The concept of a Professional Poker Tour, boasting tournaments filled exclusively with recognisable names, is back on the agenda with a new tour slated to debut in August of 2011. The unnamed poker league was the brain child of popular former World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and he brings to the table several partners with a wide depth of experience in the gambling industry.
Pollack will be joined by Annie Duke who has grown into one of the most widely known poker players among mainstream audiences after appearances on various non-poker programs in the US. Duke has been named the inaugural commissioner of the league, which will also be boosted by the support of Michael Brodsky, David Goldberg and Jeffrey Grosman who ran YouBet.com up until its merger with the Churchill Downs Corporation. The new league will be run by a company known as Federated Sports and Gaming, with the potential for Federal to be used in the new league’s name.
This is not the first time a “Professional League of Poker” has been attempted with the World Poker Tour forming the PPT back in 2004 and 2005. The PPT collapsed after just one season, failing to find the required capital from sponsors and TV to continue running their freeroll style of competition.
The league is yet to release buy-in details for its first season of four events, but it is shaping to look like the schedule will involve players paying a buy-in to the first three events and then qualifying to compete in the freeroll championship event that is rumoured to be offering a $1 million prize pool.
While information about the model that the league intends to use has yet to be revealed, it is pretty clear that television will play a major role in the stability and success of the tour. The last attempt at a made-for-TV professional tour came during the peak of televised poker’s popularity and it was unsuccessful. With a downturn in televised poker recently it is going to take a lot of work and innovation from Pollack, Duke and co., to ensure that the new league can succeed into the future. Despite that point, poker players everywhere would certainly be happy if the new league can induce more outside investment into the game.
The new tour will run all four of its first season events at the Palms Casino and Resort who were announced as strategic partners in the new league’s press release.
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Jeffrey Pollack and Annie Duke will spearhead the new professional poker league
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