If you want to play live in a fun, social environment, sign up for a game with World Tavern Poker What started out as a small poker game at a bar in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is now a national phenomenon. Since 2005, World Tavern Poker has grown from its humble origins into a huge organization with over 400 venues and 175,000 registered players. Though the poker is free, the competition can be formidable and there’s over $100,000 up for grabs in prizes each year, including 40 World Series of Poker packages. ‘When we started this business in 2005, people said “Poker is a fad – you’ll be out of business in 2 years,”’ says World Tavern Poker’s owner, Mike Matsinger. ‘But last year, we filled over a million tournament seats around the country. That’s more than either Las Vegas or Atlantic City.’ While bar poker is stronger than ever and expanding to all corners of the country, it still faces a stigma: it’s free! Such criticism seems misplaced though. With World Tavern Poker popular in states all over the country, it provides live poker for players that don’t have access to a casino or card room. Plus, if you’re new to the game you can learn to play in a safe and comfortable environment – and enjoy the social aspect. Greg Bender is a Marketing Executive who lives 45 minutes from Atlantic City, but prefers the games at the World Tavern Poker: ‘It’s hard to tell the wife, “Sorry honey, I’ll be at The Borgata all night”. It’s a lot easier to say, “Hey honey, I’m going around the corner to play some cards with my friends. Be back in a few hours.”’ So why has World Tavern Poker become the biggest poker league in America? ‘It’s more than just having a great poker game’, says Matsinger, who asserts that WTP’s prizes, technology and willingness to go the extra mile for their players are all part of their winning formula. ‘Beyond our prizes and technology, our franchises have really helped our league to grow,’ says Matsinger. ‘We now have ten franchises, spanning from New York to New Mexico – each of them helping bars turn some of their slowest nights into some of their busiest, week after week.’ So, business is booming, but don’t expect World Tavern Poker to rest on its laurels. Each year the league holds two major events, the World Tavern Poker OPEN, one in Las Vegas and one in Atlantic City, bringing together over 1,000 players to compete in tournaments and cash games. In their most recent Las Vegas event in November 2013, more than $175,000 was paid in prizes. Matsinger is looking to even bigger and better things in the future: ‘In June, we will be hosting our largest championship freeroll ever, where the winner will be taking home a $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat. It’s an exciting time to be a part of World Tavern Poker.’
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