WPT heading to Venice, Marrakech


The World Poker Tour is growing again and taking poker players to Venice and Marrakech in upcoming months.

Chili Poker and WPT Enterprises announced they are teaming up to take the WPT to Marrakech, and the WPT is partnering with bwin Poker to bring an event to Venice this year too.

World Poker Tour episodes have broadcast in over 165 countries and territories around the globe, although its brick-and-mortar tournaments have primarily been offered in North America.

The tour had previously had some overseas events, but in the last year, it cut back its tour. The WPT clarified that it reduced the schedule in response to industry developments and player feedback.

"There was simply too much going on and we wanted to give players more opportunity to participate in satellites and other events, [and to] drive increased field sizes [and] richer prize pools (so quality vs. quantity)," said Lyndsay LaGree, WPT Enterprises public relations senior manager. "It has proven to be a very positive move!"

Now the WPT is taking steps to expand its global footprint and increase its tournament offerings for players overseas through strategic partnerships in Europe and surrounding countries.

First the WPT made a deal with Chili Poker to bring the WPT to the Casino de Marrakech in Morocco in October.

"We're very glad to be partnering with our friends at Chili Poker - a poker site that is steadily growing in importance on the international scene - to offer WPT tournament in Morocco," said Steve Lipscomb, WPT founder, president and CEO.

"Our goal is to bring value to our partners and WPTE shareholders as we expand our global footprint."

The agreement between Chili Poker and the WPT is a three-year deal that will include an annual televised broadcast around the WPT Marrakech events.

Chili Poker and other poker rooms on the iPoker Network are also authorized to host online qualifiers to send players to the WPT Marrakech. Chili Poker will start its qualifiers April 9.

Players who are looking for a poker adventure a little sooner can also now look forward to a WPT stop in Venice, Italy in May.

The WPT has partnered with bwin Poker to bring the tour to Venice May 6-10 at the Casino di Venezia. It will be filmed for broadcast via Web TV on bwin.com.

The main event will feature a €4,400 buy-in, with the winner receiving the top cash prize as well as a WPT Venice bracelet and a $25,000 seat in the 2010 WPT Championship.

"We're thrilled to launch our first ever brick-and-mortar WPT tournament offering in Italy," Lipscomb said.

"bwin is a strong partner with the right market position in the region. We look forward to working with them to bring this event and the WPT brand to poker players in Italy and Europe."

LaGree echoed Lipscomb, saying that poker sites operating legally in Europe and beyond are well-positioned to make these events successful.

"WPT is obviously a strong brand/partner with expertise in tournament execution and production, while certain sites have key targeted marketing abilities and understanding of the various markets," she said. "These are truly strategic partnerships, and you will likely see this format roll out in other areas."

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