WPT Global Becomes Third Largest Poker Site in the World | Exclusive Interview with WPT President Alex Scott

WPT Global has become the third-largest poker site in the world, showing consistent growth as it continues to be a leader in the online poker landscape. Both the intrigue and the excitement around WPT Global are palpable, particularly off the heels of its recent 100% rakeback promotion, which featured over $600,000 in prize money.

We sat down with the president of WPT Global, Alex Scott, to dive deeper into the success of the company and what we can expect to see in the near future.

PokerScout Q&A with Alex Scott

What is your proudest accomplishment thus far during your tenure with WPT Global?

It’s a toss-up. If you’re reading this, you might know that PokerScout has now confirmed that we’re the third-largest online poker site in the world. Seeing that on PokerScout for the first time, after we had suspected it for so long, was a really proud moment for me and the team. Of course, we remain ambitious, and I expect you’ll see us in second place before too long, and eventually first!

The other accomplishment I’m very proud of is the launch of Global Spins, our unique take on the jackpot Sit & Go. This was a format I created years ago and brought with me to WPT Global. It has a progressive jackpot, which means that the top prize keeps getting bigger with every game that’s played until the jackpot is hit. It’s easily the best version of the game available anywhere online, with the lowest rake going out of all our competitors. If you’re a fan of the format, you will love Global Spins.

Obviously, you work with WPT, being WPT Global. Does this benefit your business in terms of brand recognition and being able to offer an online poker product that stands out from others, based on having the backing of such a prestigious name?

Yes, absolutely. We’re really proud to be part of the WPT family and to work with the team behind some of the live poker scene’s very best events, like the WPT World Championship.

How does WPT Global live up to a name like the World Poker Tour?

This is something that we take very seriously. I’ve always been a huge fan of the World Poker Tour. In my early days playing poker, I watched and rewatched the show over and over and dreamed of attending the events. Over twenty years later, the WPT has an unblemished reputation and is beloved by players. We have a lot to live up to.

Every new employee at WPT Global reads my introductory message (below), which explains how important it is that we live up to the standards of WPT, a loved and respected brand, and how to do it justice, we must become an online poker site that is the most player-friendly in the world.

WPT Poker Message to Employees
Alex’s Introductory Message to New Employees

The amount of poker expertise on your team is clearly depicted through the quality of WPT Global. Do you find benefits to hiring from other backgrounds, such as Silicon Valley tech workers, scientists, and engineers, for example? Or do you prefer leaning toward a passion for poker?

It depends on the role. Our founders are entrepreneurial, Silicon Valley types, and they bring a culture of agile working and startups to our business, which helps us to work smarter and move quickly. They are also passionate poker players like me, and that knowledge of what it’s like to actually play the game is absolutely crucial.

We’ve hired a mix of skills. Working for our tech supplier, we have AI experts and data scientists who have helped us build the very best platform for Game Integrity and Fairness. The systems that they have built based on modern AI tech have helped us to have incredibly high proactive detection rates for cheating, and also form the foundations of our Ecology Management System, which balances games by limiting the number of highly skilled professionals that can sit at each table (more about this later).

Some roles absolutely require poker experience. The product and promotions teams, for example, couldn’t build compelling offers if they didn’t understand poker. Similarly, how could we offer a good tournament schedule if the poker room managers didn’t ‘get’ poker? Every customer support employee is screened for poker knowledge and competence before they are hired to ensure that they can fully understand any issue or concern from a poker player’s perspective.

What’s your favorite offering that WPT Global features in terms of tournaments, promotions, cash games, etc.?

One of my favorite offerings is the ‘Bump it Up’ promotion for our big Sunday tournaments. We’re investing in the growth of our MTT schedule, so every time one of our Sunday majors hits its guarantee, we increase it by at least 10% for the following week! The guarantees have hit for the last two weeks in a row, and if it keeps going at this pace, we’ll have a weekly $100k in just a few weeks’ time.

Where did the idea to offer 100% rake-free MTTs throughout the month of March come from? Do you have any future plans to offer similarly generous promotions?

It came from a team get-together, from some brainstorming around how we can grow our tournaments as quickly as possible and give something back to the players who have supported us so far.

Throughout this year we have lots more ideas for generous promotions that will make us the very best value place to play on the internet. Just wait until you see what we have planned for April!

Can you give us some insight into future plans for WPT Global that we, as players, can get excited about?

The thing I get asked about the most is when we will enter new countries – regulated markets like the UK. This year, we will start to make real progress on this, beginning with an imminent relaunch in Mexico, followed by other new markets in the coming months.

Besides new markets, we also have plenty of exciting new software features to look forward to this year. Our roadmap is a combination of popular and much-requested features that have been very successful elsewhere, along with some things that will be completely unique to WPT Global. The common theme running through everything is that we’re focusing mainly on our core market of recreational players, so expect to see developments that reinforce WPT Global as the most fun place to play poker.

What are some upcoming tournaments or series that players can expect?

This year, we’ll run at least six tournament series, one each season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), plus at least a couple of others like February’s KO Series. Our goal is to grow each one of these series to be bigger, better, and more exciting than the last!

What are some unique features on WPT Global that aren’t commonly found elsewhere in the online poker world?

Probably the most important, unique feature is our Ecology Management System. This feature, grounded in our AI technology, predicts the win rate of every player within a relatively small sample of hands – essentially, measuring their skill level.

We then use that information to curate the games, just like the host of a private game would. If you were running a private game, you wouldn’t invite only pros – you’d instinctively recognise that the game would only work if there was a sensible balance of pros and casual players. Pros are needed to start the game and keep it running, but the game won’t last without casual players bringing action.

We do the same. At an eight-handed table, we reserve six of the seats for recreational players. A maximum of two seats at the table can be occupied by highly skilled professionals. This makes the game much more fun, beatable, and sustainable, without having to segregate players from each other like some sites have tried in the past – and it allows everybody to achieve a higher win rate than they otherwise would. As a result, the typical win rate of a successful player at WPT Global is five or ten times higher than on competing sites – and this is a very powerful retention tool.

Have you received any interesting player feedback that you’d consider implementing?

One of the reasons I’m out here engaging with the community is because we want to understand what our players think, what they care about most, and where we should focus our efforts to make them as happy as possible.

A great example of this was when we reduced our rake in Global Spins. As previously mentioned, our version of the game has a progressive jackpot, so the top prize is constantly increasing until it’s won. Thanks to player feedback, we were able to optimise the pay table for this game – and now, we offer the lowest rake in the industry, combined with the unique ever-growing jackpot, which makes for the best possible experience.

Cheating has been a huge topic in online poker over the past few years. What does WPT Global have in place to prevent wrongdoing in online poker?

WPT Global has the best anti-cheating tech I’ve seen in my nearly 20 years in the poker business, and it’s because the platform has been built with Game Integrity in mind from the very beginning. The foundations are in big data, machine learning and AI – in fact, our technology supplier was working with AI long before it was fashionable.

Within WPT Global, we have a team of data analysts, poker experts, and former professional players whose sole responsibility is to detect and, more importantly, prevent cheating of all kinds. There are around 50 people in this team working to monitor the alert and reporting system 24/7.

We measure this team’s success a little differently from the other places I’ve worked in the past. Instead of incentivising the team based on how much money they seize, accounts they close, or cheaters they detect – we measure the team based on how successful cheaters are on WPT Global. Can cheaters sustain a positive win rate? If they do win, can they get that illicitly-gained money out of the system? Our goal is for our prevention techniques to be so good that anybody attempting to cheat loses money.

Do you foresee an entry into the US online poker market any time soon? Are you bullish on the future of online poker in the US?

To be honest, I’m very disappointed with how the US online poker market has developed over the past few years. The US is the home of poker – the game is part of America’s cultural fabric. There is such potential in the US market, but nowadays, it’s mainly served by illegal operators.

I think US lawmakers sometimes think that they are protecting their citizens by making online gambling illegal and not regulating it. But the truth is, online gambling is already there – it is inevitable and unavoidable, and without regulation, the void is filled by illegal black market operators. Regulating it in a smart and sensible way is the only real way to protect players.

It’s akin to the music, TV, and movie industry’s piracy problem. It wasn’t solved by laws making piracy illegal. It was solved by the advent of streaming services like Spotify and Netflix that made access to digital music much easier and more convenient for everyone. If online poker has a convenient, legal option, players will flock to it over the awkward illegal choice.

In the near future, there’s limited opportunity in the US market. We will definitely be looking to enter in the future, however, when regulations have improved, and we’re ready to make that leap.

In the meantime, US players can find a home with our friends at Club WPT!