Welcome to the newest addition to The Festival family - Guts Poker! Jostein Grødum, head of poker at Guts, filled me in on what players can expect from the partnership.
Strong partnership with other live events
“Guts is a gaming brand offering more than poker - we have casino and sports book as well - but the poker brand has existed since 2016,” Jostein tells me. “We have had a strong partnership with other live events in the past. Like, you’re working now with Franke and Mauritz - we used to be a part of their Cash Game Festival tour.”
Indeed, I remember Jostein as a familiar face on the floor from a number of events, many of them involving our very own Franke von Zweigbergk in an organisational role. “Oh, the Franke events are great!” Jostein enthuses. “I met Franke many, many years ago in Barcelona at the EPT. Back then I was working for Nordic Bet and he pitched to me the Cash Game Festival, and I knew then it was something we had to be involved in - Nordic Bet were one of the first partners in the Cash Game Festival. And then when I moved to Guts, they were already taking part in the Cash Game Festival back then, and of course we’ve been a part of other events that Franke has worked at, like the Norwegian Championships in Dublin and the MPNPT tour - I know you worked there as well.”
I point out that all the events that Jostein has namedropped are, in my opinion, among the funnest events on the European poker circuit. Is that what Guts are all about then? “Yes!” he agrees. “Because I believe that for our customer base, it’s all about sending them to live events where it’s not just about the poker tournament or poker itself - it’s also about the social, the gathering round, making friends in the community, and having a full experience around it. And so this is why these events where the focus is on the full package and not just about the pure tournament itself - they are the most fun for customers to experience. It’s those types of events that we want to work with and promote and send customers to.”
Qualifiers on Guts starting in August
The details of Guts Poker’s partnership are still being ironed out, but there will be qualifiers running during August for the poker Main Event at The Festival in Bratislava - although Jostein is also keen on getting the non-poker side of the business involved for future events.. “We’re running the Bratislava event [qualifier] as a sort of trial,” Jostein explains. “For now, in the beginning, it will be just poker, and then seeing how the casino events are working and all that - that will allow me to feed back to the wider business and say, like: ‘the roulette or blackjack tournaments are really good, we should open up to that and send some players also to those events’.”
Like many of us in the industry, Jostein can’t wait to get back into the casino and be a part of a proper live event again, with all the social and recreational aspects that that entails. Bringing that social, party-atmosphere aspect of live events to Guts Poker’s customers is something he regards as very important. “We’re in a market today where standing out from other brands can be hard,” he says. “The way I see it, Guts has always been a brand that really cared about our customers and bringing them the best experience, both online and live - you know, the closeness between our customers and us working here, trying to establish a connection - for me, that’s been our USP, in how I work at least!” We hear you, Jostein. Bring on The Festival in Bratislava!