A first for online poker

You know it was going to happen. Online poker and cryptocurrency intersected years ago and now non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are coming to the industry. On Monday, partypoker announced that it is working with Theta Labs on what it calls the “first-ever integrated NFT platform in poker.”

The NFTs will depict famous moments and tournament hands across both the history of partypoker and partypoker LIVE. So, if you want to own an exclusive picture or animation of the avatar in an orange shirt and cap binking a two-outer, you will soon have your chance.

In a clear nod to Bored Ape Yacht Club, some of the partypoker NFTs will be “PokerApes,” which are “a series of high-definition images with a partypoker twist, featuring full 3D artwork and unique traits.”

I’m not really into NFTs, though I do see their appeal in some instances and do have a modest collection of NBA Top Shot moments. I can’t say I’d be all that interested in partypoker NFTs…UNLESS there are NFTs of tuff_fish from over a decade ago. That man made partypoker and deserves to be immortalized on the blockchain:

Parent company investing in tech

NFT and partypoker fans will be able to purchase these NFTs on the partypoker marketplace. There is no word on whether that will be built into the partypoker software client or in a web browser, but if I had to guess, it would be both. Including just in the software client would exclude anyone who doesn’t have a partypoker account. Users will also be able to buy and sell NFTs from each other on the marketplace.

“partypoker has established a history across 20 years full of great hands and epic poker moments that have happened during our live and online events,” said partypoker Director Vadim Soloveychik in this week’s announcement. “We are happy to give players the opportunity to own their very own piece of poker history in partnership with Theta. I am truly excited for partypoker to join the NFT space.”

The NFT launch is part of a larger initiative by partypoker’s parent company, Entain. The company is planning to soon launch Ennovate, an “Innovation Hub” in London, and Theta is one of its first partners in the endeavor. Ennovate is investing as much as £100 million in technology projects, about 40% of which is specifically for UK-based projects.

World Poker Tour NFTs

Theta Labs is no stranger to the poker world. Last April, it teamed up with the World Poker Tour to create WPT NFTs. The sets initially launched with tie-ins to World Poker Tour broadcasts. In the first broadcast featuring NFTs, Theta auctioned off three “Mike Sexton: The Legend Hand” NFTs to honor the late, beloved host of WPT telecasts.

The WPT NFT marketplace is on thetadrop.com; there are over 13,000 NFTs and packs for sale. The most expensive NFT currently for sale is a Scotty Nguyen “Legendary Holo,” which depicts the Poker Hall of Famer’s image and a video of him winning the 2006 World Poker Open against Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Of the four NFTs available, the lowest asking price is $5,000.

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