During the poker boom of the 2000s, it seemed every player who’d won a tournament signed an ambassador deal. Those sponsorships are now more difficult to come by and often require more than just live tournament results.
On Tuesday, PokerStars announced the signing of six ambassadors and several bring more than just winning statistics. As poker sites work to bring more players into the game, often a player’s platform may be as important as winnings. Personality helps too.
Five of the six new PokerStars players are Twitch streams and just a couple stand out in live tournaments. The deals signal where online poker stands now, with a player’s community a major factor in representing a brand.
Beyond that, another interesting note is the inclusion of two Americans from the state of Pennsylvania. This may signal how PokerStars sees the possibility for growth in the US market.
Adding to the PokerStars team
A few of the new PokerStars team members may be recognizable for poker fans. Those include poker pros Sam Grafton and Parker “tonkaaaaP” Talbot.
A few up and coming Twitch streamers also join the mix including:
- Andre “ACoimbraPoker” Coimbra
- Lasse “WisternJL” Jagd Lauritsen
- Keith “AccidentalGrenade” Becker
- Mark “naigo1” Foresta
“We are proud to expand our team and welcome these brilliant ambassadors for the game to PokerStars,” company associate director of communities and partnerships Scott Goodall said in a news release.
“The cornerstones of our strategy are supporting poker players and poker streamers, in particular new talent who have tons of potential and drive to grow, alongside creating a fun and welcoming environment for our community on Twitch and in other spaces. We’re excited to bring on board our new ambassadors so they can share their journeys, inspire others, and most importantly have fun.”
Live poker crushers join PokerStars
Grafton may be the best known among the new ambassadors with more than $4.1 million in live tournament winnings. The English pro’s biggest live cash was in the 2019 EPT Barcelona Super High Roller, where he scored €1.3 million.
At PokerStars, Grafton will serve as a poker commentator as well as getting involved with content and activities.
“I’m really excited to join the team and I was really excited when I heard ‘tonkaaaaP’ was coming on board at the same time,” Grafton said of the news on Talbot’s on stream. “I’ve really enjoyed working with PokerStars over the last year, and now I’m contractually obliged to turn up anytime Joe Stapleton requests a commentary buddy.”
Talbot has more than $750,000 in live tournament winnings and more than $3 million online. The Canadian poker pro’s new role includes plenty of streaming and content creation.
Talbot is considered one of the best high stakes players on Twitch. Some
notable online wins include a $109,000 SCOOP score and a Super Tuesday win for over $100,000. He also has a WCOOP title after topping a field of 842 to win $51,000,
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) April 5, 2021
“It’s going to be unreal, I’m very excited to join,” Talbot said on the PokerStars SCOOP Twitch stream.
Joining the PokerStars team, ready to stream
Streaming has become a bigger part of the PokerStars ambassador crew. Beyond Grafton, four other Twitch players also join the PokerStars crew with two from Europe.
Portugal’s Coimbra returns to the team with goals of growing his Twitch and social media communities. Another goal is winning a large live tournament.
Taking second in the TRIO series Main Event last year became his best streaming moment to date. Coimbra racked up his biggest score in a poker tournament with thousands of viewers following his action.
— André Coimbra (@andrebcoimbra) April 6, 2021
“I’m very happy having the opportunity of joining Team Pro again and once again to be an ambassador for my favorite poker site,” he said.
Lauritsen is from Denmark and loves poker streaming. The 23-year-old goes live as much as six days a week and is looking to grow his community.
His online platform involves “drinking coffee and talking about the most random stuff,” his Twitch bio notes.
Reaching out to US players with new streamers
Two of the more interesting additions might be two American players. The US market may be more open for online poker after a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Online poker is now legal in six states with others considering legalization. PokerStars now operates platforms in three US states:
Two of the new ambassadors stream their action from Pennsylvania. Becker fell in love with poker while playing with friends. His competitive drive inspired him to take poker seriously.
“Keith will be streaming on PokerStars PA and his aims are to break down the walls for those new to poker and bring more people to the game,” the company notes in a news release.
Rising Twitch streamer Foresta rounds out the new PokerStars ambassadors. He’s also looking forward to streaming on PokerStars PA.
The company notes that his goals of “inspiring others to enjoy the game and being able to share streaming successes with his community.”