Ray Maker/ Las Vegas Sun A stack of$50,000 tournament chips wait for a poker gamer prior to the start of the 2017 World of Series of Poker Centerpiece at the Rio Convention Center on Saturday, July 8, 2017.
The event’s executive director happily states it started as a one-table competition in downtown with just seven players. Standing inside the Brasilia ballroom, which was embellished with floor-to-ceiling posters of the past 6 Centerpiece champs, Stewart revealed a 10-year deal with Tencent Limited Holding to bring the WSOP brand name to Asia. That, he enhances, brings the currently tremendously popular WSOP to another level.
“Luckily, they actually like poker,” he joked about Tencent, a tech company which is considered China’s most valuable corporation and offers mobile video games among other services.
Saturday, naturally, had other significance. It was arguably the most crucial day of the WSOP calendar: the start of the Main Event. One of the 5,000 approximately players who pony up the $10,000 entry charge on the first of three beginning days of this year’s competition, going through Monday, could be poker’s next millionaire star.
That truth wasn’t lost on Stewart.
The poker boom, began more than 10 years back when amateur Chris Moneymaker outdueled many of the video games notables for the championship, is accountable for producing a brand-new star each summer at the Rio. Who’s next?
“I call our occasion the Las Vegas variation of the American dream,” Stewart said. “You put in a little work, you have a little luck and amazing things can happen to you, and happen in an immediate.”
Stewart took a seat with the Sun minutes after the Main Event started. Here are some highlights of the conversation, which were edited for clarity.
As a local, it touched house when you were talking about the history of WSOP. I keep in mind when you could increase and down Fremont Street, and of course you men had the Centerpiece one year outside, right?.
TS: A lot of people keep in mind when Stu Ungar won that event exterior (in 1997). That was insane.
There are many people who come to play the Centerpiece with that dream of being the next champ. How remarkable is knowing some wait all year for their chance at this one competition?
TS: It is actually special to see the feelings and the believers. That is what we do all year around is building to this day, where all the potential Moneymakers and prospective champions appear.
Poker rooms all throughout town have struggled; many have actually closed. How were you guys able to make it through and continue with the stable growth?
TS: I have to be honest. I want I might tell you. I wish I understood what exactly what the secret sauce is. There is one World Series of Poker and the gamers love this brand so much. If you planning to any other indication, whether that be the action live poker rooms around the city or country, whether that be other semi-prestigious live competitions, everybody would anticipate us to be trending down. However this will be our fifth consecutive year of all-time presence record. The centerpiece has shown to be Teflon.
I have actually enjoyed the final table the past few years on ESPN. Seeing the cheering sections and enjoyment advises me of a college-basketball small conference tournament game with trainees storming the court. How has that environment contributed to the growth?
TS: That would be (unusual) years ago to believe there would be cheering and disruption around the poker table. But there are a big group of individuals who truly like it. It is a big part of our differentiation in the television protection. We are delighted about that. Much of our success is because we can spread out the hope around the globe that people still can get fortunate in Las Vegas.
I overheard you reciting some numbers– players from 100 countries, 2,000 staff members, 500 tables, ect. That’s a lot to manage. Where do you start?
TS: For the city, this has ended up being the most crucial bettors’ convention. We have a great deal of other attractions and events, however as far as certified gamblers, we are generating 10s of countless folks to the city which are creating numerous thousands of room nights. We are truly lifting the city in the summer. It is an excellent obligation and we feel an immense amount of pride.
The reality you cannot go play online like you could have throughout the boom. Have you guys seen that type of taper off a little bit the impacts of it?
TS: It is tough to tell. The gut reaction would be, naturally it has impact because there were so a lot more individuals able to bet more moderate stakes via the web. Poker is a numbers game, so the more people you have playing, the better. However, if you really look at event statistics, you would see no impact. We have not dropped off in Main Event at all and all the other occasions are growing. It is like the demand to play poker just manifests itself here in Las Vegas. They get it all in during the summer season time.
China is huge for you guys. Game-changer. More than when you went to Europe?
TS: It’s definitely big. (Tencent) is the most powerful internet business on the planet. Practically immediately the World Series of Poker become appropriate across Asia, and an entire brand-new market will hopefully purchase into the exact same imagine the World Series of Poker and we see a Chinese champ in the not-so-distant future.
Ray Maker can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21