In a press conference that took place in Shanghai on Tuesday this week, China-based Alibaba Sports Group (AliSports) has announced a new poker tour ‘International Poker Tour (IPT)’, which will soon take place in the Asia, North America and Europe and have more than $7M in the prize money.
After the industry giants Ourgame and Tencent Poker, Alibaba will be the newest entrant into the world of live poker tournaments, starting its adventure with International Poker Tour (IPT), which promises to have more than $7 million in prize money and about $200,000 as the first place prize for the winner. Although the figures have been released, the exact date for the upcoming new poker tour is still awaited.
According to reports from DZPK.com, the idea behind this new poker tour is to promote poker with fair and open sporting spirit. “The International Poker Tour aims to promote and develop a healthy poker game with a healthy, competitive standard, and a fair, open sporting spirit,” DZPK reported.
This new announcement by Alisports came as a well-thought decision after considering the ongoing growth of poker in China. Despite recent setbacks to the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Nanjing Millions in 2014 and the recent incident with the Asia Poker League (APL) in Shanghai last month, the players are still joining in the poker industry and can change the poker scene not only in the Asia but also worldwide.
Another encouraging factor that led Alibaba Sports Group to announce International Poker Tour is the fact that major Chinese conglomerates are presenting poker as a game of skill and sport like chess and other mind games. This can bring a big change in poker industry and further trigger its growth in years to come. Alisports always visioned to engage consumers into sports via internet and the IPT, which will be integrating other mind-sports like chess and bridge, is expected to turn out to be a good initiative of bringing competitors from other mind games into poker. The IPT will partner and coordinate with Chinese local poker clubs to allow players to qualify for the new tournament.
Despite recent bumps to the poker Industry, China is seen as the future hub of poker in years to come. Tournaments in Macau, which have been drawing huge numbers in recent years, are the clear proof that there is a bigger boom awaiting if the game can take a strong foothold in the Chinese market.
Showing his excitement about the newly-announced IPT, Global Poker League founder & CEO Alex Dreyfus said, “Another step towards China embracing the game of poker as a skill game and a sport,” he said via Facebook. “You now have the two largest tech companies in China, Tencent and Alibaba, promoting the game of poker.”