PokerStars is an online poker portal owned by Toronto-based The Stars Group Inc. The portal can be accessed via downloadable apps on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Started by the Costa Rican shores in 2001, PokerStars’ shot to fame arrived when one of its online tournaments produced the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) winner in Chris Moneymaker. In what would later be called the ‘Moneymaker effect’, Chris Moneymaker’s triumph proved to be a watershed moment for not only PokerStars, but also for the online poker industry in general. PokerStars had been brought to the mainstream, and there was no going back.
Seventeen years, several relocation, buyouts, and a particular liaison with the Department of Justice later, PokerStars currently stands as the largest real money online poker site on the planet, controlling over 67% of the total online poker market. PokerStars averages over 15,000 players daily, who can indulge in a multitude of poker variations –
- Texas Hold’em
- Omaha / Omaha Hi/Lo
- 5 Card Omaha / 5 Card Omaha Hi/Lo
- Courchevel / Courchevel Hi/Lo
- Seven Card Stud / Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo
- Triple Stud
- Horse & 8-Game
- Five Card Draw
- 2-7 Triple Draw / 2-7 Single Draw
Not only this, PokerStars is also a favourite of many big-name celebrities from different walks of life – the likes of Usain Bolt, Aaron Paul, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Piqué, Gianluigi Buffon, Rafael Nadal, to name a few, all of whom users can play with in high-stakes events.
A lot of household names have served as a brand ambassador for the biggest online poker community. We take a look at some select few.
28-year-old Steve Enríquez is an ex-footballer, Spanish TV presenter and professional poker player. Having discovered poker at the end of 2009, Enríquez went on become the youngest ever Spanish player to join the PokerStars Spanish team.
He currently serves as a brand ambassador to PokerStars’ Team Pro Online since April 2019.
Football superstar Neymar Jr was announced as a brand ambassador to PokerStars in May 2015. The Brazilian has show up in a lot of PokerStars’ live and online events. He has featured in PokerStars events alongside the likes of Hollywood superstar John Boyega and former teammates Giovani Lo Celso and Gerard Piqué.
“Growing up and playing football everyday has made me a competitive person. When I’m not playing football, playing poker and competing against my teammates on the road or in-home games with friends is one of my favourite things to do,” said Neymar Jr. “To be a successful poker player, you require many of the same skills needed to be a successful footballer – mental strength is important; resilience, patience, composure and focus. I love the challenge, whether it’s on the football pitch or at the poker table.”
Arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo was also announced as a PokerStars brand ambassador in May 2015. Aside from promoting the platform through his mammoth social media reach, Ronaldo has also featured in a many online and live PokerStars events, occasionally playing against celebrities like actor Aaron Paul and former Miss World Mireia Lalaguna.
“I like playing for winning teams and PokerStars is the perfect partner for me,” Ronaldo said. “As a brand, it is always looking at ways to improve and stay ahead of the curve, and as an athlete that is something I truly respect. I started playing poker a few years ago and I love the competition, strategy and fun. I’m looking forward to taking my game to the online and live poker tables and meeting my fans head to head. Although football is my world, poker has always been my game. I’m very excited to join the team.”
The renowned Indian actor was announced as PokerStars India’s brand ambassador in May 2019. As part of the signing, Siddiqui featured in a string of PokerStars adverts.
“It’s a great pleasure to be associated with PokerStars India,” said Siddiqui talking about his ambassadorship with PokerStars. “I have been intrigued by poker for some time now as I believe it hits the magic balance between being easy to learn yet gives ongoing opportunities to increase your knowledge and master the game. PokerStars is one of the most popular and trusted poker brands in the world thanks to its wide range of tournaments and games, excellent 24/7 customer support, top level security and award-winning software. I am looking forward to improving my poker skills alongside some of the best professional poker players at PokerStars India.”
Former India captain M.S. Dhoni replaced Niwazzudin Siddiqui as a PokerStars brand ambassador earlier this year in July. Dhoni’s signing was unveiled with an advert for PokerStars India’s ‘I’m In’ campaign.
“I am excited to be associated with the PokerStars family. The thrill, the excitement, the pressure, and the competitiveness of it – these are just some parallels I can draw between poker and cricket. In the last few years there has been a change in the mindset of people when they think of online Poker. Online Poker like any game of skill requires one to be strategic and play responsibly. Slowly but surely it is being recognized as a sport that is fun and quick to learn but rich in its complexity. With this collaboration we hope to take online Poker to a larger audience.” said MS Dhoni upon his unveiling.
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal was a brand ambassador for PokerStars between 2012 to 2015.
“It’s no secret that I love to compete and try my very best in everything, whether that’s tennis, golf or video games,” Nadal said while talking about his ambassadorship. “When I discovered the game of poker, I chose to join PokerStars because they understand what it takes to be the best and associate themselves with the qualities of champions. I’m very happy to be working with them.”
However, PokerStars decided to drop Nadal in 2015 after observing a drop in his performances over the course of previous two years.