Industry Insiders: WPT Global President Alex Scott is Ready for the Spotlight

Industry Insiders: WPT Global President Alex Scott is Ready for the Spotlight

Last year, long-time industry veteran Alex Scott was named as President of WPT Global. Not only that, the 40-year-old husband and father made it known that he would be serving in a very public-facing role, something WPT Global had been lacking.

Having grown up in the north of England and now residing in the Isle of Man, Scott attributes his roots in online poker to his love of technology as a child.

“I was always interested in technology and computers, and I started playing around with a Commodore C64 at an early age,” he told PokerNews. “I was very quick to pick up reading, and I learned some of the BASIC programming language before I was seven. I used to write simple text-based games that were common at the time, and later wrote more complex games like side-scrolling shooters and beat-em-ups for PC. I’ve always had an affinity for games but have enjoyed creating them as much as I’ve enjoyed playing them.”

"For the next few years I lived with other poker players, hosted home games a couple of times a week, travelled around playing poker, and played online almost every night.”

Scott studied Information Technology at university in Edinburgh, and it was there that he was first exposed to the game on a serious level.

“Although I’d played poker with friends before, it was at university that my interest in poker really took off. I formed the University Poker Society with two other people who quickly became close friends, and poker became the centre of my social life. For the next few years I lived with other poker players, hosted home games a couple of times a week, travelled around playing poker, and played online almost every night.”

He continued: “At university we ran weekly events, hosted other university students at our special events, and visited other universities to play their events too. The things I learned during this period got me started on my journey in the poker industry.”

PokerNews recently sat down with Scott to learn a bit more about his background in the industry, his role at WPT Global, and his plans for the future.

Q&A with Alex Scott

PokerNews: What’s your background in terms of business? How and when did you come to work in the poker world?

Alex Scott: Almost all of my career in business has been working in poker. I first dipped my toes in the poker industry back in 2005, when I worked for WPT promoting their new online site to students in Edinburgh. That was a short-term thing, but it piqued my interest and when I started looking for work, I found that I could go work in the support team at PokerStars as a Poker Specialist, and earn just as much as any graduate job on offer.

I spent about four years working at PokerStars - my first ever full-time job. It was very influential on me. I remember how strongly the company cared about its customers back then. We were empowered, even as entry-level customer support employees, to do what we needed to make customers happy, without needing to go through layers of approval. Rake or revenue wasn’t really a consideration (and in fact, was kept confidential with only a very few employees having access to it), and we were encouraged to do the right thing for the player without worrying about profitability.

I worked my way up through the company and moved to the Isle of Man to be part of the Poker Room Management and Game Security teams, as they were called back then. At first, I built tournaments and worked on complex game security cases. Later, I launched regulated markets like Italy and France, and worked on new software features (from simple stuff like improved filters for the tournament lobby, to highly complex projects like multi-currency support). The product side - working on new software features - was something I really had a passion for. It’s incredibly satisfying to design something, then see it go live to thousands of happy customers. I wanted to work on the best product, with the best team, and so I was delighted to get an offer to go work for Full Tilt Poker… two months before Black Friday hit.

My time at Full Tilt was influential for different reasons. I saw what can go wrong when a company takes too many risks. What it means to truly protect player money. Differences in leadership at the top. Despite the fact that it was a difficult time (not least for me, but the entire poker community), it was also a time when I learned so much. After Full Tilt collapsed in the months after Black Friday, there were several rounds of layoffs and the team became much smaller. As a result, the scope of my job changed and I got involved in a lot more areas than I expected.

"We made major changes to the way the network was administered, the way we communicated with players and our customers, and the features in our software. We had nothing to lose."

I was involved in planning for the relaunch of the business and sat in meetings with executives going over the financials. I pitched to potential investors, talking them through our plans for the product and how we would solidify our position as having the best software in the business. I designed software features, from new games and tournament formats, to an improved loyalty system. Some of the people at Full Tilt were truly exceptional - passionate about poker, and incredibly knowledgeable about their role. While at PokerStars I learned how to deliver superlative service to customers, at Full Tilt I learned how to deliver fantastic software.

When Full Tilt was eventually bought out by PokerStars, I moved back to the Isle of Man with my fiancée at the time (now my wife, who grew up here). After a few months of consulting, I got offered a full-time position at Microgaming, a casino software supplier, working on their poker network MPN. The lessons I’d learned at PokerStars and Full Tilt helped me to progress quickly in the company.

My time at Microgaming was defined by two main things. First, it was the time when I progressed the most as a leader. I had opportunities to lead teams in poker and bingo and be part of the senior team that made big decisions. I also took full advantage of the leadership training that was on offer, and this combined with the hands-on experience defined my leadership style, which hasn’t changed much to this day.

The other great thing about this time in my career was somewhat counterintuitive. As a casino supplier, Microgaming treated poker as a bolt-on product, even a loss leader - and the senior management was neither interested in it, nor knowledgeable about it. This gave me and my small team huge freedom to experiment and try new things. We made major changes to the way the network was administered, the way we communicated with players and our customers, and the features of our software. We had nothing to lose.

After Microgaming, I decided to take a break from poker and work more closely with technology in a new industry. I studied a brief Fintech course at Oxford University and then went to work at ParagonEX, which made software for trading assets at a time when the public’s imagination was caught up in the GameStop, Blackberry and AMC stock-trading frenzy. It was an exciting place to be, and so I didn’t really expect to return to poker, at least for a while. Most poker startups were poorly funded, had to build liquidity from scratch, and stood very little chance of success.

When the opportunity came along to work at WPT Global, I saw that it was very different from those other start-ups. A huge liquidity pool packed with action. One of poker’s best-loved brands behind us. And enough money to be ambitious and really back ourselves. The opportunity was irresistible, and I joined WPT Global a couple of weeks before we launched in 2022.

What sort of responsibilities do you have as President of WPT Global?

I’ve been leading the WPT Global business since I joined in 2022, originally as the General Manager, and now as President.

A lot has changed since I first joined as employee number seven. I’ve grown the business to nearly 100 employees today. We’ve entered new markets, released new features like Pot-Limit Omaha and Global Spins (with a progressive jackpot and the lowest rake in the business), and achieved our first profitable month last year (a huge milestone in any start-up).

The new title of President marks a shift in my responsibility, with less general, day-to-day operational management, and more big-picture strategy, outreach, growth, raising awareness and interaction with the community. Since I’ve had the new job title, several people have reached out to say that it’s a good thing that WPT Global now has a public face. Ironically, that was always supposed to be the case, but I think the new title helps to convey my role a bit better.

We still have a lot of growth ahead of us, and I’m always searching the poker community for the next great person to be part of our journey.

You will be more publicly-facing, interacting with the community and whatnot. Are you looking forward to that?

Yes, very much so. The poker community gets a lot of flak from within, but when I left the poker industry for a couple of years, I really missed it. So much of who I am is wrapped up in poker and its community. It’s special, unique, and brings me a lot of joy.

I’m excited to hear more from players about what we can do better and how we can improve - I know players won’t hold back on this!

Battle Phil Ivey & Brad Owen in WPT Global's Discord Tournament Ambassador Takeover

What sort of initiatives do you have planned for WPT Global? What philosophy do you hope to bring into the company?

First, I want to bring back the wonderful customer experience that we had in the early PokerStars days. I’m trying hard to embed the same ethos in WPT Global, where our primary goal is to make customers happy, to surprise and delight them with excellent service. I sense a palpable apathy in the poker community today, towards where they play. Trust in poker takes years to build and seconds to lose. Some of the older operators have lost that trust, and some of the modern challengers never gained it. I see that WPT Global has an opportunity to differentiate itself simply by providing the excellent service that WPT is known for with its live events - to bring the WPT experience online if you will.

Secondly, I want to bring to WPT Global what I learned about great software while working at Full Tilt. Not everybody remembers, but when Full Tilt first launched its software was actually pretty bad. It took time and effort to make it the best software in the business and I was there for a small part of that journey, working alongside those great software developers and product managers.

Third, I want to make WPT Global the safest place to play poker online. This should be simple because our software supplier A5 Labs was founded by passionate poker players who got cheated. As a result, it’s close to their hearts and they have invested heavily in it for years. The integrity tech that we have is the most advanced I have ever seen in any poker business, and the way we protect our ecosystem to maintain fair, winnable games is unique. It’s my job to get this message out and ensure our actions match our words, as I know it will take time to earn the community’s trust on this issue.

Are there any plans, or future hopes, to bring WPT Global to the US market?

Yes, although it will probably be a while. Unfortunately, legal real money poker in the US is currently regulated on a state-by-state basis, and the way it is regulated takes away one of our key advantages - a huge, established, action-packed player pool. It will take time for the market to be commercially viable for us, but we do plan to operate in the US at some point.

In the meantime, we will definitely be tackling other regulated markets and expanding our reach, so keep an eye out for more market launches in the coming year.

For more on Alex Scott, follow him on X at @AlexScott72o. Likewise, you can learn more about WPT Global at @WPT_Global.

Can you win real money at WPT Global?

Yes, you can win real money at WPT Global. WPT Global also offer the chance to win seats in any number of exciting live tournaments.

How many decks are used in poker?

In most popular poker variants, such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha, a standard deck of 52 playing cards is used. Each deck contains four suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) and consists of 13 ranks (Ace, 2 through 10, and the face cards: Jack, Queen, and King).

What is the bonus code for WPT Global Poker 2023?

The best bonus code for WPT Global is WPT777. By entering the bonus code, players will get a welcome bonus 100% up to $1,200 on the first deposit. The minimum deposit is $20.