The World Poker Tour and Theta Labs, a decentralized video delivery network, have announced an exclusive partnership aimed at giving poker fans the ability to own WPT digital collectibles in what the companies are calling “the world’s first real-time NFT marketplace.”
The World Poker Tour is following in the footsteps of the pop-culture trail blazed by NBA Top Shot, which takes officially licensed digital collectable clips (commonly referred to as “moments”) and then sells and distributes them in varying quantities to fans as NFT (non-fungible tokens). In short, it’s like digital trading cards, but its video and its ownership are backed by blockchain.
“Our exclusive NFT launch with Theta Network is one of our biggest digital initiatives to date and, for the first time ever, we’re combining our global reach of live televised poker with an NFT marketplace, giving our fans an interactive, real-time opportunity to collect a piece of the WPT poker action,” said World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska. “We are thrilled to bring some of our top poker pros, players, and celebrities to the NFT world, featuring rare and legendary WPT packs in weekly drops and running exclusive one-of-a-kind auctions for sure rare poker moments.”
The launch of the new marketplace is set to take place in conjunction with the World Poker Tour televised Season XVIII premiere on Sunday, April 18 on the Bally Sports Network. The new televised season will start with a four-part co-branded cash game, the Theta Network WPT Cash Game, and will run each Sunday through May 9. During the programming, through in-show advertising and promotional segments, viewers will be directed to grab a spot in the digital line at the wpt.thetadrop.com website to possibly pick up and pack of digital moments.
Out of the gate, the World Poker Tour will be paying tribute to poker ambassador and former announcer for the WPT, the late Mike Sexton. The Sexton moment, dubbed “Mike Sexton: The Legend Hand” will be extremely rare with just three in total created and will be put up for auction. In addition, the launch will offer the ability to purchase limited quantities of Base, Rare and Legendary poker packs which are likely to be designated as such by how many are minted.
“We’re excited to launch the next-generation NFT marketplace with WPT, a unique opportunity to bring digital collectibles synchronized to live TV and cable broadcast to an audience of millions worldwide,” said Theta Labs CEO and co-founder Mitch Liu. “ThetaDrop maximizes earning to brand partners and creators by bringing the interactivity, real-time engagement, and personality possible only through a live stream when doing NFT drops and auctions. Theta’s proof-of-stake native blockchain means creators can be assured that minting and transacting NFTs are 100% eco-friendly, fast, and inexpensive.”
The Theta Network looks to differentiate itself from the more commonly known Ethereum platform by being built with media and entertainment in mind. They claim that the speed of minting (creating) NFTs on Theta is 100x faster than on Ethereum and the cost is less than a fraction of a cent. But despite being its own network, the upside of NFT’s is the verified ownership of a digital asset and that means the ability to take/move it anywhere the owner pleases and the Theta Network assures for “seamless NFT transfer and transactions across networks” will allow fans to take their moments wherever they wish.
The launch is right around the corner, at which time more details about the marketplace will become apparent. Everything from the cost of a pack, what kind of moments are included, how much the World Poker Tour might rake when trying to resell a moment, and how players featured in those moments will be compensated will all be a part of the story if the World Poker Tour’s venture carries with it the kind of excitement that has surrounded the current NFT movement.
Fans who want to get in line early can do so at wpt.thetadrop.com.