Table Talk: EPT Chooses Mainstream for Season 10

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Most of you will be happy to know I’m not going to talk about sexism in poker… this week, anyway. It’s not that I don’t have enough fodder for another article (thanks Ultimate Poker!) but I’m going to shelve it for a week or two to cover some other poker topics.

Today, I feel like sharing a bottle of champagne to celebrate the latest announcement from the European Poker Tour. PokerStars revealed a deal in place between the EPT and Duracell Powermat for the upcoming Season 10. Unlike past products, like a payment processing company or jeweler, Duracell is a very mainstream and global product. Everyone knows of it, everyone uses or has used it, and usually has a positive association with it. You might even remember the last television or radio commercial you saw for it.

It’s slogan? “Trusted everywhere.”

So, it was extremely refreshing to see that Duracell will be partnering with the EPT. The specific deal revolves around the Duracell Powermat, which an easy way to charge wireless devices. Players with Powermat phone cases simply use the hotspot wireless charging mat at any of the custom-made poker tables on the EPT, and they can charge their devices wirelessly and at no charge. Players who don’t have a Powermat phone case will be given a connector to use during the tournaments, and EPT Main Event qualifiers will be given a free case.

This was passed over by most players in poker today without realizing what a major step this is in the advancement of poker in mainstream life. For Duracell to take a chance on this partnership with a poker company that tours Europe for poker tournaments is a very positive step. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the reputation that the PokerStars, and specifically the European Poker Tour, has built over the course of many years. With consistent growth and business sense that continues to stand out from other companies in poker, everything was in place to prompt Duracell to strike a pose with PokerStars.

The World Series of Poker has garnered some mainstream sponsors for its summer tournaments as well, such as Southern Comfort and Ruffles. These were solid and progressive partnerships, but the WSOP chose not to highlight them with unique press releases or special announcements. May players didn’t notice, or did so with only a passing glance, and others weren’t sure of the nature of the partnerships. Companies like the World Poker Tour worked with mainstream companies in the past, such as the Blue Diamond Almond Bold Player of the Day campaign, but that has since faded into poker history.

Many will remember that Epic Poker built its brand on the promise to investors that it would attract some of the largest advertisers in the world. Whether it was give the proper effort or not, I will never know. But we all know that the company crumbled, leaving many in the dust and setting poker back rather than moving it forward into a new era.

With EPT’s special announcement of their deal with Duracell, it signaled progress in poker-related advertising. For many years, there have been products that poker players could easily promote simply with their usage as practical parts of their poker lives. I’ve suggested to multiple poker executives that they should pursue luggage companies, Apple or Android phones and tablets, cameras and similar equipment, or even airlines and rental car companies. The Duracell Powermat is directly along those same lines, and it means that PokerStars is truly thinking big.

This trend will only go as far as poker entities take it. It can be the start of a major trend or a one-off situation that the rest of the poker world ignores. Hopefully, players will embrace this new partnership and show its true worth.

What can the poker community do to let Duracell know that this was a worthwhile investment? Of course, they can purchase Duracell products. But more importantly, they can use social media to express gratitude for the free Powermat cases when they play the EPT. And the rest of us can go directly to the Duracell website and use the contact page to find the company through email, phone, Facebook or Twitter. Send a message to the company to thank them for having confidence in poker and committing to buy their products as a result.

Poker can rise to a new level with this deal, if only the entirety of the poker community supports it.

Cheers!

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