PokerStars and its Evolving Choice of Ambassadors

PokerStars and its Evolving Choice of AmbassadorsUp until 2012, PokerStars mostly chose its sponsored ambassadors based upon how successful they were at the tables, with players such as Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier and Bertrand Grospellier occupying pride of position on its roster of pros.
Post-Black Friday, however, a combination of factors caused the brand to overhaul its approach to sponsorship deals, including poker’s waning viewership on television, the novelty of becoming a poker pro losing some of its mystique, offset by a corresponding surge in popularity of social media and the cult of celebrity.
Consequently, top pros such as Selbst, Mercier and Grospellier have now parted ways with PokerStars, while the brands current marketing campaign is being led by retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and comedian Kevin Hart, following in the path of previous sponsored sportsmen such as Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr.
“We also believed that our ambassadors should not solely be winners and credible/authentic poker players but should live and breathe the game, proactively creating excitement around it and generating multimedia content that reaches multiple audiences,” explains Eric Hollreiser, director of corporate communications for The Stars Group.
In terms of the poker pros it does still sponsor, PokerStars no longer values just highly skilled players, but also those who have been able to attract impressive followings on social media and live streaming platforms, such as Twitch. This has then led to players such as Jason Somerville Jeff Gross, and Jaime Staples becoming an integral part of the site’s “Team Online”.
Hollreiser explains that many of these players see themselves as professional streamers first and professional poker players second, and elaborating further explained:
“And so their success is as much driven by the power of their personality and ability to attract a community as it is their poker prowess or their winning percentage or their ROI.”
Meanwhile, the flurry of long time pros leaving the site of late has led to a great deal of speculation as to who will be the next to part ways with PokerStars. HighStakes DB even held a poll on twitter recently in which voters got to choose from the following four players, with their corresponding percentage of votes shown in brackets; Barry Greeenstein (39%), Jake Cody (30%), Randy Lew (20%), and Liv Boeree (11%).


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