partypoker and World Poker Tour Join the NFT Marketplace

The first two mainstream online poker brands have joined the collectible blockchain bandwagon by launching their own NFT projects.
graphic illustration of digital box representing an NFT with arrows pointing to two circular tokens, one with the world poker tour (WPT) logo and one with the partypoker logo to represent the two brands latest ventures into the world of NFTs
By
February 07, 2022

Similar to the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies throughout the last few years, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) seem to have appeared out of nowhere to generate a ton of buzz.

While the involvement of the poker industry thus far was mainly connected to players among the investors and start-up creators, NFTs have now also reached some of the most well-known brands.

The World Poker Tour (WPT) has teamed up with GAMAVRS, while partypoker launched an NFT project in cooperation with Theta Labs, which also has existing ties with the WPT as well.

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Entain, the parent company of partypoker, launched its new global innovation hub Ennovate. An initial global investment of $136.1 million by the operator is aimed to “develop and showcase disruptive technologies and first consumer products for the sports and entertainment metaverse.”

GAMAVRS describes itself as a hub for NFT and blockchain gaming. The company just delivered the first Poker Heroes Avatars, which were given away as prizes during the latest WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January.

The cooperation between GAMAVRS and the WPT began in October 2021 when a Phil Ivey NFT sold for 40 ETH. The official launch of the Poker Heroes Club is planned for March 2022. The integration of NFT avatars on the World Poker Tour global platforms is scheduled one month later, in April 2022.

Our goal is to bring the most exciting experiences in immersive sport, gaming, and interactive entertainment to life as the metaverse takes shape. Further steps are listed on the roadmap and the partnership also includes the chance to play poker against WPT celebrities such as Vince Van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin, Tony Dunst, and the brand’s newest ambassador, superstar DJ Steve Aoki. More than $100,000 in Freeroll Tournaments, sponsorships at global WPT stops, and WPT exclusive live events are listed as additional perks.

In 2021, the WPT also formed a partnership with Theta Labs, to launch the WPT NFT marketplace on its platform. In addition to its partypoker and WPT ties, Theta’s NFT partners also include big names like FuseTV and Katy Perry. Thousands of NFTs and packs are up for grabs on its site and previous sales also included “Mike Sexton: The Legend Hand” NFTs, which were auctioned off to three bidders who paid a combined total of $48,398 for the digital trading cards honoring the legendary poker player and commentator.

Theta Labs has also been announced as one of the first partners of Ennovate.

“Our goal is to bring the most exciting experiences in immersive sport, gaming, and interactive entertainment to life as the metaverse takes shape,” said Entain COO Sandeep Tiku. “Working with partners, we believe we can achieve great things faster, both for customers and to apply these technologies and skills to benefit wider society.”

A large portion of the $136.1 million investment, $54.2 million, will be devoted to the UK, one of the core markets for the partypoker platform. The first NFTs of the brand are expected to be released shortly. Further ground-breaking experiences for customers in gaming and interactive entertainment include experiences in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), as well as VR Arcades.

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It is the next major leap for Entain after a tumultuous 2021, during which the takeover by global sports betting giant DraftKings fell through. The sportsbook heavyweight was among the first major online gambling brands to announce the anticipated launch of its own NFT marketplace in July 2021.

DraftKings’ efforts didn’t stop right there as they also partnered up with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to create a maiden NFL NFT collection, which is currently foreseen to go live at the start of the 2022/23 NFL season.

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