The World Poker Tour is officially putting the word “World” in their name after the announcement on Thursday that the 11 year-old tournament series will be making its first stop in mainland China in Decmeber 2012. The tournament –dubbed the WPT National China tournament– will take place at the MGM Grand Sanya Resort in Sanya, Hainan Island, China from December 14th through the 17th, 2012.
The tournament will be capped at 500 entrants, with the help of the Beijing Ourgame Ltd Corporation, the largest play-money and board game platform in China. According to Bejiing Ourgame Ltd CEO Frank Ng, “Texas hold’em is blooming in China and a total of more than 60,000 Chinese players will be competing in this tournament for the 500 final-round seats. The level of competition, the size of the prize pool, and the excitement the tournament will generate will be unprecedented. This will be a watershed event in China poker history and, hopefully, the first of many events to come.”
“WPT National China Tournament Sanya demonstrates the exploding popularity of WPT National and Regional events, which provide players around the world with the opportunity to compete in affordable, world-class poker tournaments,” said WPT CEO Steve Heller. Heller added, “We are very excited about the potential of this tournament as there are thousands of players in China who aren’t able to play in large tournaments such as this without having to deal with the expense and hassle of traveling out of the country. WPT National China Tournament Sanya is filling a void in the Chinese poker community, and we hope this will be the first of many similar events World Poker Tour will hold in China in coming seasons.”
This could be the first step in truly opening the Asian market up to online poker rooms and poker tours. The Asian market is considered the biggest prize in the industry at the moment with billions of potential players in the region, and with the announcement of a WPT National Series event in China the World Poker Tour seems to have struck the first iron.
The World Poker Tour already has numerous stops in the United States and Europe, as well as stops in South Africa, Canada, and Morocco. Now with the China stop the WPT is truly the first worldwide Poker Tour.
On the flipside, PokerStars runs several independent poker tours that if combined would cover virtually the entire globe as the site sponsors the Latin American Poker Tour, UK Ireland Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
For more information on the WPT China tournament stop you can visit the www.worldpokertour.com website.
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