The World Poker Tour and DraftKings have reacquainted an old love, partnering for the Season XVI WPT European Championship in the Spielbank Casino, Berlin.
Try going it alone, see where it takes you.
Building strong partnerships, be it in life or business, is like a dose of smelling salts when it comes to the obviousness of the benefits that accrue, and the World Poker Tour (WPT) have their eyes wide open Clockwork Orange style.
Last week, the WPT walked down the street holding the hand of 888Poker. The second most massive online poker room this side of the old pumpkin that lies to the left of me became the online poker room tributary of choice for the WPTDeepStacks brand.
This week, it’s the turn of DraftKings.
The Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) powerhouse will be the primary sponsor at the Season XVI WPT European Championships at the Spielbank Casino in Berlin, Jan 10-15.
The event that will be in direct competition with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in terms of live grinding footfall is the WPT’s attempts at reigniting a European adventure that failed to find a fanned flame in the shadow of the European Poker Tour (EPT) brand of a few years ago.
The event offers $1.6m in guaranteed prize money, including $500,000 reserved for the $1,500 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Main Event, and $1m set aside for the $3,300 buy-in Main Event.
With 888Poker taking care of the WPTDeepStacks event, DraftKings will lay a few sticks of dynamite underneath the Main Event. The DFS Kings of the World will host eight WPT Main Event qualifiers via their NFL and NBA games and will ensure there is a substantial DraftKings presence on the ground in Berlin throughout the event.
DraftKings offer a service in Germany, Austria, Ireland and the UK.
Reacquainting an Old Love
It’s not the first time that DraftKings and the WPT have been close enough to count armpit hairs. The pair first dated in 2013, with DraftKings becoming the WPT’s Official DFS Partner, but the relationship eventually petered out as the DFS business ran into its much-publicised spats with regulators.
DraftKings also had a strong bond with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) when in 2014 the pair signed a two year deal that saw the erection of a DFS Lounge at the Rio and a $1,500 buy-in DraftKings 50/50 event where half of the field ended up in the money (myself included).
The relationship ended prematurely after Nevada Gaming regulators forced DraftKings to exit their market because they didn’t hold a sports betting license. But to show what’s possible when DFS and poker meet, Max Steinberg, qualified for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event via a small buy-in DraftKings qualifier, and finished fourth for $2.6m.
The Plan of Attack
The WPT European Championship schedule is readable right here.
Interestingly, the WPT is going down the PokerStars/partypoker route of offering a High Roller menu with a Six-Handed €10,300 buy-in High Roller Mon Jan 8, and a €15,300 High Roller Progressive Bounty, the following day.
The €1,500 WPT DeepStacks Main Event runs Jan 5-8 and is the final event of the season culminating in the award of the Player of the Year. The €3,300 €1m GTD Main Event has two-starting flights and unlimited re-entry for the first nine levels.
Qualifying for the event via DraftKings begins Sun, Nov 12.
It’s the first time the WPT will televise a European based event since Season XII. That year, the WPT held four events across the European continent, but those numbers dwindled in the ensuing years.
It will be interesting to see if the WPT will increase their European presence beyond Berlin, especially now the partypoker MILLIONS brand and the PokerStars Championship are currently embroiled in hand for hand combat.