July 10 2014, by Steve Ruddock
Celebrities Overrun the WSOP; Present Terrific Marketing Opportunity
Early on at the 2014 World Series of Poker thespian/poker enthusiast James Woods was everywhere. Another poker aficionado, Gabe Kaplan, showed up for the Big One for One Drop tournament.
This is common at the six-week long WSOP, where the latest actors and athletes who have taken up the game are often sighted throughout the series. But what really brings out the celebs is the Main Event, and this year they were everywhere.
Paul Pierce, Earl Barron, Gerard Pique, Richard Seymour, Kevin Pollack, Ray Romano, James Woods, Justin Henry, Aaron Paul (who didn’t playing but was in the crowd rooting on a friend), and a couple of guys with UFC roots, Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer, and fighter Martin Kampmann to name just some of the celebs at the Rio.
But it’s not just that these celebs are in Vegas and taking a flyer on the $10,000 buy-in tournament, most of them are serious about their poker. Paul Pierce even tweeted out (to over 3 million followers) to check out the updates on pokernews.com.
Make sure y'all keep up me u can go to http://t.co/0d833BT6su and follow the action 1 hr left n day one
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 8, 2014
Other ways to market the WSOP and poker
Poker needs to promote these types of celebrity players. We can not only use athletes like Gerard Pique and Paul Pierce, but also showcase the other great moments and feel good stories that occurred away from the tables at the 2014 WSOP:
- Chad Brown’s honorary bracelet which he had the chance to wear shortly before his tragic passing
- The beautiful story of two friends (Vanessa Pacella and Nicole Rowe) with a bond forged by poker captured by PokerStars Brad Willis
- The poker world coming together to make one reporter’s WSOP dream come true
- Howard “Tahoe” Andrew playing in his 41st consecutive WSOP Main Event
As well as the philanthropic contributions the poker community makes:
- Over $5 million donated to One Drop charity
- Phillip Gruissem’s and Igor Kurganov’s own philanthropic efforts
And of course poker has its own celebrities, and we need to market these superstar players to the fullest:
- Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu’s bracelet prop bet
- Phil Ivey winning WSOP bracelet #10
- Daniel Negreanu with two runner-up finishes and five Top 10’s, and once again challenging for the POY title
- Daniel Negreanu becoming the all-time money leader according to the Hendon Mob
- Vanessa Selbst winning her 3rd World Series of poker bracelet, the most ever by a woman (tied with Nani Dollison and Barbara Enright) and the only female player with three “Open-Event” bracelets
Now, if we could just get a woman at the final table of the Main Event…
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