Hundreds of eager players gathered in a luxurious Tokyo hotel this month to participate in a three-day tournament hosted by the World Poker Tour, signaling the potential for a bright future for table games within the Japanese market.
Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, sat down with Asia Gaming Brief to explain the background to the event.
He noted that the World Poker Tour launched in 2002, being the first organization to effectively utilize television to entertain spectators of the game. Broadcast on television in the United States, and streamed over the internet, poker was commercialized and popularized more than ever before.
“Poker is about meeting new people; it’s a global game, so anyone can sit down at the table. Everybody is equal at a poker table,” he observed.
In Japan, where gambling is illegal, adjustments are necessary to emphasize the social aspects of poker playing. “We won’t be doing high-stakes gaming that we would do at our venues in Las Vegas, for example,” he noted.
Pliska does, however, see synergies with the Japan IRs once they open in the mid-2020s, highlighting the attractions of the casino environment as well as the other entertainment functions of IRs.
He concludes, “This is just going to be a wonderful place for gaming and the gaming experience.”