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Fantasy Poker Manager Lands WSOP as Strategic Partner

05/04/13 12:26 PM

Fantasy football and baseball are the two kingpins of fantasy sports. A recent study shows that more than 30 million Americans enjoy fantasy football, and all fantasy sports generate nearly $1 billion in revenue in the United States alone. And fantasy fanaticism has grown to include fantasy basketball, fantasy NASCAR and even fantasy golf. Earlier this year, Zokay Entertainment, the owner of the Global Poker Index (GPI), launched the Fantasy Poker Manager (FPM) in an effort to “promote poker as a competitive sport,” adding poker to the growing stable of fantasy sports offerings.

And just this week, Zokay announced a deal with possibly the most identifiable poker brand of all, the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Adding WSOP as a strategic partner comes on the heels of a similar deal with the World Poker Tour, as the company continues to build an impressive list of partners. Fantasy Poker Manager does for the game of poker just what it sounds like. It allows you as a manager to build a fantasy team of your favorite poker players, and then start them or bench them during major poker tournaments played around the world.

Currently standing as a free play online poker fantasy game, the Facebook application gives you a virtual budget to spend on a team of professionals. Just as if you owned a professional sports franchise, you have to decide which members of your team of professional poker players to start and sit, and you can at anytime cut a player and add a new one to your roster, as long as you follow within the budgetary constraints of the game. With Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware already legalizing online poker, Zokay could be wisely positioning itself to build a free play player pool that could easily transition to pay for play fantasy poker online.

Alexandre Dreyfus is the CEO of Zokay Entertainment, and in a news release regarding this latest partnership, he stated that it “is an honor for us to be recognized as the exclusive fantasy game of the World Series of Poker.” The WSOP every year draws thousands of participants and millions of worldwide viewers, and the WSOP partnership as the only licensed fantasy game of the largest poker event every year is certainly a feather in the cap of Dreyfus and Zokay. Dreyfus went on to state that it is his company’s desire to provide online and off-line poker fans with the best fantasy poker experience possible, and that the company will continue its investment into Fantasy Poker Manager.

The likelihood for cross promotions on both the online poker fantasy draft site and in brick-and-mortar WSOP live events means a veritable cash cow for the up-and-coming Zokay Entertainment as well as the storied poker brand. Expect to see a rash of promotions in advance of this summer’s WSOP in Las Vegas, as GPI and FPM officials and spokesmen will be priming the marketing pump ahead of their first-ever sponsorship with the World Series of Poker. WSOP executives said that part of the agreement with Zokay guarantees that players at the top of the GPI rankings will receive “special benefits and privileges” which will be revealed before this year’s WSOP. The Facebook application is currently in beta mode, where FPM has attracted 20,000 fantasy managers.

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