On Tuesday, June 10th, Wendeen Eolis formally resigned as Chairperson of the WPA, and eight members of the Board of Directors left with her. Former Chairman and original founder of the WPA Jesse Jones subsequently took the reigns of his non-profit organization and set out to make some changes. At that time, he noted that his goal was to take the opportunity to “form a strong board with a united vision, to promote poker as a sport by advocating professionalism and uniform rules and standards of conduct, and help create increased economic opportunities for players worldwide.”
The WPA has made some notable changes in recent weeks, most obvious in its mission statement. While it used to be specific about supporting the “highest standards of ethical conduct in tournament poker activities,” it now has more of a player-based focus. The current mission statement reads: “The purpose of the organization shall be to promote professional tournament poker as a sport worldwide and to pursue economic opportunities for tournament poker players.”
In addition, Jones has written a statement on the front page of the organization’s website announcing the “principal focus” of the WPA, which is to pursue a change in the way tournament poker players are able to profit from the game. He called it a “travesty that tournament poker players for the most part do not share the revenue generated by their participation in events (e.g. television, sponsorship, etc.),” and he would like to make changes to the fact that players currently supply all of the prize money, have 6-10% of that money removed for the hosting casino, and receive payouts for a small percentage of players in the tournaments.
The other big change that pertains to WPA members – current and prospective – is that one membership fee now constitutes a lifetime membership. Those who have paid to be founding, voting, or non-voting members of the WPA will not be required to renew their memberships and will be a part of the organization for its duration. New members will only be required to pay a one-time fee for the same benefit.
Currently, over 1400 people are members of the World Poker Association. Jones’ personal commitment to the organization and its members can be found, as well as information about joining the WPA, at www.wpapoker.org.