Annie Duke Talks EPL And Engaging Mainstream AudienceFebruary 23, 2012 12:48 pm
Annie Duke currently ranks third on the poker ‘Women’s All Time Money List’ with $4,270,549 in live tournament winnings. She has also been instrumental in trying to professionalize poker, not least in her role as commissioner of the Epic Poker League (EPL).
Speaking recently to PokerListings, Duke has been discussing the hurdles faced by the poker industry, while lamenting the fact the game hasn’t become more mainstream, like. for instance, Snowboarding.
“There’s still a large part of the population that are sort of scared of poker and think that it’s sort of shady or some sort of backroom activity,” explained Duke.
Therefore, Duke says its important to get the message across that poker is not about gambling, but skill, thus making the game a more palatable option for sponsors. The forming of the EPL with its professional players and official code of conduct goes far in this regard, but to Annie Duke the next biggest step on the way to making the game more mainstream is engaging the audience.
Harking back to the poker explosion of the early 2000’s, Duke believes that the same small, familiar group of people playing events back then more readily engaged the audience. She also believes players such as Phil Hellmuth still remain the recognisable face of poker for many casual viewers, while the increased field make it difficult to produce any new real stars.
That’s where the EPL can help create the celebrities of the future, and as Duke explains:
“So if you give these players a chance to enter events with limited fields people are really going to be able to get to know the Jason Mercier and the Adam Levys and the Isaac Barons and the Noah Schwartzs and the Mike MacDonalds and the Chris Klodnickis and the Andrew Lichtenbergers. These guys are just so amazing but they’re pretty much unknown to the public because it’s just too hard to get on final tables in these huge-field events enough in order for fans to engage with you.”
Finally, according to Annie Duke, the path to reaching a mainstream audiences can then be consolidated by a new generation of marketable, cool pros who can subsequently engage the public, the sponsors, and advertisers, alike.