WPT Global’s Customer-First Culture Drives WPTWC Qualifier Program
Its impossible to think of everything, but Alex Scott, General Manager of online poker site WPT Global, and his team are giving it a shot. Specifically when it comes to finding the best ways to qualify players for the award-winning, $40 million guaranteed World Poker Tour World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.
In its second year, the WPT World Championship has upped the ante, more than doubling the $15 million guarantee of the 2022 edition and promising players another stellar December to remember in Las Vegas. But simple math says that a bigger guarantee is going to need more runners in order to reach itand WPT Global looks to play a big part in helping those who want to get into the event for the minimum a clear shot at doing just that.
Were trying to offer lots of different ways to qualify, Scott said. So rather than just having the usual satellite structure that everybody has, we have other ways to qualify and those ways are quite different, Scott said.
Scott and his team at WPT Global are doing their best to align their interest in growing their burgeoning online poker room with players desire to win a seat in the WPT World Championship by providing a path however players prefer to play. Scott has been in poker as a player and in the industry for the better part of 25 years but doesnt want to rely solely on the old formula in an effort to make his customers happy.
The people who are getting into poker now, they play differently to how I played, said Scott. So why should I make a decision that says everybody has to qualify the way that I like to qualify, we need to hit all the different bases and have something for everybody, every kind of persona of player if you like.
Of course, there are the traditional satellites – both step and direct – with buy-ins starting as low as $5. Cash game and tournament leaderboards into satellites. Tournament entry tickets as a Deposit Bonus. Theres also the WPT Scavenger Hunt, a challenge-based path that gets one into freerolls where you play for shots at a seat. Theres even a path for PLO players through, basically, rakeback.
For example, you can win a World Championship package just by playing Pot Limit Omaha [on WPT Global], Scott said. If you generate $25,000 worth of rake, you get a WPT World Championship package, including the buy-in to the Championship Event and $2,000 for travel.
So it works out as youre playing the games you might be playing anyway, for instance, you might just like to play Omaha and its not that difficult, if you play mid or high stakes, to generate that amount of rake and then you win a WPT World Championship package for doing that. So why, if you were the kind of person who was generating that amount of rake on GG or PokerStars, why wouldnt you just come play on WPT Global for a little while and earn yourself a World Championship package while youre doing it?
With the Championship Event under two months away, WPT Global is full steam ahead in awarding Championship Event seats plus $2,000 in cash for expenses. While he cant give exact targets, Scott says the company is looking to send hundreds of players to Las Vegas by way of WPT Global, hopefully making the player pool a diverse spectrum of the poker landscape. They are pushing their own qualifier guarantees each week, which has resulted in value for players in the form of overlay.
And more qualifiers means more chances for everyday players to win big-time scores or even life-changing money. Last year, Irelands Stephen Kehoe scored his seat on WPT Global, starting in a $5 satellite, and walked away with a career-high score of $269,000. So it happens.
No matter how you look at it, $40 million is a big number. A record-setting guarantee. But Scott says the pressure to perform for the online site doesnt come from a financial bent, it comes internally, from a team looking to thrive.
I guess we all have very high standards, Scott said. We don’t want to let each other down because we’re working in an organization with lots of really exceptional people and when you work with exceptional people, the last thing you want to be is the guy that lets the side down. So the people who are working on qualifying people for the World Championship, very much feel pressure to uphold themselves to that standard and be successful.
We also know the WPT itself has this amazing reputation in poker and has an incredible amount of goodwill. We feel a positive pressure to hold ourselves to the high standards that WPT expects. So if we sent 10 players to the WPT World Championship, that would be an outright failure and we’d be embarrassed. We would feel like we hadn’t contributed as effectively as we should them. We would feel like we weren’t operating on the level that WPT expects.
Scotts role as General Manager for WPT Global is a bit of a full-circle journey, career-wise, for him. He recalls his very first job, back in 2005, when he promoted WPT Online, a fledgling online site for WPT. Scott, a student at Edinburgh at the time, was promoting WPT and signing fellow students up.
However, it was his next job that made a real impact on him. After graduation, Scott joined the customer service team at PokerStars. Under the direction of PokerStars founders Isai and Mark Scheinberg, the customer service department at PokerStars at that time still carries weight today for those who played online back then.
At that time its customer support was kind of legendary. The people there working in that team, they knew poker, they cared about it, they had a passion for it, Scott said. And as a result, you could sense that in the interactions that we had with customers and we had this great reputation with customers and they often recommended us to their friends and their peers, and you were interested in playing poker because of that good experience that they had. Scott says thats the culture hes looking to bring to players on WPT Global. A customer first – make players happy – mindset.
We were just told to solve the problem, whatever the customer’s problem is, give them a solution to that problem that they’re happy with. And we could do that in 30 seconds. It would take a minute to solve a customer’s problem in a way that would make them really happy. And I want this company to have that same mindset, just make customers happy. That’s the number one goal, right? We’re an entertainment business. If the player doesn’t have a smile on their face when they’re playing with us, we’ve got something wrong.
Scott spends plenty of time thinking about this with his team. Brainstorming new ideas and promotions, taking risks, keeping what works, and throwing out the stuff that didnt work. Its not only a culture hes trying to build for customers, but his staff as well.
I think if you have a team like that, the good work culture follows from that. There are lots of other good things about a work culture as well, like being a startup and having that mentality of trying things and failing and seeing what works and not having the blame culture when there’s a failure, but having a culture of learning from the mistake and seeing what we can do better next time and that kind of thing that contributes to a really positive culture, I think. We’re always learning and trying to do things better. If you look at our business, you’ll see there are a lot of things that we do that reflect that trial and error.
Of course, not everyone has access to WPT Global yet, and for those players, including those inside the United States, ClubWPT is the only other place to qualify for the World Championship online.
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