The only living man left who is the grand daddy of poker, and the tv show that created the poker boom, might possibly just merge. Doyle Brunson has made a cash offer to buy outstanding shares of the publicly traded World Poker Tour for 100% premium over the current stock price.
Two things ought to come to mind. First, this is sort of like Babe
Ruth making an offer to buy Major League Baseball. Someone who
understands and commands huge respect for the game, and has the
interest of the players at heart would lead the major marketing vehicle
for the industry that makes a millionaire every episode.
The second thing that ought to come to mind is the money involved. WPT
shares were going for US$17.75 when the offer was made, so Brunson is
offering $35 per share. It’s not because he wants the stock to keep
him warm at night, it’s because he thinks the WPT is under-earning.
While Brunson has a terrible track record for making money away from
the poker table, I think he’s right about this. The disorganization of
the WPT has kept sponsors from making really big deals, and instead
forced all but a few (save Anheuser-Busch) to recruit specific players
to sponsor them.
With some forethought and planning I believe it’s possible to wring a
lot more money out of the poker boom before it finally hits critical.
I don’t know what AB is paying WPT now, but there’s no reason that the online free poker sites like PartyPoker.net couldn’t be expected to sponsor the WPT for as much as $100million. A well-designed sponsorship system, similar to what’s done in the PGA or in NASCAR could really generate some serious cash, and ensure that the poker boom doesn’t bust too soon. With a lot of cash available to the WPT, the number of satellites they could run would be staggering.
To do so requires getting all the major poker players on board, and I think
Doyle Brunson is about the only person in the world that could pull
Is that cool or what?