Poker players featured in KFC commercial

Paul Wasicka
Paul Wasicka and KFC are getting together for some country-fried poker action.

Apparently great flavors aren't the only things that come together at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

ESPN recently aired a commercial for KFC that prominently featured well-known professional poker players Paul Wasicka, Gavin Smith and David Williams.

Poker Royalty, which represents all three players, called the commercial a breakthrough for the poker industry.

"This is a great step forward for Gavin, Paul, David and poker in general," said Brian Balsbaugh, president of Poker Royalty. "Having KFC, the leading chicken chain in the world, embracing poker signals that the poker industry is quickly emerging as a viable outlet for sponsors to achieve their marketing and advertising goals."

The advertisement, which debuted during the Hold'em or Fold'em section of the ESPN broadcast of the Main Event, focused on Smith, Wasicka and Williams's ability to read their opponents' hands while munching on their favorite KFC dish.

Wasicka, the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Champion, mentioned that working with the chicken giant was a positive step for his career.

"I am very happy to be affiliated with KFC," he said. "This new relationship with KFC presents me with a fantastic opportunity to reach a broader base of fans. It was an honor to be asked to work with them."

Although financial terms were not disclosed it is rumored the commercial shoot took place at the Rio during this year's WSOP.

This isn't the first time KFC has invested in the poker world. In 2006 the company was one of the sponsors for Poker SuperStars III and an advertisement for one of their Snacker sandwiches appeared on the casino wall throughout the series.

KFC is based in Louisville, Ky., and is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain. Founded on a recipe that Colonel Harland Sanders created over 50 years ago, the chain has ballooned to 11,000 outlets in more than 80 countries. KFC is part of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM.), which is the world's largest restaurant conglomerate with over 32,000 Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W and Long John Silver restaurants.

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