The Fantasy Poker ChallengeIt’s estimated that a staggering 18 million Americans will be participating in their favorite fantasy leagues this year. Whether it is football or baseball or, or movie predictions at the Hollywood Stock Exchange, fantasy leagues are bigger than ever and little short of a national obsession, and so it seems fitting and timely that the world’s fastest growing sport should too have a league of its own: and now it has.
The Fantasy Poker Challenge is the fast world’s first and only fantasy poker league and is fast becoming something of a craze for fantasy sports fans on the web. The project was launched tentatively, with little marketing, and has spread rapidly, mainly by word of mouth.
The premise will be familiar to fantasy sports fans everywhere. It’s free to play, so simply log on to fantasypokerchallenge and choose four of your favourite poker players, who will then earn you points depending on the amount of prize money they win at a designated tournament. The player whose fantasy team has accumulated the highest number of points at the end of the tourney will win a trip for two to the Bahamas, courtesy of Sportscrew.com. Prizes for runners up include a "5th Street" premier 500-chip real clay chip set, compliments of All-In Chips, a copy of Donohoe Digital Tournament Poker: No Limit Texas Hold'em, compliments of Eagle Games, or one copy of the fantastic new poker movie, The Big Blind, on DVD, compliments of TheBigBlind.com. All top ten finishers win a year’s subscription to Bluff magazine.
The challenge is perfect for the fantasy sports nut, because a new tournament will be featured every month, so it’s not like football where you spend August agonising over your draughts and, one month into the season, realise you’ve made a terrible mistake and have to wait another year to try again. You can even modify your team after the tournament has started, when new player values will be assigned based on chip count. You will have the option to cash-in players and purchase new ones based on the new values. This allows for a fine mix of strategy and skill, much like poker itself – and this was very much the creators’ intention – to make you feel like you’re in the tournament yourself, using poker players instead of chips.
Jeff Markley, the man behind the project at Bluff, told us that he is the definitive ‘fantasy football and baseball nut’ and, to him, the Fantasy Poker Challenge was an obvious response to the poker craze sweeping the nation. “Poker’s so big now: so many fans, so many great characters in the sport – it just made perfect sense.”
There are hundreds of your favorite poker stars to choose from, with detailed stats and bios on each one – so whether you’re in league with the Devilfish or Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, you’ll always be well informed.
The Fantasy Poker Challenge is currently free to play, but they will be introducing a buy-in soon, so get your free practise in while you can!