When it comes to the poker industry in Asia, Fred Leung is among the most prominent faces that come into mind. Leung is well-known in the Asian poker circuit and has worked with PokerStars, one of the leading poker brands in the world. He was responsible for the success of the Macau Poker Cup as the Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager of PokerStars. The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila in 2018 was Leung’s last event with PokerStars before he left to make a career change after working with the company for around 10 years between 2008 to 2018.
However, on 31st August 2022, Asian Poker Tour (APT) Events Private Limited partner Michael Sozya, announced that Leung has been brought on board as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for APT. With this, Leung follows the footsteps of previous APT CEO Jeff Mann and will now oversee the rebranding of APT. We spoke to the 45-year-old Leung about the new career move and what he brings to the table for APT, given his extensive experience in the poker industry. Here’s the full interview.
1. How and what made you take up the role of CEO of APT?
I was approached by the new ownership group as the Asian Poker Tour was being acquired. The idea of returning to the poker industry was always a possibility, but I was at a stage in my life where the projects I took on needed to be more than just financial considerations.
From the very first discussion, it was clear that the new owners had a genuine passion for poker and were committed to taking the necessary steps the APT needed to reach new heights. I then presented a multi-year roadmap, and we came to an agreement soon afterward.
2. How do you plan on using your experience in the poker industry to scale up the APT brand?
I have been blessed by working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. As I identify the barriers, my top priority has been about filling the voids with solutions that are enduring. That has meant reaching out to the best who will be vital to this journey.
The APT already has Lloyd Fontillas, one of the most recognized and established tournament directors in the Asian poker scene. Neil Johnson has been added as APT President and he’s simply one of the best in the world when it comes to live operations.
We’ve also added several others to strengthen the team and will continue to add talent to prepare us for the next steps.
3. What are some plans you’re looking forward to implementing immediately?
We’re not looking to make wholesale changes this year, so many of the efforts have gone towards the future. There are a lot of moving parts, so my focus has been on assessing today’s Asian Poker Tour and then planning out the undertakings necessary in order to achieve our long-term vision.
4. What sets APT apart from other live poker tours in Asia?
APT has the distinction of hosting the most events annually in the region amongst the multinational tours. While that is undoubtedly an achievement, we are looking to deliver a new era of the Asian Poker Tour that promises to be truly captivating.
5. You said in an official statement, “Our objective is to retain the Asian Poker Tour’s legacy while advancing its competitive position within Asia.” How are you planning on further cementing APT’s position in Asia?
Crafting lofty goals is easy. Finding alignment as to how to reach those goals is not. There’s a human element to the transformation that’s taking place. I’m very mindful of that, so we need to ensure the evolution takes place internally before we can execute the new era for the public.
As to what the plans are specifically, that is something we will be revealed in the coming months. Stay tuned!
6. Any plans on hosting a live poker event in India?
Everything is under consideration, including India. Some of my fondest memories have been with players and organisers from India, so it’s certainly something we will explore further.
With that, we conclude our interview and wish Fred Leung the best for his future as CEO of APT. Looking at Leung’s past accomplishments, it’s safe to say that the future of APT is in good hands.
Donna Amo is a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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