WPT Re-Ups CEO Adam Pliska for Four Years
2 March 2018
PokerBrave (3368 articles)

Back during the poker boom of – my god – about a decade and a half ago, World Poker Tour broadcasts sucked in poker fans. But as the years went on and the airwaves became saturated with poker shows, the episodes drew fewer eyeballs. Just a few years ago, especially as recreational poker players in the U.S. stopped playing online poker after Black Friday, it looked like the WPT – and even World Series of Poker broadcasts – were in trouble. But the WPT didn’t die. In fact, the Tour has been on one heck of an upswing the last few years and as such, World Poker Tour Enterprises, Inc. has extended CEO Adam Pliska’s contract for another four years.

“Adam Pliska’s tremendous leadership, successful track record, and proven strategic vision make him the perfect individual to continue to guide WPT Enterprises into the future,” said Frank Ng, CEO of Ourgame, the WPT’s parent company, in a press release Tuesday. “Adam has undoubtedly taken the company to new heights through expansion of the WPT brand into new and emerging markets, continued development and innovation in the digital gaming space, and unparalleled sustainability of gaming’s premier television product.”

China-based Ourgame bought the World Poker Tour in 2015 for $35 million cash, deal led on the Tour’s end by Pliska. Six years earlier, the WPT was sold to a subsidiary of PartyGaming for just $12.3 million, shortly after World Poker Tour Enterprises had announced that it had sold to Gamynia Limited for $9 million. Needless to say, that deal was cancelled, but to think that one of the most important companies in the poker world was sold for just $12.3 million was a tad nuts.

Under Pliska’s leadership, though, the WPT has grown immensely. He has helped grow the WPT from 14 tournaments to 70, adding the high stakes WPT Alpha8, WPTDeepStacks, and WPT National series of events to the flagship tour, referred to as simply the Main Tour.

It was once a bit of a joke that the World Poker Tour was once played almost entirely in North America and while U.S.-based stops are still the core of the Main Tour, it is now truly an international poker tour.

“I am honored to have the incredible privilege to continue to lead this great company,” Pliska said. “I look forward to building on the successful strategies that have allowed the World Poker Tour to continue to raise the bar of our industry. I believe we have only begun to unlock the full potential of the WPT.”

Pliska was a finalist for the Industry Person of the Year award at the 4th Annual American Poker Awards, handed out last week. WPTDeepStacks won the award for Mid-Major Circuit of the Year. Pliska won the Industry Person of the Year award in 2014; the World Poker Tour’s founder, Steve Lipscomb, won the Lifetime Achievement Award that year, as well.

In an interview with PokerListings last April, Pliska talked about how to keep his company and the industry strong:

We will all need to hold the industry accountable to make sure that the standards stay high because if people start getting bad experiences it can atrophy. We forget that.

We’ve gotta continue to treat the new player in a way that’s respectful and not just look at them like they’re fish.

Social gamers are not all fish. Some of them aren’t out to win, they’re just having fun. What’s the big deal?

In the future we need to continue to think about showing the proper respect and try to fulfill each player’s needs.

The industry puts too much in one basket. That happened with real-money gaming, for instance. That goes the same for social gaming or tournaments. Let’s just take a long-term approach.