With poker’s popularity exploding across the Asia-Pacific, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), in partnership with Crown Melbourne, has announced reached a multi-year agreement to bring the major poker tournament series to the region commencing in April 2013.
World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) will take place April 4-15, 2013, at Crown Melbourne and feature five WSOP gold bracelet events.
“Our goal is to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said.
“With WSOP Las Vegas growing annually and WSOP Europe poised for long-term success after five years, the time is right to turn our attention to the dynamic poker scene in Asia and Australia. Given Crown’s success with the Aussie Millions Poker Championship, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Crown to establish the Asia-Pacific’s definitive poker festival.”
Crown Melbourne is Australia’s leading integrated entertainment resort attracting approximately 18 million local, interstate and international visitors each year. It is one of the largest entertainment complexes in the world along with the largest poker room outside North America.
The world-class complex also boasts Australia’s best restaurant precinct, international designer brand shopping and award winning hotels – Crown Towers, Crown Promenade and Crown Metropol.
“This exciting partnership brings together two industry leaders, and two strong brands, to create a premier poker event in this region,” Crown Melbourne’s Chief Executive Officer, Greg Hawkins said.
“Our agreement firmly aligns with our objective of attracting the very best local and international players, all vying for a coveted WSOP bracelet. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the Aussie Millions and look forward to featuring WSOP Asia Pacific on our poker calendar in April 2013.”
The agreement marks the first time the WSOP is exporting its prestigious tournament series to Australia, and marks just the second expansion of the 42-year-old brand, after the advent of WSOP Europe in 2007.
To date, WSOP gold bracelets have only been awarded in Las Vegas (1970-2011), London (2007-2010) and France (2011).
Crown’s agreement with the WSOP includes provisions for international television production of the event and is expected to be shown globally on ESPN.
Legions of locals have been swept up in the Australian poker boom that was ignited when Melburnian and Crown ambassador Joe Hachem became the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion, scooping up $7.5 million in prize money for his efforts.
“It’s thrilling to think the World Series of Poker is coming to Australian soil,” Hachem said. “I know first-hand what a life-changing moment winning the WSOP gold bracelet was and how it served as a catalyst for the growth of poker in Australia and Asia. It will be a dream come true to host a worldwide poker event such as this at Crown. I can’t wait.”
Crown’s CEO Greg Hawkins further added, “This initiative will provide Crown with significant exposure in Asia, Europe and America, and forms an integral part of Crown’s global marketing strategy to attract further international visitors to Australia and Crown Melbourne.” The complete schedule and dates will be announced later this year.
Pictured: Crown’s Sean McCreery with CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment Mitch Garber