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DraftKings Sponsoring WPT European Championship

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) leader DraftKings has signed on as a sponsor of the World Poker Tour (WPT) European Championship, this per a press release issued by the WPT. The poker festival will be held at the Speilbank Casino in Berlin, Germany from January 5th through January 10th, with the Main Event beginning January 10th.

DraftKings will be sending eight people to the WPT European Championship via daily fantasy qualifiers. Three of these contests have already taken place; the next one is an NFL DFS contest scheduled for this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The entry fee is $ 75 and the contest has a maximum capacity of 119 entries. The top prize is a WPT European Championship package, while the second through fifth place finishers will win cash.

The winner’s prize package includes a €3,300 seat in the WPT European Championship, a six-night hotel stay in Berlin during the festival, and $ 1,500 to pay for flights and other travel expenses.

DraftKings is also running satellites in to the main qualifier starting at 25 cents.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome industry leader DraftKings as a sponsor for the Season XVI WPT European Championship,” said World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska in a press release. “We look forward to providing a great experience for World Poker Tour players.”

DraftKings and the World Poker Tour have worked together in the past. In 2013, DraftKings became the WPT’s exclusive daily fantasy sports partner. With that came all the expected marketing efforts: advertising at WPT events, DFS qualifiers for the WPT tournaments, and the sponsorship of the events’ live streams. Anywhere it could, DraftKings would establish tie-ins to the World Poker Tour and try to court poker players.

As legal entanglements for DraftKings grew a couple years later, the sponsorship ended, presumably so the company could focus its time and money on battling state lawmakers and Attorneys General.

DraftKings also sponsored the World Series of Poker in 2014 and 2015. The DFS leader was actually the most represented at the 2014 Main Event final table, with three players wearing a DraftKings patch. There was even an event named after the site in 2014: the $ 1,500 DraftKings 50/50, an unusually structured tournament in which half the field made the money. This echoed a popular DFS tournament format, one where players sacrifice the chance for excessive winnings at the top of the standings in exchange for a much better chance to profit.

In 2015, Max Steinberg qualified for the World Series of Poker Main Event via DraftKings and went on to finish fourth in the tournament. Unfortunately for him (an odd thing to say for someone who almost won the Main Event), he was unable to wear a DraftKings patch because the Nevada Gaming Commission ruled that DFS qualified as sports betting and thus DFS sites had to have a license to operate in Nevada. As a result, DraftKings had to withdraw its sponsorship of the WSOP shortly before the Main Event final table.

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