The World Series of Poker (WSOP) starts in less than four weeks. That’s this month. But before the main course arrives, Series officials would like to give poker fans a bit of an appetizer. On Tuesday, it was announced that the WSOP would dip its toes into international waters for a second time, creating a new World Series in the Asia-Pacific region.
The World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) will launch next year at Australia’s famous Crown Melbourne casino. It will feature five bracelet events and will run April 4th through April 15th. Poker players likely know Crown Melbourne as the host of the extremely popular Aussie Millions, which takes place every January. It is also the poker home of 2006 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem, a Melbourne local.
“It’s thrilling to think the World Series of Poker is coming to Australian soil,” Hachem said in a WSOP press release Tuesday. “I know first-hand what a life-changing moment winning the WSOP gold bracelet was and how it served as a catalyst for the growth of poker in Australia and Asia. It will be a dream come true to host a worldwide poker event such as this at Crown. I can’t wait.”
Hachem has never won a tournament in his home casino, but he has had success there. Most recently, he placed 3rd in the $100,000 Challenge at the 2012 Aussie Millions, earning AUD$330,000.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart explained the thinking behind the bold, new venture:
“Our goal is to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships. With WSOP Las Vegas growing annually and WSOP Europe poised for long-term success after five years, the time is right to turn our attention to the dynamic poker scene in Asia and Australia. Given Crown’s success with the ‘Aussie Millions Poker Championship’, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Crown to establish the Asia-Pacific’s definitive poker festival.”
While Stewart does mention a “grand slam” of poker, there are no plans for a fourth Series on the horizon. In addition to the traditional WSOP, WSOP Europe, and now WSOP APAC, there is also the lesser-known WSOP Africa, but it is on the WSOP Circuit and does not award gold bracelets for its events. Australia will become the fourth country in which WSOP bracelets can be won, joining the United States, England (home to WSOP Europe 2007-2010), and France (WSOP Europe 2011).
“This exciting partnership brings together two industry leaders, and two strong brands, to create a premier poker event in this region,” said Crown Melbourne’s Chief Executive Officer, Greg Hawkins. “Our agreement firmly aligns with our objective of attracting the very best local and international players, all vying for a coveted WSOP bracelet. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the Aussie Millions and look forward to featuring WSOP Asia Pacific on our poker calendar in April 2013.”
The five events have yet to be announced, but if WSOP APAC is patterned at all after WSOP Europe, there will almost certainly be a $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, as well as possibly a lower buy-in (~$1,000) No-Limit Hold’em event, a Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event, and some sort of Pot-Limit Omaha event, maybe in the $5,000 range.