PokerStars Launches Bounty Builder Series; New Formula One Events & Promotions Rolling Out

The bounty-busting action has returned to PokerStars with two weeks of the Bounty Builder Series running through March 20.

The bounty-busting action has returned to PokerStars. Online poker players will find two weeks of the latest edition of the Bounty Builder Series running through March 20.

The festival features a packed schedule of 169 events. That includes two Main Events with both kicking off on March 19. The $109 edition features a $1 million guarantee with the $1,050 version offering a $1.25 million guarantee.

In other news, the company announced the continuation of its Formula One partnership and promotional and content efforts.

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Plenty of PKO action in PokerStars Bounty Builder

All Bounty Builder events feature the popular progressive knockout format (PKO). The format plays out differently than traditional bounty tournaments. Instead of winning an opponent’s entire bounty with an elimination, part of that bounty is also put on the winner’s head.

That means bounties increase throughout the tournament. The ultimate winner also cashes in his own bounty, which can also be sizable by the end of the event. Even Stars’ iconic Sunday Million has been converted to a PKO.

As part of the Bounty Builder, players will find two special edition Sunday Millions tournaments. Those two check in with a $109 buy-in and a $215 buy-in with both offer players a $1 million guarantee. Here’s a look at the entire schedule.

PokerStars Bounty Builder Series 2023

DateEvent
March 8#32: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO, Midweek Freeze], $50K Gtd
March 8#33-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 8#33-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 8#34: $55 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $125K Gtd
March 8#35: $109 8-Game [Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 8#36: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 8#37: $33 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $60K Gtd
March 8#38: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Fenomeno Special], $75K Gtd
March 8#39: $22 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $50K Gtd
March 8#40: $11 NLHE [6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $30K Gtd
March 9#41: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $125K Gtd
March 9#42: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 9#43-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 9#43-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 9#44: $11 PLO [Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 9#45-L: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Thursday Thrill], $175K Gtd
March 9#45-H: $1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill], $125K Gtd
March 9#46: $5.50 NLHE [5-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $25K Gtd
March 9#47: $109 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 9#48: $55 NLHE [4-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive Total KO, Bounty Quads], $50K Gtd
March 10#49: $5.50 NLHE [Progressive KO], $25K Gtd
March 10#50: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 10#51-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 10#51-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 10#52: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 10#53: $22 NL 2-7 Single Draw [6-Max, Progressive KO], $4K Gtd
March 10#54: $109 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 10#55: $22 NLHE [Progressive KO, The Rounder], $30K Gtd
March 10#56: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Fenomeno Special], $75K Gtd
March 10#57: $5.50 NLHE [6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $15K Gtd
March 11#58: $55 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 11#59: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 11#60-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 11#60-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 11#61: $55 NLHE [7-Max, Progressive KO, Big Knockouts], $50K Gtd
March 11#62: $109 5-Card PLO [Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 11#63: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 11#64: $33 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $60K Gtd
March 11#65: $22 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $50K Gtd
March 11#66: $11 NLHE [7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Last Player Standing], $20K Gtd
March 12#67: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Warm-Up], $125K Gtd
March 12#68: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Kick-Off], $150K Gtd
March 12#69: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Big $109 SE], $200K Gtd
March 12#70-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $400K Gtd
March 12#70-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $300K Gtd
March 12#71: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Sunday Million], $1M Gtd
March 12#72: $55 PLO [Progressive KO], $30K Gtd
March 12#73: $1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO, High Roller Freezeout], $125K Gtd
March 12#74: $109 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $150K Gtd
March 12#75: $55 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown], $125K Gtd
March 12#76: $11 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 40BB], $40K Gtd
March 12#77: $22 NLHE [4-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive Total KO, Bounty Quads], $50K Gtd
March 13#78: $33 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO, Monster Stacks], $100K Gtd
March 13#79: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 13#80-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 13#80-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 13#81: $22 NLHE [Progressive KO], $80K Gtd
March 13#82: $109 5-Card PLO8 [Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 13#83: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 13#84: $215 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $100K Gtd
March 13#85: $22 NLHE [Heads-Up, Turbo, Progressive Total KO, Zoom], $40K Gtd
March 13#86: $55 NLHE [Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $50K Gtd
March 14#87: $11 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $30K Gtd
March 14#88: $109 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $125K Gtd
March 14#89-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 14#89-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 14#90: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Super Tuesday], $125K Gtd
March 14#91: $33 NLO [6-Max, Progressive KO], $15K Gtd
March 14#92: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 14#93: $55 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $100K Gtd
March 14#94: $22 NLHE [6-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 14#95: $109 NLHE [7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Last Player Standing], $50K Gtd
March 15#96: $55 NLHE [Heads-Up, Progressive Total KO, The Shuffle], $50K Gtd
March 15#97: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO, Midweek Freeze], $50K Gtd
March 15#98-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 15#98-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 15#99: $5.50 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $30K Gtd
March 15#100: $55 PL 5-Card Draw [Progressive KO], $5K Gtd
March 15#101: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 15#102: $33 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $60K Gtd
March 15#103: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Fenomeno Special], $75K Gtd
March 15#104: $22 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 40BB], $40K Gtd
March 15#105: $55 NLHE [6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $50K Gtd
March 16#106: $162 NLHE [Progressive KO, Pacific Rim], $10K Gtd
March 16#107: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $100K Gtd
March 16#108: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 16#109-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 16#109-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 16#110: $11 PLO [Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 16#111-L: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Thursday Thrill], $175K Gtd
March 16#111-H: $1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill], $125K Gtd
March 16#112: $109 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $125K Gtd
March 16#113: $11 NLHE [Heads-Up, Turbo, Progressive Total KO, Zoom], $30K Gtd
March 16#114: $55 NLHE [Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $50K Gtd
March 17#115: $5.50 NLHE [Progressive KO], $25K Gtd
March 17#116: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 17#117-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 17#117-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 17#118: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 17#119: $22 PL Badugi [6-Max, Progressive KO], $6K Gtd
March 17#120: $109 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 17#121: $5.50 NLHE [Progressive KO, The Rounder], $20K Gtd
March 17#122: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Fenomeno Special], $75K Gtd
March 17#123: $22 NLHE [6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 25BB], $35K Gtd
March 18#124: $55 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 18#125: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 18#126-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 18#126-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 18#127: $55 NLHE [7-Max, Progressive KO, Big Knockouts], $75K Gtd
March 18#128: $109 6+ Hold'em [6-Max, Progressive KO], $10K Gtd
March 18#129: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Freezeout], $75K Gtd
March 18#130: $215 NLHE [Turbo, Progressive KO, Deep Stack], $100K Gtd
March 18#131: $55 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Adrenaline: 40BB], $50K Gtd
March 18#132: $22 NLHE [4-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive Total KO, Bounty Quads], $30K Gtd
March 19#133: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Warm-Up], $125K Gtd
March 19#134: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Kick-Off], $175K Gtd
March 19#135: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 19#136-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $400K Gtd
March 19#136-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $300K Gtd
March 19#137-L: $109 NLHE [Progressive KO, Main Event], $1M Gtd
March 19#137-H: $1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO, Main Event], $1.25M Gtd
March 19#138: $215 PLO [Progressive KO, PLO Main Event], $100K Gtd
March 19#139: $1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO, High Roller Freezeout], $125K Gtd
March 19#140: $5,200 NLHE [Progressive KO, Titans], $400K Gtd
March 19#141: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO], $175K Gtd
March 19#142: $109 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown], $175K Gtd
March 19#143: $33 NLHE [6-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $100K Gtd
March 19#144: $109 NLHE [7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Last Player Standing], $75K Gtd
March 20#145: $11 NLHE [Progressive KO], $60K Gtd
March 20#146-L: $55 NLHE [Progressive KO, Mini Bounty Builder HR], $150K Gtd
March 20#146-H: $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Bounty Builder High Roller], $100K Gtd
March 20#147: $215 NLHE [Progressive KO, Series Saver], $175K Gtd
March 20#148: $55 NLO8 [Turbo, Progressive KO], $20K Gtd
March 20#149: $22 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO], $50K Gtd
March 20#150: $109 NLHE [7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO, Series Wrap-Up], $60K Gtd

F1 partnership moves into second year

In other PokerStars news, the company recently began its second year in a Formula One partnership with Red Bull Racing. Stars is promising players and racing fans even more “epic experiences” throughout the F1 season. PokerStars returns to the track with even more planned including:

  • rewards for F1 fans
  • sharing promotions
  • competitions

The company is also adding more F1-themed content with chances to win experiences at some of the season’s most anticipated races. The PokerStars YouTube channel will take viewers behind the scenes at pivotal races.

The PokerStars Red Spade Pass also returns for the second year. This promotion offers PokerStars players ultimate experiences to make an F1 fan’s dreams come true.

“After an incredible first year racing alongside Oracle Red Bull, we are delighted to be going into the 2023 season with even more rewards, content, and epic experiences in the pipeline to take our partnership to the next level,” Flutter (Stars’ parent company)  director of partnerships, public relations, and consumer engagement Rebecca McAdam Willetts said in a news release.

“This partnership has enabled both us and Oracle Red Bull Racing to reach audiences who share similar passions and interests, and we still firmly believe that the team is the perfect fit for PokerStars.net, sharing our conviction that it is not just about what you offer fans, but the ethos and vision behind it.”

Even more F1 promotions in the works

The “Embrace the Race” events also return for the new season. These race weekend promotions feature rewards including Chicane Cash Drops, Spin & Go Races, odds boosts on sports bets, and a Casino Weekend Races Leaderboard.

The partnership includes all of PokerStars’ casino, poker, and sports betting products. Company branding appears on the halo of the RB19 car as well as the inner cockpit and rear wing end plate, driver race suits, and pit crew helmets.

“Partnering with PokerStars has been an ace move for the team,” Oracle Red Bull Racing team principal and CEO Christian Horner said in a news release. “Their commitment to entertainment and innovation is a winning formula that perfectly aligns with our own values in Formula One.

“As we enter another year together, we’re raising the stakes and taking our collective game to the next level. While we can’t reveal too much just yet, I can tell you that there are some truly exciting projects in the works, and we look forward to unveiling our plans in the coming months.”

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Poker Podium: Online Qualifiers Crushing, Ambassadors Chalk Up Nice Wins, Big Bluffs, & More

While it may have been a short month, some big online poker winners rose to the top in the month of February.

While it may have been a short month, some big online poker winners rose to the top in February. Online operators offered plenty of action with a few players also reaping massive rewards in live events after qualifying online.

Severa site ambassadors also recorded nice scores including Lex Veldhuis, Ian Simpson, and Vivian Saliba. Here’s a look at the latest Poker Podium and some players recording some wins in February.

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The ability to qualify for major online events remains a nice incentive for many online poker players. PokerStars offers numerous opportunities, whether just smaller buy-in satellites or major promotions like Platinum Passes.

The last month saw some of these qualifiers win big. That includes Razvan Belea recently winning the European Poker Tour Paris main event title for $1.2 million. He secured his seat via a €530 online qualifier and is more accustomed to playing low roller events, especially freerolls.

The Romanian may now be tempted to move up in stakes after such a life-changing win.

“This is unreal,” he said after the win. “It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of since I started playing poker.”

If that weren’t enough, the series also featured a stop on the France Poker Series. Another online qualifier found the winner’s circle with France’s Alan Gaosdoue taking down the €1,100 Main Event for €287,830.

PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis also showed off a massive hand in February when heads-up in the $540 Marathon. He ran a huge bluff with 5-high to take a massive pot and then went on to win the event for $5,213.

GGPoker

The $150 Overlay Edition highlighted much of the online action at GG in February. That culminated with Germany’s Philipp Gruissem taking the title earlier this week for $806,385.

The tournament brought in 64,622 entries for an $8.9 million prize pool. As part of the overlay, GG added $1.1 million to the prize pool. The win came after Gruissem took some time away from the game.

“I can still do it,” he noted on Twitter.

In other action, Collin Capone offered a look at what it’s like to win a GG Bounty Jackpot. Playing in a $10.80 Bounty Hunters event, he cashed in for more than $1,000.

Some good vibes also headed the way of GGPoker ambassador Kevin Martin recently. The Canadian poker pro and former Survivor contestant made quite the hero call in a huge pot with only Ace high. His instincts proved correct, eliminating his opponent in a $100 Sunday Hyper event.

888poker

A few days remain in the 888poker Mystery Bounty Series. The action runs through March 7 and the entire series features $2 million guaranteed.

The festivities kicked off on Feb. 19 and 888 ambassador Vivian Saliba making a deep run on the first day of action in the $109 Mystery Bounty Opening. The tournament came with a $120,000 guarantee and saw 1,032 entries. Players also vied for a top bounty of $12,000.

Saliba, of Brazil, ultimately finished fourth for $4,002. A pair of fellow Brazilians took the top two spots with “Leofoliveira” winning the event for a total of $10,812. “perrivini” took runner-up for $9,210, and here’s a look at the final hand.

As of March 1, Brazilians were dominating the series with six titles. The closest other countries were Montenegro, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom with two each

One of the other big events so far included the $109 Mystery Bounty Eight-Max, which came with a $150,000 guarantee. The action produced a field of 1,820 entries for a $182,000 prize pool with a top bounty of $15,000. 

player named “Anywayz” entered the final table in the middle of the pack, but was able to move up and take the win. Anywayz scored the $15,633 top prize plus $1,215 in bounties for a total of $16,848.

Another 888 team member scored a nice run in the series. In the $109 Mystery Bounty ($15,000 guaranteed), StreamTeam member Josh Manley made a final table appearance, finishing eighth for a total of $540.

Fellow ambassador Ian Simpson has quite the celebration after scoring a bounty tournament win for a $5,000 night.

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This operator recently announced a new tournament schedule including the weekly $109 Sunday Party. The PKO (progressive knockout) event comes with a $150,000 guarantee. Online qualifiers start at just $0.01.

The first event debuted on Feb. 6 with 1,608 entries, topping the guarantee by $10,800. “BinkusMaximus” took the inaugural Sunday Party win for a total of $15,955.

On Feb. 26, Party boosted the prize pool to $200,000 and saw 2,014 entries for a $201,400 prize pool. In the end, “Nepomniachtch” ended the party on top, scoring $10,985 with an additional $13,014 in bounties for a total of $23,999. “Takafogonela” took runner-up for a total payout of $13,634.

The new $22 Sunday Carnival includes a $50,000 guarantee and saw a boost to $75,000 on Feb. 26. The tournament saw 3,436 entries for a small overlay. In the end, “Spakman0888” grabbed the win in this PKO event for a payout of $4,254 plus $2,900 in bounties for a total of $7,154.

In other news, PartyPoker ambassador Jaime Staples remains a popular Twitch streamer and recently gave fans a look at how he streams on Twitch. Not a bad online poker setup.

Online Qualifier Takes Down PokerStars EPT Paris for $1.2M; FPS Winner Also Qualifies Online

The PokerStars EPT Paris stop produced big numbers with Razvan Belea taking the main event title for $1.2 million.

Live poker tours continue returning at PokerStare Live and the recent Paris stop showed the pent-up demand for more events. The European Poker Tour stop in France produced big numbers with Razvan Belea taking the main event title for $1.2 million.

The win came after the Romanian player won a seat via €530 online qualifier. The tournament saw 1,606 entries at the Hyatt Regency Etoile, the largest turnout for a new destination stop and sixth-largest EPT main event in tour history. Organizers said the stop greatly exceeded expectations.

“We are really pleased to bring live poker to Paris with the EPT and FPS events,” PokerStars head of live events/global operations Cedric Billot said in a news release. “We saw vast numbers and experienced some extremely exciting and impressive poker.”

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Romanian becomes country’s first PokerStars EPT champion

Following his online qualification via PokerStars, Belea (pictured in lead image courtesy PokerStars/Manuel Kovsca) became Romania’s first EPT main event winner. The 34-year-old had just over $100,000 in live tournament winnings prior to the EPT victory. He came into the Paris event more accustomed to playing freerolls than big buy-in events.

Belea’s previous best score came in 2021 when he won an 888poker Live Bucharest event for $58,728. He’s certainly now topped that and has an epic bullet point on his poker record.

“This is unreal,” he said after the win. “It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of since I started playing poker.”

Sweden’s Peter Jorgne finished runner-up after only playing his first live event just 10 months ago. He secured $833,645 for second place.

A look at other events

The series featured numerous other side events as well. The €50,000 Super High Roller attracted 68 entries with American Chris Brewer taking the win for €959,520.

This was the second title of the festival after also winning a €25,000 High Roller for $380,748. Brewer now has $7.8 million in live tournament winnings and was already looking ahead for more high stakes action.

The France Poker Series (FPS) also saw that series’ €1,100 Main Event play out at the Pairs festival. The tournament produced a tour record 2,071 entries for a €2 million prize pool.

France’s Alan Gaosdoue emerged victorious for €287,830. Like Belea, he also won his entry into the tournament via a PokerStars online qualifier.

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Next stops for EPT, FPS

Monte Carlo on the French Riviera is next up for the EPT and FPS from April 26 – May 6. The €1,100 FPS Main Event, €550 FPS Cup, and €2,200 FPS High Roller events kick off the series.

EPT action then begins on April 29 with the $100,000 Super High Roller followed by the Main Event from April 30 – May 6. A complete EPT schedule will be released soon, but the series highlights include:

  • €100,000 Super High Roller – April 29 to May 1
  • €5,300 Main Event – April 30 to May 6
  • €3,000 Mystery Bounty – May 2-4
  • €25,000 High Roller – May 4-6

Following Monte Carlo, the EPT heads to Barcelona before heading to Merit Royal Premium Hotel Casino for the first-ever Stars event in Cyprus.

PokerStars announced the return and complete schedule for the FPS recently as well. For a complete preview of that series, click here.

Players looking to qualify online like Gaosdoue and Belea will also have opportunities in the coming weeks. Many tour stops feature the option to win a seat-only package or a package that includes expenses as well.

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Live Events Continue to Return at PokerStars With France Poker Series Schedule Unveiled

Another week and another PokerStars Live series resurrected. The online poker operator continues bringing back popular live series for players around the world and that has included the Eureka Series, the Estrellas Poker Tour in Spain, and more in recent weeks.

The company also announced on Tuesday the return of the France Poker Series (FPS). Series organizers promise a packed schedule revisiting some favorite spots as well as exploring some new locations.

Players also have a chance to win their seats into live events through online qualifiers as well.

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Inside the PokerStars France Poker Series

Players looking to get in the action will find five stops across the country as well as neighboring Monaco and Belgium. The FPS Monte Carlo kicks off the schedule at Sporting Monte Carlo from April 26-30.

That’s followed by a stop in Namur at Circus Casino Resort Namur from May

12-21. FPS Namur features the Belgian Poker Challenge awarding a €1 million guarantee across all events. The main evenrt features a €750,000 guarantee and the high roller guarantees €100,000.

The Stade Jean Bouin rugby stadium in Paris will host a French Poker Series event in Paris. (photo courtesy Chabe01)

From July 15-23, the FPS heads to the French capital of Paris in the famous Stade Jean Bouin rugby stadium. Players can also expect a main event prize pool with a €1 million guarantee.

The fall season brings a trip to Aix les Bains and Casino Grand Cercle from Sept. 29 – Oct. 8. The 2023 schedule concludes with Aix en Provence at Pasino Grand from Nov. 10-19.

Additional details & qualifying online

Players joining in the FPS events will find plenty on the line at each stop. Each festival features a €1,100 Main Event as well as a €2,200 High Roller.

Players around the world can also win a seat in the series via online satellites near the date of each event. Satellites are available on the .COM, .FR and .ES platforms. Two types of prizes are up for grabs and include:

  • seat-only prizes valued at €1,100
  • seat plus expenses packages valued at €1,500

The FPS promises plenty of tournament fun and a nice opportunity at a European vacation for online qualifiers.

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No Need for a ‘Real Job’ – A Life in Streaming With PokerStars Ambassador Ben ‘Spraggy’ Spragg

PokerStars ambassador Ben "Spraggy" Spragg spoke with PokerScout about his transition from university to poker streamer and more.

Ben “Spraggy” Spragg has never had a “real job” and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Life as an online poker Twitch streamer and poker player certainly worked out for the longtime PokerStars ambassador.

During his studies at university, Spragg wasn’t sure what career would be a good fit. Poker seemed to interest him most and those college years actually proved to be his poker education.

“I had no real career plans,” he says. “I never really knew what I wanted to do. I was a first year politics student. And then I dropped politics because there’s just too much politics.”

Eventually, Spragg switched to a journalism, film, and TV degree, all the while playing semi-professionally. After graduating at age 22, the player from the United Kingdom transitioned into card playing full time.

The new media landscape presented a way to play poker and express his personality. Eight years later Spragg has one of the most popular poker channels on Twitch and continues to roll without that “real job.”

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“I kept playing once I graduated, and then started streaming when I was 25,” he told PokerScout while at the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC). “I had an audience of 10 people, but thought it’d be a fun thing to do, but then it just kind of snowballed. And then PokerStars saw the audience and they’re like, ‘why don’t you work with us?’”

Spragg has now worked with PokerStars for six years and lives the life many players dream of. He represents the new breed of poker site ambassador – having an audience in place, building content, and engaging with other players.

“Now I get to travel around the European Poker Tour and here in the Bahamas, and play all these big events,” he says, “and be a real part of a very fun team and a lot of fun projects.”

Online poker streaming with PokerStars

An affable personality and humorous approach is a major reason for Spragg’s success. His Twitch channel has more than 150,000 followers with 38,000 on YouTube.

He’s now been streaming for eight years. Looking back, could he have imagined playing poker full time representing PokerStars and achieving a major following online? Probably not, but there are some challenges that can come with managing his streaming enterprise and hitting the poker road so frequently.

“It’s very unique to not have had a job, straight from university into poker, and then into streaming,” he says. “Obviously, there are ups and downs. Poker is a very stressful situation because you don’t have a guaranteed paycheck, and you have to be very strict and responsible with yourself. And everything that I do now is streaming and commitments and traveling. I’m not going to sit here and say the job that I do is really hard. But there is a lot of work that goes into streaming.

“So whilst there are stressful days, there are days where I’ve got a lot going on or you lose at poker, and then people get on your back perhaps in chat or dealing with people or whatever. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do. I do think that comes from a certain amount of disgusting luck. But then you’ve got to work at it. It’s not just ‘come to the Bahamas and sit by the pool and play poker.’”

New projects in the works

Beyond simply streaming on Twitch, Spragg enjoys new experiences and opportunities to keep his creativity flowing. He’s now moving beyond online poker and appearing at more live events. That includes playing a full European Poker Tour schedule this year.

In the Bahamas, Spragg recorded three cashes and is hoping to build on that. He’ll also be building his YouTube platform as part of those travels.

Some new content with fellow PokerStars ambassador Parker Talbot. The Canadian streamer recently spent a few weeks at Spragg’s home and the two are fleshing out some ideas.

“Parker and I are working on a YouTube-type show that’s in its infancy at the moment and hopefully grows into something really fun,” he says. “I love making stuff with Parker because we’re not only very good friends, but I think we have a really good rapport when we’re on stream together.

“I’ve been streaming for a long time and still love streaming. It’s kind of the core of what I do, but I think we can do a lot more fun stuff.”

Considering his current role, those media skills learned in college actually helped after all. Spragg believes Twitch fits well for his personality and talents.

“I think it suits me very well in terms of just being off the cuff and riffing, and I can feel eight hours and hopefully have fun with it.,” he says. “But it can get repetitive after eight years. So it’s nice to engage in perhaps more creative stuff and try my hand at different things or working with some different people.”

Bringing Will Jaffe to the PSPC

Perhaps the recent Will Jaffe-PokerStars controversy serves as an example of Spragg’s wit and how he thinks on his feet. Jaffe is known for his fun “tough conversations” videos on Twitter and created one when he found out he’d been blocked by PokerStars for some reason.

Spragg was enlisted to help ease the tension and created his own video in response. What seemed like his own “tough convo” instead turned into quite a fun ending.

“That was one take, I didn’t script anything,” he says. “I had kind of had an idea of what I wanted to say, but I was on a tournament break. So I had 20 minutes. With a video like that, I think the more takes you do and the more you try and script it or plan it, the worse it’s going to end up because you sort of to be off the cuff.”

Spragg offered Jaffe a Platinum Pass if the poker pro could find his way to the Bahamas. But he didn’t spill the beans in the video until right at the end.

“He sort of did this whole bit of being upset with PokerStars,” Spragg says. “So I thought I’d scold him a little bit first. But then the big reveal at the end was that he won the Platinum Pass.”

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Some fun but striking out

The two then found some synergy at the PSPC. That all didn’t quite work out as hoped, however, and the Twitch streamer uses some of that typical humor to describe how everything turned out.

“I really like a lot of Will’s videos,” Spragg says. “I think he’s a very funny guy. And I think poker is more entertaining when you have characters like Will doing things like that. So it was quite an honor really to be a part of that and be able to invite Will down here to play the PSPC.

“But he busted. So I mean, what a loser really. I busted, he busted, we had a lot of swaps so that we could sweat each other and then we’re both just out. He did some great videos. We had some fun with the video back to him. But ultimately, zero dollars ahead.”

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Nightclubs, Pool Halls, & Playing Cards: PokerStars Ambassador Sam Grafton’s Wild Poker Journey 

Sam Grafton spoke with PokerScout at the PCA about his journey from playing in pool halls to becoming a PokerStars ambassador.

On a warm afternoon in the Bahamas, Sam Grafton is sporting a Phoenix Suns jersey as he sits outside the tournament area of the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC). The poker pro from the United Kingdom isn’t necessarily a fan of the team or even claims to be a follower of the NBA. He simply enjoys collecting jerseys, no matter the sport or how obscure.

“I don’t know anything about the Phoenix Suns,” he says. “It’s a great jersey though. When I’m in Vegas, I just buy some throwback sportswear and stuff like this.”

His interest in American sports gear occasionally leads to some humorous interactions.

“I’ve got like this Pittsburgh Steelers letterman jacket with all their championships on it,” he says. “I’ll be walking down the street sometimes and someone will be like ‘Steelers!” And I’m looking around and going, ‘Oh, yeah, go Steelers!’ Because to me, it’s just like nice clothing while I don’t really know so much about it.”

While Grafton may not know the ins and outs of the NFL and NBA, the Stars ambassador certainly knows his way around the poker table. He has $13.2 million in live tournament winnings and recently spoke with PokerScout at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where he found a deep run in the PSPC.

Grafton discussed his life in the game, including learning the ropes in a pool hall and cash games after late night working in a London club.

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Competitiveness & PokerStars PSPC success

Grafton’s interest in sports jerseys may come with some ulterior motives. He brings a few on the road for poker tournaments and feels a bit more of a competitive mindset come with donning some basketball or football gear.

That seemed to work out in the Bahamas. He took 12th in the PSPC for $238,700 , but that came with some mixed emotions after such a huge 2022 and coming so close to another massive final table appearance. He also scored 52nd in the PCA Main Event for $29,400.

“In one sense, it’s really nice to run deep to day three, so you feel like you’re deeper in the tournament,” he says. “You feel like ‘I’m in with a chance of winning this thing.’ Obviously with 1,000 runners, to get 12th is a very, very deep finish.

“So in one sense, it gives me a sense that I’m playing well and very proud of how I played. On the other hand, it’s a little bit of a crossbar moment, not quite getting there, not quite finishing things off.”

Despite some of those misgivings, Grafton loved the experience in the Bahamas

“I think the atmosphere is unbelievable,” he told PokerScout. “Because people are bringing their families, girlfriends, partners, husbands, and loved ones. So that’s really nice – being able to just spend the morning on the beach, get the sand between your toes before you go and play poker.

“There’s just a very convivial atmosphere at the tables. And then I think, not to blow our own trumpet, but I think we’ve done a really good job of making this a great event. We’re setting the gold standard for how live events are conducted and I really think that we’ve done that here.”

A massive 2022 tournament record

Last year proved to be a big time for Grafton. In November, he scored a runner-up finish in the €50,000 Diamond High Roller in the World Series of Poker Europe for $465,852.

September came with a win in the $200,000 Triton Poker Coin Rivet Invitational, taking down a massive $5.5 million. In the same series, Grafton grabbed a runner-up in a $50,000 event for another $994,500.

In May he landed a fifth-place finish in a €100,000 Triton event for $756,631. March included a win and runner-up in European Poker Tour Prague events for a combined $300,000. Throughout much of the year, deep tournament runs kept heading Grafton’s way.

Winning pool hall poker sessions

Many of those skills at the poker table came after learning the game late in his 20s. After graduating from university, Grafton moved back home for a while. His brothers regularly played cards and some snooker at a local billiards hall. Grafton soon joined in.

“I used to go down there with the little bit of money I’d earned and play,” he says. “And I was always interested in winning because I couldn’t really afford to lose. I needed it to be a sort of self-sustaining hobby where I could at least break even, so straight away I was interested in the strategy of things.”

Grafton joins a long list of players who found poker at the pool hall. That includes legends like Bobby Baldwin, Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston, and Daniel Negreanu.

In his autobiography The Godfather of Poker, Doyle Brunson even described playing in the back of a billiards hall when someone was shot. He escaped through a creek behind the building. Grafton’s games were a bit more docile than that story.

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Sam Grafton battling on Day 2 of the PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas. (photos courtesy PokerStars/Joe Giron)

Sober guy at the poker table

After moving to London, Grafton took a job at a nightclub making about £80 a night. After those late night hours, he’d then hit a poker room. Working the front of the club instead of being a patron came with an advantage. 

“It was probably a good time to play because I was stone cold, sober having finished my shift and everyone else was drunk,” he says.

At the end of the night, Grafton often came out ahead. While doing an unpaid internship at an NGO, poker seemed like a nice way to pay the rent. He’d play up to five nights a week and just seemed to keep winning.

“I came to love it,” he says. “I’d finish my shift and I’d get the train from south London to east London, and go in and play and get the last tube home. During the days, I’d just be thinking about poker hands and I’d be so excited to go and keep playing. When the internship finished, I just kept going.”

With millions of dollars in winnings and now representing PokerStars, that looks to have been a wise decision.

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ESPT Series Returns With Five PokerStars Live Events Across Spain, Online Qualifiers Included

PokerStars announced on Monday the return of the Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) with five stops planned for this year. The tour brings major tournaments across Spain, featuring major prize pools and plenty of side events.

The first event is set for Madrid, kicking off March 23. All events feature online qualifiers available for players looking to win a tournament package.

At each stop on the schedule, tour organizers promise “the electric atmosphere and experience that comes with a live event.”

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Details on the PokerStars ESPT schedule

The Madrid series is set to play out at Gran Madrid Casino Torrelodones from March 23 – April 2. Summer then brings the ESPT Castellón at Orenes Gran Casino Castellón from June 29 – July 9.

The tournament action then heats up at Casino Barcelona from Aug. 21-27. The fall then brings a pair of events to close out the schedule. ESPT Málaga hits Casino De Juego De Torrequebrada from Sept. 14-24.

That’s followed by Casino Admiral Sevilla from Nov. 2-12. Each stop includes a €1,100 Main Event and €2,200 High Roller.

Qualifying online, new partnership announced

Players around the world looking to grab a seat can qualify via the .COM, .FR and .ES platforms. Online satellites feature two types of prizes up for grabs:

  • Tournament seat only – valued at €1,100
  • Tournament seat plus expenses package – valued at €1,500

A key ESPT highlight is the announcement of a new partnership with Campeonato de España de Poker (CEP), Spain’s major tournament series.

CEP tournaments will open each festival for the first few days before the ESPT events commence. Organizers believe the agreement adds significantly to the live poker scene in Spain.

PokerStars announced on Monday the return of the Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) with five stops planned for this year. T

 “We are delighted with this agreement,” CEP manager Salvador Suriol said in a news release. “For years, the organization has been working to consolidate the deal for the Spanish circuits as a leader and benchmark in poker.

“In 2018, we were the circuit with the highest number of total participants. In 2019 we were the circuit with the highest number of participants, both total and on average of all the stops. For sure this new collaboration will allow the CEP to take another leap in quality and we hope that the players are as excited as we are.”

PokerStars has announced more and more live events for 2023. That recently included the announcement that the Latin American Poker Tour would also be revived.

The PokerStars Eureka series also heads to King’s Casino in Czech Republic from March 13-20. That series features a €1,100 Main Event from March 16-20 with a €1 million guarantee.

Spain now becomes a major part of PokerStars Live schedule as well. Here’s a look at the complete series.

PokerStars Estrellas Poker Tour 2023

CityLocationDates
MadridGran Madrid Casino TorrelodonesMarch 23 – April 2
CastellónOrenes Gran Casino CastellónJune 29 – July 9
BarcelonaCasino BarcelonaAug. 21-27
MálagaCasino De Juego De TorrequebradaSept. 14-24
SevillaCasino Admiral SevillaNov. 2-12

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Poker, Travel, & Content Creation: A Conversation With PokerStars Ambassador Parker Talbot 

PokerStars streamer and ambassador Parker Talbot spoke with PokerScout at the PCA about being poker nomad, new projects, content creation, and more.

PokerStars streamer ambassador Parker “Tonkaaap” Talbot has hit the poker road for the long haul. The Canadian has $1.1 million in live tournament winnings and hopes to boost that with some time away from home.

Talbot has been a bit of a poker nomad lately. More travel is in the works for the coming months, he told PokerScout while at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

“It’ll be fun,” he said of the continued travel. “I’m still young and hip with it enough that I can get away with that. I feel like I’m getting a bit old for living out of a suitcase, but it’ll be alright. I’ll enjoy it for sure.”

Recently Talbot visited the Bahamas, Croatia, and other parts of Europe. More live poker and more travel certainly seem on his menu. He spoke with PokerScout about poker in Canada, travel, streaming, new projects, and more.

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Poker changes in Ontario, hitting the road

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Talbot (pictured in lead image courtesy PokerStars/Eloy Cabacas) witnessed the online poker changes in his home province last year. Ontario went from a wide-open market to a ringed-in environment.

Some skilled players, like fellow Stars ambassador Arlie Shaban, have found success in smaller fields. Others would rather be part of the larger international online poker landscape.

So far, Talbot hasn’t played in the Ontario market after hitting the road for more live action. 

“I was only really home for a couple of weeks over the holidays,” he said. “I basically bounced from Ontario when it happened.

“I stayed at Spraggy’s (Ben Spragg) house for a couple months, just bopping around and playing on the .com client. So I’ve just stayed out of the Ontario player pool and stayed in the main player pool outside of Ontario. I’ve just been traveling around and that’s going to be the plan for the next few months.”

The road trip paid off in December with a fifth-place finish in the European Poker Tour Prague Main Event for $293,352.

More travel on the horizon

Croatia has been a particular favorite. Talbot visited a friend in the country for a couple weeks and is eager for a return trip.

“I might end up there for a couple months this year at some point just to chill and whatever,” he says. “It’s just a really nice place. Everybody’s really friendly, everything’s cheap.”

Some other potential trips include South America, notably Brazil, as well as Asia. Also next up for Talbot is a poker trip to the EPT stop in Paris, France. Life as a full-time poker player has gone hand in hand with traveling for those who enjoy life on the road exploring. That seems to describe the Canadian poker pro.

“I really need to do some traveling abroad,” he says. “I’ve literally just spent my life in North America and in Europe more or less … but not really outside of those. I could just bounce around. I like to plan to go to places where I have friends or know people already.”

Moving beyond streaming

Many poker fans know Talbot from his Twitch channel, which has 125,000 followers. He’s also active on social media and has a YouTube channel with 69,000 subscribers.

Talbot has streamed less lately, but still plans on some upcoming month-long stints of major online series. Some new media projects are also ahead including teaming up with Spragg

“I’ll be doing a lot of YouTube this year, playing and doing some live poker vlogs,`” he says. “Spraggy and I have got a bunch of YouTube cooked up for the pipeline this year. So you’re going to do a bunch of YouTube content this year in a couple of months.”

Returning to YouTube brings Talbot back to a place earlier in his career. He regularly dropped stream highlights on the site and had one of the biggest poker YouTube channels at one point. The new effort will offer more unique content.

Viewers may not realize just how much work goes into creating video content, Talbot notes. Seeing return on investment requires plenty of effort and content creators do much more than turn on the cameras.

“I’m not editing videos myself or doing anything like that, I’ve got a team for that,” he says. “But even on the content side, obviously it’s a grind. During the whole back end of uploading and editing and all that, the people who do YouTube and do all that stuff on their own, I have mad respect because it’s serious. It’s a lot of work.”

Bringing something new

Finding an audience among a packed Twitch, YourTube, and podcast environment isn’t easy. A quick search for “poker” among any of these platforms yields dozens and dozens of options. Finding a niche can be challenging. Talbot sees YouTube as quite different however

“With YouTube, I find that there’s really no reason to separate each other,” he says. “YouTube is really a different beast than Twitch. On Twitch, you have a listing and you’re competing with everyone in the listing for viewers. The top dog is always going to get the most viewership.

“Whereas on YouTube, if you have similar content you can just push people toward each other. Because you don’t watch a video at the same time – you watch a video and then another video and then another video. So if you have a whole bunch of similar content like me, Fintan Hand, Lex Veldhuis, and Spragg all in the Twitch poker listing, obviously we’re going to be cutting each other’s throats battling for viewership.”

However on YouTube, Talbot sees more of a team approach with his fellow PokerStars ambassadors and streamers.

“I think we can push viewers to each other’s channels and kind of grow together,” he says. “So I don’t think it’s necessarily that important to differentiate each other – just make good content.”


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Advice for others & fun times in the Bahamas

As poker streaming and vlogging continue to grow in popularity, more players seem ready to fire up the microphone and camera. With hundreds of hours on stream, Talbot offered some advice for those looking to dive. Making sure there is some consistency is a major part of that.

“If you want to do it, just do it,” he says. “It’s not that hard. We’ve all got iPhones these days with good cameras. You can vlog if you want to.

“Once you make a go of something, be it streaming, YouTube, whatever, you have to make a schedule and stick to it. It’s the most important thing with any kind of social media, influencing, Twitch, YouTube, anything like that. Hopefully have a personality for it and be a little bit entertaining.”

Talbot was pleased to see the PCA return this year. He thinks the series served as a great way to bring players of all levels together, especially for the PokerStars Players Championship.

“Four years later, finally,” he says. “It’s incredible. I haven’t heard any bad things yet. Everybody that I’ve talked to just had a good time.”

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ON THE BUTTON: Rafael Moraes Talks Brazilian Poker, His Father’s Approval, Twitch, & More

PokerStars ambassador Rafael Moraes spoke about his poker life, winning his father's approval to play full time, Twitch, and more.

Brazil has become a booming market for online poker and the game in general over the last few years. That ranges from seeing major tournament winners to the rapid growth of the online game in the country.

Companies such as PokerStars are investing heavily in the market with events like the Brazilian Series of Poker and other events. Stars ambassador Rafael Moraes has seen that growth in the land of samba and sun first hand. He believes Brazil’s passion for sports and a deep sense of community go hand in hand with poker’s surge in popularity.

“It’s crazy,” he told PokerScout recently while playing in the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship. “I think the Brazilian community is so strong. We have a culture for football (soccer) and we love competition. We all love to be together, we love to root for friends.”

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And while many in the country may not have the funds to play at higher levels, seeing countrymen do well is a major part of players’ interest in the game.

“We are a country with a lot of difficulty, a country without so much money for basic things,” Moraes says. “And when we see some Brazilians doing nice things in the world, it’s amazing. They are representing us, so I think in the last five years that has come to poker. That kind of social game and competition does really well in Brazil.”

Moraes has his own Brazilian poker success story to add to that dynamic.

Father gives poker life the thumbs up

Like some other poker pros, Maroes gravitated to poker from another game – chess. But as a teenager, he realized some of those same skills could apply to a game that offered a better chance at a payday.

“I was an amateur chess player,” he says. “A lot of chess players in Brazil started to migrate to playing poker because there are better odds to make money. Poker is a mind game like chess. So I started playing at PokerStars when I was 18, and started to make some money playing tournaments while in university at that time.”

Those winnings continued to grow and Moraes soon faced a crossroads – whether to launch into poker full time or not. Making that jump isn’t always a popular choice among players’ family members, at least initially. However, Moraes experienced quite the opposite when he decided to see where the game could take him.

“I asked my father if I could try to play poker for a living,” he says. “And my father said, ‘but son, what’s poker?’”

Poker is more of a family game in Brazil, Moraes says. Many don’t realize there is serious money to be made for skilled players.  He asked his father to read a book on poker, which he did in one day. After understanding how the game works, Moraes’s father gave his blessing.

“He’s an engineer, so he knows a lot about mathematics and odds,” Moraes says. “It’s amazing how he understood that game. He said it was good that I was making money.”

Moraes’s father said his son was still young and could see how things went. If the poker career didn’t pan out, he could return to his university studies.

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Streaming, playing, and finding poker success

Now age 30, that choice has worked out well. He now has more than $1.9 million in live tournament winnings. The biggest of that came in 2016 when the player originally from Sao Paulo scored third in the €25,750 High Roller at the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo. That brought a payday of $655,779.

In 2022, Moraes won a Brazilian Series of Poker event for $60,762. When not playing live, he can also be found streaming on Twitch. He loves that aspect of his poker life because Maroes sees Twitch as a way to spread his love of the game in Brazil.


“The people in Brazil can see me playing, teaching, making final tables, and running deep,” he says. “Every week I run a freeroll on my home game on PokerStars. They can start to play without a bankroll. Because in Brazil a $10 buy-in is too much for a lot of people. With my freerolls, community, and teaching classes, people can start playing without putting up much money.”

Looking back, Moraes knows his father’s blessing helped launch him to success on the felt. He’s happy to be living his dream.

“Now I’m a high stakes poker player,” he says. “And I’m traveling abroad, playing the biggest PokerStars events on the road, and I live stream my play on Twitch.”

For Moraes, that’s the perfect poker life.

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Kicking It With PokerStars Ambassador and Former Football Player Steve Enriquez

PokerStars ambassador Steve Enriquez spoke with PokerScout at the PCA about his life in poker and football.

Looking back on his life in football (“soccer” for those in some countries), PokerStars ambassador Steve Enriquez was torn. He had a real passion for football but also loved poker. A competitor at heart, he faced a dilemma.

Enriquez was playing in the Spanish third division, between the semi-pro and professional ranks. Some time with clubs like Atlético Osasuna and Real Racing Club de Santander was nice, but the goal-scorer seemed stuck. Could he rise up to higher levels of play or be relegated to the lower divisions?

On the other hand, Enriquez seemed to be finding success playing poker online. He faced a crucial decision.

“At some point I had to decide between football and poker,” he says. “And it was a bit tricky for me because my heart was in football. But my head was saying, ‘Let’s go for poker because you can reach much more.’”

So far that has proven to be a nice choice. Enriquez is now living a life many poker players dream of – becoming a member of Team PokerStars, playing plenty of cards, and traveling the world.

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Life on the pitch & the online poker felt

Like many football players, Enrriquez fantasized of landing a nice pro contract. Even signing a decent deal in the second division would have been a huge achievement. But despite being a top scorer in the league, a promotion never materialized.

Instead, he’s now as heavily involved with poker as a player can probably get – playing online, producing YouTube content, Twitch streaming, and since 2013 working as a Spanish commentator on PokerStars broadcasts.

That recently included calling much of the streaming action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA).

“My future was very clear and I decided to keep improving my poker,” he says.

By the time he left football behind, Enriquez had already put in hundreds of hours of online poker. He was also a regular in live poker events when not scoring goals. The soccer player was certainly a busy man.

“I was doing everything, playing the regional circuits in Spain and also traveling to Las Vegas,” he says. “I was able to come to Las Vegas in June because that’s when the season is over. So I had time to come for two or three weeks. But during the football season, it’s very tough to travel to some poker events because Saturdays and Sundays are match days. So you are not able to travel that much.”

Team dynamics at the poker table

Steve Enriquez battles it out at the table. (photos courtesy PokerStars/Danny Maxwell)

Sometimes Enrqiuez’s life on the pitch and at the poker table intersected. Playing in the lower divisions often involves plenty of travel time and breaking out some cards and chips was a regular part of his team’s routine.

“In Spain, football is very related to poker,” he says. “We played on the bus going to the next match. It could be four hours by bus. Or even on the train, we loved to play card games on the bus including poker.”

By this time, however, Enriquez had already been playing for years and most of those team games were pretty low-stakes affairs. His participation often involved providing some poker pointers.

“I didn’t want to take the money from the guys,” he says. “I was just having fun – I normally just watched the game and helped out.”

Action at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure & making his Super Bowl pick

The athlete turned poker player remains a huge sports fan, even checking out American football. During his time at the PCA in the Bahamas, Enriquez checked out the NFL playoffs and believes the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl.

While he excelled on the soccer pitch, would the PokerStars ambassador have liked to play football as a youngster?

“Yes, I was actually very fast so I could probably run like a wide receiver or a  running back for sure,” he says laughing. “I can kick too. Those are the two talents I have – running and kicking. That’s it.”

Obviously, some poker skills and talents behind the microphone could be included with those talents as well. He was happy to call much of the action on the PokerStars Spanish stream at the PCA.

The event turned out great, he says, and provided a real chance to bring together a diverse group of players from around the world hoping to live out their poker dreams.

“I think the word that describes what players are feeling is joy,” he says. “Everybody wants to be the new Ramon Colillas.”

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