World Poker Tour Makes History in South Korea as Tournaments Set the Stage in Asia

May 20, 2023
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Nenad Nikolic

The World Poker Tour (WPT) is gearing up to make its way to South Korea in July, bringing a lineup of multi-million-dollar events, including a significant Alpha8 One Drop tournament. As part of its WPT Global endeavors, the WPT partnered with the One Drop Foundation in February and announced its inaugural high-stakes charity event at the Wynn Summer Classic. Following this successful collaboration, a two-day WPT One Drop event is now scheduled at Jeju Shinhwa World in South Korea, along with other exciting tournaments from July 15 to 24. Among them are a $12,735 high roller competition and a $2,550 main event featuring a guaranteed prize pool of $1.5 million.

The WPT's venture into South Korea signifies a significant move towards tapping into the emerging Asian market. While Asia has shown promise as a growing market, its progress has been hindered by fragmented gambling laws and the dominance of other regions, particularly North America. Nevertheless, the decision to host an Alpha8 One Drop event at WPT Korea demonstrates the organization's intention to establish Asia as a prominent destination for high-profile poker tournaments.

The inaugural collaboration between Guy Laliberte and the WSOP featured a $1 million buy-in event. The 2012 WSOP schedule included the Big One for One Drop, which attracted 48 players. Antonio Esfandiari emerged victorious, defeating Sam Trickett in a heads-up battle.

The tradition of high-stakes One Drop tournaments continued for six years at the WSOP, with each event raising funds for the One Drop Foundation. The collaboration between WSOP and One Drop ended in 2019. After the disruptions caused by COVID-19, a new partnership was formed with WPT Global, signaling a new era. Asia will now host its first-ever One Drop poker tournament at WPT Korea.

The innovations introduced at WPT Korea go beyond introducing the inaugural One Drop event in Asia. The schedule for WPT Korea also includes a Milestone qualifier, a satellite tournament with a guaranteed five-seat format that debuted at the 2022 WPT World Championship.

In addition, the WPT Korea main event and high roller tournaments will be live-streamed for free on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Furthermore, a portion of each One Drop tournament buy-in will be donated to charity. Over the past two years, the WPT has made substantial efforts, through its WPT Global initiative, to establish itself as a genuinely global poker tour, and in July, it will leave its mark on the Asian poker scene, making history in the process.

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