MONTREAL, March 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Amaya Inc. (TSX: AYA) ("Amaya" or the "Corporation") today provided an update on multiple recent initiatives undertaken by its B2C business Rational Group to grow the game of poker across the globe, including in the emerging poker market of Asia.
US$10 MILLION PRIZE POOL IN SUNDAY MILLION ANNIVERSARY
More than 50,000 players competed in the 9th Anniversary of PokerStars' Sunday Million tournament on March 15, the largest player pool in the world's most popular weekly online poker tournament since December 2011. The prize pool paid out to players was more than US$10 million, greater than the $9 million tournament guarantee. Players from eight different countries competed at the final 9-handed table.
SPONSORSHIP OF JAPANESE CELEBRITY YUIKO MATSUKAWA
PokerStars.net this morning announced the sponsorship of Japanese model and actress Yuiko Matsukawa as a new celebrity brand ambassador. Matsukawa will join a roster of PokerStars sponsored celebrities including Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo, and number one poker professional Daniel Negreanu. As brand ambassador, Matsukawa will participate in poker tournaments and marketing activities to promote poker as a game of skill. She competed in the recently completed Macau Poker Cup at PokerStars LIVE Macau, a stop on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT).
Matsukawa is a rising star in Japan. The 24-year-old launched her career at university, quickly appearing in several major fashion magazines. She has recently received significant public attention in Japan by starring as the heroine of recent release Terrace House Closing Door, a movie based on a reality TV show series about six men and women living in a shared house.
PokerStars is committed to support the growth of poker in Japan and recently expanded the PokerStars Japanese team, which now includes Japan's first-ever World Series of Poker bracelet winner Naoya Kihara and top online poker player Kosei Ichinose.
NEW TOURNAMENT IN CHINA
The APPT is continuing to help support the growth of poker in China with its new 2015 Nanjing Millions event, sponsored by PokerStars.net. The APPT China poker tournament, which has been sanctioned by the Jiangsu Provincial Chess Sports Association, will run April 14-19, 2015 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre and will include a CN¥1 million guaranteed main event. The Olympic venue, which is in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China, will give the growing number of Chinese poker players a fantastic opportunity to test their skills in the 62,000-seat stadium. The event is being held by APPT partner, the Beijing Star Poker Club.
"The growth of poker in China has been tremendous and we are committed to support this sport throughout the region," said APPT President Danny McDonagh. "Nanjing is a key location that allows players from all over the country to participate. The previous two Beijing events last year were very successful and we are proud to be a part of this government-supported event."
The European Poker Tour will hold its first ever EPT event in Malta at the EPT Malta Poker Festival from March 17-28, 2015 at the Portomaso Casino. With 69 scheduled tournaments and over 30 cash game tables available across 12 days, EPT Malta will offer more poker than ever before in the Tour's 11-year history. The EPT Malta tournament schedule will also feature an invitation-only charity poker tournament on March 21. All proceeds will go towards Right To Play, PokerStars' official charity partner. The EPT is the world's richest and most popular poker tour. Season 11 of the EPT builds on the success of a decade of world-class live poker events, and major poker festivals are being held in Barcelona, London, Prague, and Malta, with the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final to be held in Monaco.
TWITCH CHANNEL AND SIGNING OF POKER PRO JASON SOMERVILLE
PokerStars recently announced the launch of its official Twitch channel and the signing of popular poker professional Jason Somerville to Team PokerStars Pro. Somerville has parlayed his poker passion into a successful Twitch feed, with more than 3 million unique viewers who watch Somerville's real-time play, commentary and strategic advice on the popular video platform and game community. Somerville has been live-streaming his 'Run it UP!' series to followers on YouTube and Twitch for the past 18 months. The series regularly attracts thousands of viewers at a time, making it the most popular poker stream on Twitch. In his new role as a Team PokerStars Pro, he recently launched Run it UP! Season 3, which can be viewed on the PokerStars Twitch channel: www.twitch.tv/pokerstars. This marked the launch of the PokerStars Twitch channel, which will host a wide variety of entertaining and educational content, including streams from other members of Team PokerStars Pro.
Amaya is the owner of Rational Group, which owns gaming and related consumer businesses and brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. These brands collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions, branded poker rooms in major global casinos, and poker programming created for television and online audiences. PokerStars is the world's most popular and successful online poker brand. Amaya also provides B2B interactive and physical gaming solutions to the regulated gaming industry.
SOURCE Amaya Inc.