Social networking site and WPT to team up

The recent announcement that ex-MySpace exec Thomas Flahie had been appointed as interim Chief Financial Officer at Steve Lipscomb's World Poker Tour Enterprises fits neatly into the poker firm's latest strategy unveiled this week - a poker community using the MySpace website.

The runaway success of social networking venues such as MySpace has prompted WPT to team up with the company in a new venture branded MySpace.com/ClubWPT. It follows on the news (see previous InfoPowa report) that WPT is to sever its relationship with Cryptologic and at the very least temporarily close down its online poker website at WPTonline.com.

MySpace.com/ClubWPT is described in a statement by the partners as a "fully integrated poker destination with games and content for MySpace members." Membership will be open to experts, novices and fans alike with all the benefits of networking to exchange information, post videos, interact with pros and publicise upcoming events, but WPT will be adding an additional dimension in the shape of its new ClubWPT.com TV show.

Not-for-money multiplayer online poker from Oberon - a MySpace applications partner - will be available, enabling visitors to play against each other in tournaments and connecting with a $20 a month subscription to the club offering which provides sweepstakes style prizes ranging from cash to WPT tournament seats. Prizes of up to $100 000 a month are to be offered.

Angela Courtin, marketing VP at MySpace says the new arrangement will provide MySpace visitors with an entertaining new facility - the ability to legally compete with other poker players for prizes. "MySpace has a balance of a social community base and a global portal platform that allows brands like WPT to create great online entertainment experiences for our users," she adds.

"Poker and social networking have separately reached and engaged people around the world in ways like nothing we've seen before," said WPT president, CEO and cofounder Steve Lipscomb. "As poker continues to see major growth across the globe, this partnership meets the demand for a poker experience that appeals to enthusiasts of all levels by connecting consumers in one unique, fully-integrated gaming and entertainment environment."

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