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Earlier this year, one of the biggest global brands World Poker Tour® (WPT) announced that it is expanding to Asia-Pacific region with the announcement of the first-ever WPT India and the WPT India Player of the Year award.
WPT was founded in 2002 and since then it has evolved to become one of the most prestigious brands in the poker world.
The new series is certainly taking the collaboration between WPT and Adda52 to the next level. The two brands had signed a multi-year brand licensing agreement in April 2016.
WPT India is set to make its debut between November 7-13 and headlining the series will be the ₹55,000 Main Event. The series will be hosted at the Adda52 Live poker room onboard the biggest casino of India i.e. Deltin Royale in Goa.
WPT events are meant to be accessible, yet still lucrative enough to draw the top minds of the industry. And now for the first time, the world’s largest democracy which can also be recognized as one of the most potential markets of poker will witness the extravaganza.
WPT has also announced the first-ever WPT India Player of the Year (POY) Award. The POY leaderboard points will be based on standings from Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT) July, DPT September, WPT India and DPT events in 2018 scheduled prior to the season ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
The top finisher of the WPT India Player of the Year race will bank a $5,000 buy-in credit for WPT events and designated Deltin events during Season XVII of WPT. Leaderboard scoring will be done on basis of finishing position, buy-in amount and number of entries in the event.
|Date||Event #||Time||Tournament Name||Format||Buy-in (₹)
|November 7||1||6 PM||20K Kickoff NLH||Freezeout||₹20,000
|November 8||2||6 PM||Superstack NLH (2-day event)||1Re-Entry||₹30,000
|November 9||3||5 PM||High Roller (2-day event)||Freezeout||₹1,00,000|
|November 10||4||5 PM||WPT India Main Event DAY 1A||Re-entry DAY lB onh||₹55,000
|November 11||4||5 PM||WPT India Main Event DAY 1B||₹55,000|
|5||10 PM||SHIP IT NLH||Unlimited Re-EntrY||₹7,000
|November 12||4||3 PM||WPT India Main Event DAY 2|
|6||3 PM||PLO||2 Re-entries max||₹20,000|
|7||7:30 PM||Bounty NLH||Freezeout||₹25,000|
|November 13||4||4 PM||WPT India Main Event Final Table||₹|
|8||5 PM||Deep Turbo NLH||Freezeout||₹20,000|
We spoke with WPT Live Events Specialist Danny McDonagh who shared the company’s broader plans for the Asia-Pacific region, his plans to take the Deltin Royale staff’s professionalism to international standards, expectation on turnouts and how the series can be one of the biggest the country has ever seen along with much more. Here are the excerpts.
Hi Danny, thank you for speaking with us. Please tell us about your role as a Live Event Specialist for Asia Pacific region for WPT.
My pleasure, I’m always happy to sit down with the great team at PokerGuru. In the most general sense, my role with the World Poker Tour is to expand the WPT to new countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The WPT has announced new events in India and Japan and we are very excited to break into these new regions. In my role, I look forward to building on this expansion into 2018.
In some cases, my role is about the event setup ahead of the venue running the event. However, in other cases, such as with India and Japan, I will take an active part as tournament director, which I am looking forward to.
You practically went missing after your last position at PokerStars. Tell us about the break.
It was great to go “missing” and the break was varied with lots of time with my mum back in Australia, an English-teaching stint in Cambodia for three months, and some travel, which included a two-month trip to Las Vegas to run a marathon and play some limit hold’em cash games. It was while in Vegas that, by chance, I was introduced to the WPT role and started up early this year.
Please tell us about the kind of events planned and what we can expect to see at the upcoming WPT India event.
November is going to be a busy period for the WPT, with events in both Goa, aboard the Deltin Royale, and Tokyo with our partnership with Japan Poker Union. I will also be at the upcoming Deltin Poker Tournament from September 14-18, sponsored by Adda52.com.
After viewing two DPT events in February and April of this year, I take my hat off to Anuj Gupta, CEO and Founder of Adda52.com, and Manish Adnani, Business Head of Poker for Delta Corp. What they have achieved in revitalising tournament poker in Goa, and it’s great to see bigger and better poker events (and casino ships) happening.
WPT is very excited to be coming to India for the first time. Personally, my challenge at the upcoming DPT events is to help lift the professionalism of the Deltin Royale poker staff to international standards and to also increase local player awareness of poker tournament rules and etiquette. This way, come November, international players will be impressed.
The final schedule of cash poker tournaments for WPT India has just been set. As you can see, most of the scheduled WPT India events will be accessible to Indian poker players with five varied side events priced from ₹20,000 to ₹30,000, plus a fun ₹7,000 Ship It that plays like the Flipout format in Macau.
The Main Event has been priced at ₹55,000, which is not too much above the DPT’s Main Event pricing of ₹35,000 and should attract very good local numbers. The buy-in is high enough to be attractive to overseas players, though, so it fits the best of both worlds. And finally, the High Roller will be ₹100,000 to enter, which will have solid patronage by the locals while also serving as an attraction for overseas players.
Side events will be a mix of freezeout and re-entry, and for the Main Event, anyone busting Day 1a can enter again on Day 1b – or if they make it through Day 1a with an unsatisfactory stack, they can elect to also play Day 1b.
There will be a good selection of satellites available for both the Main Event and High Roller, both conventional satellites and one-hand “Ship It” satellites giving all players a chance to qualify for the two premier events.
You seem confident on 400+ entries for the Main Event which if reached would make this the Biggest Event in India so far. What are your predictions on turnouts?
The main reason for my belief of 400-plus entries in the Main Event comes down to the great work that Adda52.com and Deltin have achieved with DPT, as clearly evidenced by the recent event that drew 300 unique players last month.
It is that work by Adda52.com and Deltin that is coupled with India’s first truly international event in a number of years that will be great motivation for Indian poker players to attend, plus enticing international players to venture to Goa.
Furthermore, there is extra incentive with both the WPT Asia-Pacific Player of the Year and WPT India Player of the Year competitions now running. The WPT Asia-Pacific champion will receive a $15,000 WPT Season XVII package that can be used for WPT Main Tour, WPTDS and/or WPT500 event buy-ins in the Asia-Pacific region. Complimentary accommodation and ground transportation for the chosen events will also be provided.With very few qualifying events to date, it is very likely the best performing player at WPT India will take the lead in this award.
The WPT India POY champion (jointly sponsored by Adda52.com) will receive $5,000 in buy-ins to DPT and WPT Asia-Pacific events. Qualifying events are WPT India plus DPT events from July 2017 until the completion of the WPT season, ending with the WPT Tournament of Champions around late March 2018.
For local and international players venturing to Goa for the first time, November is a great time of year weather wise and Goa has a lot to offer visitors while not playing poker on aboard the Deltin Royale.
How many international players are you expecting at the series?
Difficult to predict at this stage, however, the aim is to attract 50-plus internationals for the first event. And the intention is that Adda52.com and WPT, with the fabulous support of Delta Corp, put on a great tournament so these players can experience a unique event on the Deltin Royale and the fabulous tourist destination of Goa, enabling international numbers to build in subsequent years.
Please Note: The timings of PLO event and Bounty NLH event have been changed on September 1.
Thank you for talking to us Danny and good luck for the series!