KYRENIA – The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which carries the traces of a 10 thousand-year-old culture and is an important point of attraction not only with its sea but also with its gastronomy, has opened a new channel for tourism, the locomotive sector of the country, with organized tournaments.

Texas Hold’em (poker) tournaments offer attractive prizes to the fans of this game, which is also called sports in some countries, appealing to a wide audience among the games of fortune, while also allowing them to have a five-star holiday in the TRNC.

Merit Tourism Group, which has contributed greatly to the development of tournament tourism in the TRNC, brought together 800 poker players from 35 countries, including Antonio Esfandiari and Michael Mizrachi, the world’s top-earning poker players, at the International Texas Hold’em Tournament. Merit Tourism Group ensures that approximately 3 thousand foreign tourists come to the country with the tournaments it organizes. This figure, which reaches 5,000 with their families, is increasing every year. Including the US, Russia, Iran, Brazil, Lebanon, Vietnam, Greece, Spain, Iraq, Canada, about 35 thousands of players from the country of Israel and Turkey found welcomes Merit Tourism Group, in the world, followed by the famous lets players arrive in the country.

Among these people, their names almost identified with Texas Hold’em tournaments; Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, Matt Savage, Kelly Kim, Ivan Demidov, Tuan Le, Sergey Rybachenko, Roy Winston, Marvin Rettenmaier, Jean-Robert Bellande, Phil Ivey, and Roger Hairabedian. Reha Arar, the Chairman of the Board of Merit, stated that Texas Hold’em is a game based on intelligence, mathematics and score knowledge, as well as a chance just like pacifier, checkers and chess, and stated that they organize an average of 15 tournaments a year.

Explaining that the most important players in the world come in these tournaments, Arar said that the players do not play for money among themselves. Stating that the winners were rewarded at the end of the tournament, Arar explained that Merit was the first hotel group to organize the Texas Hold’em tournament internationally. Arar noted that the tournaments opened a new channel in the field of tourism in TRNC.

Stating that the tournaments during the year became organized almost monthly during the summer season, Merit Poker’s President Ümit Michael Peltekçi said that the most important of these was WPT.

Stating that TRNC taking part in one of the tournament legs of WPT is a great success, Peltekçi said, “Our tournament, which will be held on 14-26 August, will enable world-famous names to come to TRNC”. Stating that the cash prizes distributed in the tournaments exceeded 10 million dollars in total last year, Michael Peltekçi stated that they organized a total of 6 tournaments, 5 of which were international, for the first half of this year. Ümit Michael Peltekçi also stated that approximately 7 million dollars were distributed to more than 2 thousand players in these tournaments. Within the scope of the tournament, the winner of the 2004 Eurovision Contest, Ukrainian singer Ruslana, and Grigor Leps, one of the famous pop singers of Russia, who came from Southern Cyprus and faced some difficulties in the meantime, also gave a concert at the Royal Hotel.