Interview with Master Licensee Christopher Tufford of WPTAPL
Christopher Tufford is the Canadian Master Licensor for WPTAPL and got involved with them in 2008. As an entrepreneur all of his business life, Christopher recognized that the dramatic explosion of TV coverage of celebrity poker tournaments was fuelling a global obsession with the game and that an increasing number of his friends and family were learning and playing in a largely unstructured way, but were having a lot of fun.
Christopher approached WPTAPL in 2008 with a view to bringing to Canada the “sanctioned league owners” model which had been adopted in USA and created the current license structure.
BeTheBoss - What is WPTAPL license opportunity all about?
Christopher Tufford - It is really a low cost, high return, home based opportunity for an entrepreneur who, hopefully, has a love of the game of poker. The territories are fairly apportioned nationally and offer real opportunities for a quick ROI and significant revenue streams.
BTB - Who is your ideal candidate?
CT - First and foremost it is a business opportunity, not a night out with the guys playing poker. The candidate needs to have an entrepreneurial spirit, good sales & marketing skills and the ability to be able to organise and train his/her own [self employed] staff. He/she should be IT literate and it would be an added bonus if the candidate shared a passion for the game of poker.
BTB - What type of training and support do you offer?
CT - This really is critical to the success of the brand, the licensee and adjacent licensees. The training takes place in Southern Ontario for one week and is designed to ensure that there is a consistency across Canada. We hold National Finals every year [in fact we just hosted the 2009 Finals at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Toronto Airport] and we had 240 qualified finalists from all over the country. It is absolutely essential that all players are experiencing identical playing conditions and rules interpretations. The ongoing support involves regular weekly conferences and “best practice” workshops.
BTB - What are some of the advantages of being a WPTAPL licensee?
CT - I think we have already touched on this earlier. Financially it is a low investment, quick ROI and significant ongoing revenue streams. It offers a true work/life balance, is home based and the majority of the working time is in the evenings. It is an opportunity that works well with partners and we have many husband and wife teams. If social networking is your “thing” then this opportunity will further appeal.
BTB - Tell us a little about the Poker Market?
CT - Quite simply it is a global phenomenon. I guess it all really started with the TV coverage of celebrity tournaments which fuelled a global obsession with the game. It is a fact that somewhere in the world, every second of every day there is a tournament in play. There are 2 main ways to play – on line and face to face. On line is great but it is no substitute for face to face. Poker is all about bluffing, reading expressions, psyching out opposition as well as the social interactions and in my humble opinion it is a far better game when played face to face. This is what WPTAPL is all about, face to face with a great social element where friendships are created and forged. You can’t beat it.
BTB - How successful is WPTAPL in Canada today and what are your future growth plans?
CT - From our humble beginnings in Southern Ontario in the fall of 2008 when I had recruited my first couple of licensees and was running 4 or 5 events per week, 18 months on we are now running just shy of 100 events per week, have awarded 20 territories and are represented in 3 Provinces. We are stepping up recruitment now, specifically outside of Ontario [where we have limited opportunities available] with a view to awarding a further 20 licenses this year.
On a personal note, I have been awarded the rights to develop the brand in Western Europe and as we speak the discussions are currently well advanced and we expect to be making our first appointment shortly. Exciting times.
BTB - What are your licensees saying about the business?
CT - I know that they enjoy the informality of the structure. That they delight in giving input to improve our competitiveness and to help develop the brand. A number of our licensees have given up their “full time” jobs to concentrate on this opportunity and after the initial hard work in developing their territories then they are able to put together a structure with tried and trusted individuals which enables them to now enjoy the work/life balance that their former “stress filled” positions did not allow.
BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that WPTAPL would be a great opportunity for someone?
CT - I do seem to be repeating myself here, but it is worth repeating. The brand is the global leader, the investment levels are modest, the returns on investment are quick, the revenue streams are significant, the work/life balance is assured, the chance to work with your partner, the fact that it is home based and mainly evenings only. If you are a social animal who loves meeting new people, are active in your own community and have a passion for poker then there really is no other business opportunity that you should be considering right now.