Poker has strengthened ties with horse racing in the United States with one of the most popular players joining forces with one of the popular race series.
The Breeders Cup is the pinnacle of a series called the Breeders Cup World Championships, one of the most important period on the USA’s horse racing calendar.
It’s an event recognised in international horse racing circles as well and can be likened to the Super Bowl or the Baseball World Series.
Even a non horse racing follower can naturally see it’s a big deal and also that it means big bucks.
As a result they’ve looked to the world of poker as an advertising opportunity and managed to find another person who means big bucks, that’s professional player Michael ‘The Grinder” Mizrachi.
He’s set to become a rep after Breeders Cup LTD signed a sponsorship deal for the American ahead of the race dates locked in for November 4 and 5.
It’s plain to see the move is set it to attack a large poker playing audience which horse racing officials see as prime for the picking for a conversion to the track.
Breeders Cup LTD Vice President Peter Rotondo says he sees plenty of promise in the new sponsorship package.
“We believe that there is a strong cross-over between poker and horse racing, which has not yet been realized. We’re thrilled to have a relationship with ‘The Grinder’ which will allow for one of poker’s superstars to reach out to the poker world and educate them about the Breeders’ Cup and the over $160-million in liquidity during our two-day event.”
They’ve certainly gone for one of the big guns in their marketing strategy with ‘The Grinder’ considered a genuine poker superstar.
At just 30 years old and with only seven years playing experience he is already eighth on the all time money earners list.
In addition to over $11 million in tournament winnings he’s also claimed 19 career titles.
Included in that is a 2010 WSOP bracelet in the Poker Players Championship and a fifth place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event.
Crucially as well he also has a proven interest in horse racing making him the ideal target for horse racing officials.
Mizrachi himself says he’s ecstatic about the new deal with the Breeders Cup.
“It’s an honor to be associated with such a well-known name as the Breeders’ Cup. I’ve long been a huge horse racing fan and I am pleased to have this opportunity to align myself with the richest horse racing event with such large wagering pools.”
Some people though have criticised the move saying it’s working against efforts in the United States to clear poker from bureaucratic turmoil.
Some stakeholders have been trying to differentiate poker and horse racing saying poker is more a game of skill than chance.
This was backed up in French court recently with the declaration poker was a game of skill, a decision that has big red tape implications.
Some people feel this new sponsorship agreement undoes some of that progress with statements like
“We believe that there is a strong cross-over between poker and horse racing, which has not yet been realized”
They also call into question Mizrachi’s comments that he’s drawn to horse racing specifically due to the large betting pools.
It will be interesting to see if there’s any real effect on the back of this new arrangement or indeed if poker receives an reciprocal benefit.
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