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In an interview with CardPlayerLA, PokerStars Regional Manager Juan Carreno revealed that two-time Latin American Poker Tour champ Jose "Nacho" Barbero along with Mexican pro Angel Guillen would no longer return as Team Pros. He also discussed the reason behind the move and assured that it had nothing to do with Amaya's recent acquisition of the company.
"It was a change in strategy due to a budget reduction. Even though the region is growing well, countries like Argentina or Mexico can't support two Team Pros," he said. "It's something difficult to take advantage of since we don't have live events in either of the two countries. Justifying those investments becomes very difficult, even knowing that they are great players."
Also on the chopping block was the Costa Rican two-time bracelet winner Humberto Brenes (pictured above), who announced on Monday that he and the online poker giant would be parting ways. "My contract with PokerStars ended in late July and it was not renewed," Brenes told PokerNews. "This decision was made through mutual agreement between the parties. The terms of the renewal were not suited for the company or for myself, so we decided to end the relationship."
Brenes said the departure was mutual and he is focusing on family and business ventures back in his home country. "One of my sons has already been incorporated into our company working as an engineer and the other two are close to graduating," he said. "[PokerStars'] new management approach goes beyond poker. They had to make strategic decisions and I think in my case this came at a good time."
Another reason for the change, according to Carreno, was the need for fresh faces from countries that so far have not been represented. "The reason why Angel and Nacho were chosen to leave was because they had already been with us for a long time," he said. "There has to be a generational change. New figures arrive, new talents. I've got some players in mind that I'd like to hire, but I can't say too much about it right now."
Marketing execs at Ultimate Poker, the first online poker site to enter the regulated US market, seem to be making changes to their own dream teams as well. As SrslySirius pointed out on 2+2, William Reynolds, Jeremy Ausmus (pictured), Phil Collins, and Brent Hanks no longer appear listed under the Team U Roster on the company's website. The Station Casinos-owned site still sponsors four pros, including inaugural Big One for One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari.
PokerStars still keeps a large number of pros on-hand, including 34 Team Pros, 21 Team Online Pros, and 3 Team SportStars. Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, and Rafael Nadal are just a few of the members of the company's large stable.
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