After substantial changes occurred at the World Poker Association (WPA) in 2008, the organization began to reform itself as that year came to a close. Within the first month of 2009, three board members were in place, and the first board meeting of the year put Tom Franklin in the position of the Chairman of the Board.
It was only two months ago that WPA founder Jesse Jones was left with no board members whatsoever and made a plea to the public to support his WPA vision. He also noted that he would need to step back from some of the responsibilities of running the organization due to “declining health.” Not long after, it was announced that two poker enthusiasts stepped up to the challenge - Tom Franklin and John Leontakianakos. Another empty seat on the board was eventually taken by Nancy Todd Tyner.
On January 19, 2009, the WPA posted a notice that the first 2009 Board of Directors meeting had taken place, at which Franklin was chosen to be the new Chairman, Leontakianakos took the position of Treasurer, and Tyner became the Secretary. The small notice also stated, “The top priority is seeking benefits for existing members and attracting new members.”
Franklin has been a professional poker player for nearly 40 years. With more than 50 tournament wins, including a World Series of Poker bracelet and more than $1.5 million in tournament earnings, his experience in the industry is extensive. He also served for a time as the Corporate Director of Games Compliance for Lyle Berman’s Grand Casinos, so his familiarity with games procedures, rules, and casinos is far-reaching.
Leontakianakos has been playing poker, mostly cash games, around the world for more than 30 years. He maintains a presence in the investment banking community, though, and serves as the cofounder and senior vice president of the GateKeeper USA finance department, which is a company that operates under the U.S. Homeland Security department.
Tyner has been a political consultant since 1979, taking part in nearly 200 campaigns in various countries and within the United States. Her work is well-known enough to warrant an induction into the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame in 2009. She became interested in poker over the course of the last decade and recently won the World Poker Tour ladies invitational tournament in 2008.
As for the future of the WPA, the poker community awaits some action and press from the organization in the coming months.
More information about the WPA can be found at www.WPAPoker.org.