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Deal Me In: Meet Laurence Escalante, The Man Who Brought Online Poker Back To America

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Aug 02, 2017

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Perth, in the most Western part of Australia, is known for many things. It is the home of golden beaches, crystal blue water, a picturesque wine region and one of the world’s largest mining hubs. However, it is one Perth man’s dream to revolutionize the way Americans play online poker that has truly put this city on the map in the eyes of US poker players.

There is a lot of hype around Laurence Escalante these days. The founder and CEO of VGW (The business that owns Global Poker) is tipped by many to be among the next generation of business leaders despite only being in his mid-thirties. However, to Escalante, business is just one part of life. Holding and maintaining strong relationships with family and friends is of equal, if not greater importance to the former financial planner. When he isn’t at work he is spending time with his family and friends. It was this passion and desire for strong social networks which led to the creation of Global Poker.

“Like many good things, the idea for Global Poker actually came about over a beer with some friends,” Escalante told Card Player magazine. “My friends and I have always loved playing poker and our weekly poker nights became an absolute highlight for all involved. These were never serious, high-stakes games. We played for small stakes and most importantly, bragging rights.”

“As we grew older and started our professional lives many of our group moved to different cities, because of this our weekly poker games stopped. I always found it amazing that we could still all log in online and play World of Warcraft together slaying dragons in these fantastic virtual worlds yet we were unable to emulate the quality social gaming experience we all used to enjoy by playing poker around our kitchen table.”

It was this desire for a truly unique social gaming experience which led to the Global Poker we see today.

Over the past year Global Poker has gone from being a vision inside Escalante’s mind to becoming one of the truly remarkable stories of the poker world.

They are one of the fastest growing sites among US poker players and have cemented themselves as one of the five biggest poker sites for traffic worldwide. Their growth has been so rapid that it is reminiscent of the early 2000’s when companies like Party Poker and PokerStars started the first wave of the online poker boom.

We all, of course know about what happened on Black Friday and it seemed like the end for online poker in the US. Escalante, like all good innovators, looked past the storm clouds and searched for the silver lining.

“One thing I always try to work on is my ability to see solutions and opportunities where others may only see obstacles,” Escalante said. “There was a situation where Americans, living in the absolute home of poker, were unable to enjoy the game that represents their very culture.”

“Our goal was to offer a widely accessible social poker experience to the US poker playing public. Our unique and patented Sweepstakes model offers players something different without straying too far from traditional poker.”

So what is the Global Poker Sweepstakes model and how does it work for American players?

Global Poker is a social gaming site involving two virtual currencies. Players may purchase Gold Coins for play on the Gold Coin tables at Global Poker. These Gold Coins have no monetary value and cannot be removed from the site.

As a way of promoting the sale of Gold Coins, Global Poker uses a promotional sweepstakes currency called $weeps Cash (SC$). These are provided free when purchasing Gold Coins or through other Alternative Methods of Entry such as winning competitions or mailing in and requesting them. These can be used on the $weeps Cash tables and winnings are able to be cashed out through PayPal.

There are a great variation of games available on both the Gold Coin and $weeps Cash tables. Players can enjoy Ring Games, Sit & Gos and Tournaments. Games are available in no-limit Texas hold’em and Omaha with stakes ranging from SC$0.02-SC$0.04 all the way up to SC$10-SC$20.

The Global Poker Tournament scene is where the site’s true popularity has come from with an impressive list of tournaments being available to American poker players. For example, the ‘Global Poker Online World Challenge’ has been running to coincide with the WSOP. This has had an amazing $1 million in real cash prizes being given away which has cemented it on the list of must play tournaments for American online tourney grinders.

So just what is it about Global Poker that has allowed it to rocket so far up the ranks of online poker sites? Some would suggest it is the fact that players can legally play on the site from the United States, or the fact that you can log on and play through Facebook as well as making purchases and withdrawing $weeps Cash prizes through PayPal. But in Escalante’s opinion, Global Poker is so much more than that.

“Poker, first and foremost needs to be fun,” Escalante firmly believes. “When poker first became mainstream after Chris Moneymaker won the main event you couldn’t help but love poker. I would stay up late watching the WSOP, WPT and other television shows and it was always exciting. Big personalities, great action and, most importantly, a real feeling of fun and excitement in the game.”

“It was as much about being there and taking part in the event as it was about winning. That is the feel we want with Global Poker. It is a poker site where everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter your skill or your experience, we aim to provide an enjoyable social gaming experience for everyone.”

With the importance of family and friends being a driving point for the creation of Global Poker. Escalante believes that this same focus on community will be the key to Global Poker’s long term success.

“Having a young family has helped me develop a much deeper understanding of what drives happiness for myself and others. The key way for us to provide for our players is to engage with them and provide for them the kind of poker site they are looking for.”

“We try to be very active in the poker community to ensure we keep strong lines of communications with our players. We are present in online forums and really work to engage with our customers through Social Media by offering competitions, giveaways and lots of opportunities for them to have their say.”

“The message we get back from our players is overwhelmingly clear. They want to have fun when they play. They want recreational games that aren’t stacked with players using HUDs. They want tournaments that start when they say they do, not after several hours of late registrations. They don’t want wait lists that strong players use to stalk the weak ones. We keep these things in mind and try to think about what our customers are telling us with every decision that we make. We want our players to know that they are our most important asset so we listen to their views and do our best to give them the type of poker experience they are looking for.”

One thing is for certain, with American players flocking to Global Poker in record numbers it seems that Escalante’s vision is definitely working. In such a short period of time they have truly become a force to be reckoned with in the online poker world. It is anyone’s guess as to just how much further they will have grown by the time the WSOP comes around again next year.

Just like when he played poker with his friends around the kitchen table, Escalante is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to the future of Global Poker.
“We have a few exciting developments coming through that we believe players will enjoy, you will just have to wait and see,” Escalante says with a smile.

Want to see why Global Poker is the hottest topic in the online poker world right now? Head to GlobalPoker.com and see for yourself. ♠


Join the action in the fastest growing poker room in the world. Click here for the full Online World Challenge schedule.

If you have been around poker players in the United States lately then you have probably heard about Global Poker. The new kid on the block as far as online poker sites go has taken the poker world by storm. After launching recently, Global Poker has cemented itself in the top 10 sites worldwide for player volume and as the fastest growing site for US players.

It doesn’t matter what your stake or preference is, Global Poker has something for you. Using their virtual currency of $weeps Cash players can enjoy both full ring and shorthanded games from stakes of $0.02-$0.04 right up to $10-$20 in both Texas hold’em and Omaha.

You may be asking yourself “what is $weeps Cash and what is it about them that has made Global Poker the most popular new site among US poker players?” The good news is that it is actually a simple process which more and more players are using to play for real cash prizes.

You can jump onto the Global Poker website and purchase a virtual currency called Gold Coins using your PayPal account. You can then use these Gold Coins to enter into ring games, sit n go’s and tournaments. Gold Coins work much the same as play money chips on other poker sites, meaning that you can accumulate them and use them in different games but they can never be redeemed for real money.

As a way to promote the sale of Gold Coins, players are given bonus sweepstakes prizes by way of $weeps Cash with every Gold Coin purchase that they make. The $weeps Cash can be used to buy into the $weeps Cash tournaments and ring games however any of these that are accumulated or won can be cashed out through PayPal as real cash prizes.

 
 
 

Comments

Two20Two21
2 months ago

So how is Global Poker different from any other poker sweepstakes site? The article reads like sweepstakes poker is a new thing. I was playing sweepstakes poker 6 years ago.

 
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Jimq
1 month ago

I'm curious also. What exactly is the difference between sweepstakes and regular sites? Why doesn't poker stars offer sweepstakes for the rest of the county? Something is fishy.

 
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