World Series of Poker Partners with UMG
The worlds of poker and esports took a step closer this month when it was announced that the competitive gaming giant, UMG, would be forming a partnership with World Series of Poker. This means that there will be video game stage added to the upcoming WSOP poker tournaments in May 2018 and it is set to truly introduce esports in Las Vegas.
What will we see on the UMG esports stage?
The World Series of Poker tournament takes place on 29 May 2018 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Whilst this would usually only be of interest for fans of online poker, the new partnership between WSOP and UMG will see a brand new competitive gaming area being added.
The esports section will be found within the main competition poker room, and it will allow mobile esports fans to follow the action in real time on a variety of video games. UMG are planning to release more news about the selected gaming titles closer to the start of the tournament. But at the moment, it looks like you can enjoy watching players competing on games like FIFA, Hearthstone and Fortnite.
This is a fairly unusual selection of games considering that titles like Counter Strike Global Offensive, League of Legends and even Dota 2 are considered to be the classic esports options. But UMG have stated that they want to focus on Xbox and PlayStation games, and so we expect more titles to be added by UMG soon.
How can you watch this poker and esports spectacular?
A big reason why World Series of Poker became such a global sensation was the fact that it allowed an easy way for fans to follow the gameplay in real time. This is something that UMG have taken to heart as they plan to release a UMG app that allows fans to register and join a tournament at any time.
The UMG app will be made available for Android and iOS devices, and it will also feature a full schedule of poker and esports events at this hugely promising tournament. So that whether you want to join in on a Premier League game of FIFA, or just watch the latest action on a Fortnite showdown, you can do it all from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet.
How will live esports work with World Series of Poker?
There might be a few card gaming fans who will be sceptical about how esports and poker will coexist in the same space. However, poker and esports have had a long history together, and it’s easy to see how both activities could benefit from this exciting new venture from UMG and WSOP.
Both are gaming options that are fun to play, and are also increasingly popular to watch thanks to the arrival of streaming technologies. In addition to this, we have seen how the League of Legends coach, Luis Sevilla Petit, was a poker pro before joining the Fnatic team, and the poker star, Fedor Holz, is a key investor in the esports organisation, Team EnvyUs.
In addition to this, collectible card game titles like Hearthstone bear more than passing resemblance to classic card games like poker, and we’ve already seen how many Hearthstone stars like Adrian Koy have made the successful transition from poker to esports.
How UMG took competitive video gameplay to the next level
Whilst there are obvious similarities between poker and esports, the news that UMG would be partnering up with WSOP still managed to take many people by surprise. UMG have been successfully organising top-level esports tournaments for years, and their website manages to clock up a respectable 1.9 million monthly users.
Despite the success of UMG’s tournaments, it’s clear that esports has yet to be fully embraced by the mainstream sports world. So the move to tie poker and esports closer together makes perfect sense as the World Series of Poker managed to successfully revamp the classic card game into becoming a global viewing phenomenon.
The World Series of Poker is one of the world’s largest gaming tournaments that managed to attract well over 120,000 entrants last year, so UMG will be hoping that they can harness WSOP’s immense marketing power to help them become the world’s biggest esports franchise. Whilst the World Series of Poker has handed out a staggering $2.6 billion in prize money, it’s still early days for the esports phenomenon. But all of that looks set to change once the new WSOP and UMG esport event kicks off on 29 May 2018.