The World Poker Tour is getting in the NFT game. The company announced a new partnership this week with Theta Labs to launch the world’s first real-time NFT marketplace.
For the uninitiated, NFT stands for non-fungible token. These are pieces of digital art that have become extremely popular lately in the sports cards industry.
The tour’s NFTs are like digital collector cards and will be released in packs for poker fans. Users can purchase their favorite moments from all 18 seasons from the tour.
For example, a user would be able to purchase the NFT of Mike Sexton’s winning moment from WPT Montreal. He won the event in 2016 for $317,896.
“Our exclusive NFT launch with Theta Network is one of our biggest digital initiatives to date and for the first time ever we’re combining our global reach of live televised poker with an NFT marketplace, giving our fans an interactive, real-time opportunity to collect a piece of the WPT poker action,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in news release.
“We’re thrilled to bring some of our top poker pros, players, and celebrities to the NFT world, featuring rare and legendary WPT packs in weekly drops and running exclusive one of a kind auctions for super rare poker moments.”
WPT television premier and NFT opportunities
The NFT launch comes in conjunction with the premier of Season XVIII of the WPT television show. The Theta Network WPT Cash game runs April 18, 25, May 2, and 9 on Bally Sports Networks nationwide.
Bally is the new name for the Fox Sports regional networks, rebranded with the sponsorship of the growing casino gaming corporation. Each year, WPT reaches 140 million viewers around the world on multiple platforms and connected devices.
As part of the partnership, the two companies will offer viewers unique moments via NFT. Each week during the episode, in-show advertisements and promotional segments will direct viewers to the NFT marketplace.
Poker fans can then purchase exclusive WPT packs for a limited time and participate in the auction for a unique poker moment. For launch, WPT is paying tribute to Sexton, who passed away in September.
Since the tour’s inception, Sexton had served as the face of the WPT as lead anchor and commentator along with Vince Van Patten. He also served as chairman of partypoker and was one of the online poker site’s founders.
“Mike Sexton: The Legend Hand” will be one of the first items auctioned. Other rare, themed poker packs will be dropped as well and signup and pre-registration is now open.
How does Theta work?
An NFT is a unit of data on a digital ledger, known as blockchain technology. Each NFT represents a unique digital item, like a collector received a one-of-a-kind sports card.
This means they are exclusive and not interchangeable. NFT technology has revived the sports card industry recently with collectors paying millions of dollars for unique moments.
Theta is a leading decentralized video delivery network making use of blockchain technology. Theta and the WPT are now bringing the NFT sports card concept to poker
“We’re excited to launch the next-generation NFT marketplace with WPT, a unique opportunity to bring digital collectibles synchronized to live TV and cable broadcast to an audience of millions worldwide,” Theta Labs co-founder and CEO Mitch Liu said.
The company’s native blockchain powers the ThetaDrop NFT marketplace. Theta notes that this significantly differentiates from other NFT platforms as it was “purposefully built for media and entertainment.”
In the future, Theta expects its distributed network to reach more than 30,000 community-run edge nodes. This will support decentralized NFT storage, meaning users can truly take custody of their NFTs without a centralized platform.
The company also plans cross-chain bridge between Theta Network, Ethereum, and others. This will enable seamless NFT transfer and transactions across these networks.
“ThetaDrop maximizes earnings to brand partners and creators by bringing the interactivity, real-time engagement and personality possible only through a livestream when doing NFT drops and auctions,” Liu said.
“Theta’s proof-of-stake native blockchain means creators can be assured that minting and transacting NFTs are 100 percent eco-friendly, fast, and inexpensive.”
WPT also growing online presence
Along with the television premier and NFT offerings, the WPT continues to expand its online poker partnerships. The WPTDeepStacks London Online runs at 888poker April 18-26 with a guarantee of more than $2 million.
The tour also continues running events with partypoker. The site has planned the WPT Online Series for May and a WPTDeepStacks series for July. The company also continues to focus on its sweepstakes poker ClubWPT.
In recent months, live tournament events have also returned to the schedule. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open runs later this month in Florida. Three remaining final tables from 2020 will also be played in Las Vegas at the PokerGO Studio in May.