Biggest names, smallest screens: Dwan and Ivey front mobile-only WPT tourney

Jon Pill
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Posted on: February 5, 2021 3:00 pm EST

The World Poker Tour’s Spring Festival will be yet another example of innovation from the brand. The events, with guarantees totaling CNY 12 million (~$1.85 million) will be held entirely on mobile devices using the Poker Kings app.

COVID seems to have supercharged the WPT. They were the first of the big live events to move online. Then they signed huge deals with Adda52 and Natural8 in 2020. These are two of the biggest online poker sites in the coveted Indian and East Asian markets respectively.

Barely two weeks have passed since news broke that Allied Esports Entertainment is sacking off their WPT holdings. This new deal clearly demonstrates that the change in management isn’t slowing operations down one jot.

Super serial

The series starts on on February 17th, 2021. The events will then run for 12 days until February 22nd. Overall, there will be 13 events.

As Poker Kings is focused primarily on Chinese grey-market operations, the buy-ins and guarantees are all listed in renminbi. The main event will be a CNY 2,000 (~$310) buy-in tourney, with a CNY 10 million (~$1.5 million) guarantee and three first day flights.

During the main event a number of players from Poker Kings stable will be playing with CNY 1,500 bounties on their heads. Poker players you might recognize from the team include: Jean-Robert Bellande, Nick Petrangelo, Stephen Chidwick, Andy Milonakis, Daniel Dvoress, Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, Celina Lin, Scotty Nguyen, and WPT Talent Lynn Gilmartin, Tony Dunst, and Matt Savage.

Of course, Poker Kings’s prize threesome of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and NB start Allen Iverson will also be trotted out to play.

Cell-phone telephones only

The Poker Kings app is a mobile-only client, with 1.2 million users. The app has a strong Asian focus. So, as well as English, the final table will be broadcast with commentary in Chinese, Hindi, and Vietnamese. All coverage will be live, with a 60-minute delay.

Poker Kings arrived on the scene in 2018. Its first appearances in the wider consciousness were as a sponsor of several short-deck series. But they really grabbed headlines when they signed Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey as sponsored pros. Neither player had shown much interest in sponsorships since Full Tilt went down like the Lusitania.

In two years of operations, Poker Kings have managed to sponsor some of the biggest name players and are serving some of the biggest markets out there. Now they’ve signed one of the biggest tournament brands in the market. They’ve played their hand brilliantly. Who knows what’s next for them.

Featured image source: Twitter