The World Poker Tour may be up for sale, but its successes last year can’t be knocked. In fact, they’ve led the way through COVID for all the big live tourney brands. The WSOP signed with GGPoker shortly after the WPT ran their first WPT Online events on partypoker.
As a result of these successes, it is unsurprising to see other series act quickly in following the WPT’s latest marketing move. The APT is the most recent brand to follow the WPT’s local-but-online approach for the WPT Montreal with their own APT India event on PokerBaazi.
There will be 48 events total running until January 26th. With ₹80 million (~$1 million) guaranteed across all events.
The series got underway on PokerBaazi on January 15th with the ₹2,200 $30) Kick-Off event. There will also be three APT Ring events: the Mini Main, The Main Event, and The Championship event. Winners of these three events will receive a ring and trophy to go with the first-place payout.
Navkiran Singh, Founder & CEO of Baazi Games, the parent group of PokerBaazi said of the event, “The Asian Poker Tour is one of the world’s most valuable poker properties and we’re honored to bring the Tour back to Indian shores. […] This truly is an exciting time to be a professional poker player in India.”
Wheels within deals
The APT India is the first national leg of the APT to take place entirely online.
PokerBaazi will not only be bringing the APT India leg to life online this week but, as it has ties to brick and mortar locations too, the APT has also expressed hopes that there might be a live version of the series later in the year.
Lloyd Fontillas, the APT’s General Manager and Executive Tournament Director, expressed this in the press release for the event.
“What excites me the most about our partnership is the fact that PokerBaazi also operates a live poker room,” Fontillas said. “So on top of the action-packed online schedule we are putting together, players can expect us to bring back a live APT event to India before the end of 2021.”
It is also worth noting that although India is a massive market, it’s also a segregated one. So players will need an address in an Indian state with legal online gambling to play the event. With lockdowns in place up and down the nation, international travel is not advised.
The shape of poker
What with the WSOPC, the WPT, and now the APT, adopting this format, it seems as if this will be the shape poker takes for most of 2021. If an event can be live it no doubt will be. But if the risk of COVID is too high, rather than cancel, the plan seems to be that the branding stays, but the location goes.
For example, Taiwan managed their COVID response well enough that a massive MTT in the heart of the capital isn’t borderline suicidal. Their caseload has never gone above 30 new cases a day. As a result, the APT Taiwan will be held live in March.
India however has not fared as well with the pandemic. As a result, the APT India moves online.
So it goes with the other big brands. It will be interesting to see how the WSOP handles its online presence going forward. They still have five or six months to make a decision on the Main Event.
Featured image source: Twitter