s reach in Asia, to inspire the next generation of competitive sports players.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Tencent has exclusive merchandise rights in Asia and is expected to produce WSOP branded goods. The Chinese firm will also acquire media content distribution and production rights in Asia, including live-streaming of events and reality-based programs.
Major land-based events included in the agreement envisage WSOP China and WSOP Asia tournaments, with official WSOP gold winner’s bracelets up for grabs, and a plan to offer a WSOP China Circuit
Due to gaming regulations all live events in China are free-to-play with players entering the tournament by qualifying through the poker app.
Tencent’s corporate vice president Jerry Chen was at the Rio Hotel and Casino over the weekend to help make the announcement, and accepted the honour of announcing the shuffle up and deal call on the first day of the Main Event.
“We are very excited to partner with the WSOP and hope to leverage our expertise in eSports to bring new innovations to the competitive game of poker,” said Chen.
All future live events by Tencent using the WSOP brand will involve live updating, live streaming and hopefully television distribution to help raise poker’s profile in the region.