For the last couple of years Jeff Gross has been working hard to build a social media following and Twitch audience. On Monday that hard work paid off when he showed up to play Day 1C of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event as the newest member of Team PokerStars Pro.
Gross, who has nearly 35,000 Twitter followers, 29,000 Twitch followers and almost 500,000 views on his YouTube channel, first started talking to PokerStars earlier this year about finding a way to work together.
“It was a goal to get a deal with one of the major sites and pokerStars being the industry leaders it was definitely what I wanted. When they reached out I was like ‘Absolutely, let’s go let’s make it happen, I want to be a part of Team PokerStars’, and it happened,” Gross said.
PokerStars is just as happy to have Gross on board.
“We are delighted that Jeff has signed up to the team, joining Igor Kurganov as another top quality poker pro entering the ranks of Team PokerStars Pro this year,” said Eric Hollreiser, Director of Corporate Communications at PokerStars. “Jeff’s passion, enthusiasm and poker credibility makes this is a great partnership.”
Gross’ Twitch stream, the Poker Flow Show, has grown in popularity over the last year thanks largely to Gross’ ability to engage his viewers and make them feel like their an active part of the show, not just a viewer. It’s that mentality that he’s hoping to bring to PokerStars.
“I want someone to come to a PokerStars Championship event, be able to come and play, not feel intimidated, have fun, sit down and whether it’s for a hobby or they maybe want to do it more professionally, and that it’s fun,” said Gross. “That’s sort of the same direction that Stars is going with Kevin Hart, Usain Bolt and just their overall demeanor as a company it seems to moving the right way.”
Gross, who will be part of the Streamboat along with good friend Bill Perkins later this fall, sees some of the things happening in the world of poker right now that have him excited.
“I have some big goals and visions with poker in general, and I just see the excitement, the bigger numbers in a lot of tournaments, other venues to which are pressing and it’s making the industry a lot of fun again,” said Gross. “And I see a lot of new stops and countries like Brazil, India, China now, just expanding and I feel like the US is going to get legalized in a couple of states which never know but it seems like they’re close.”
The 30-year-old knows he’s going to have critics based on some of the things PokerStars has done over the past 18 months, but part of the reason he agreed to join Team PokerStars was their willingness to take feedback from Gross.
“I know they had a little bit of a year or two where there was some uncertainty, there was some complaints about some things, but everything I’ve heard internally and they’ve made some really big changes and moving the right direction,” said Gross. “I’m really pumped that they’re willing to listen to me, and that was part of what I said, i wanted to be able to talk and tell them what I think and be honest about feedback from myself and other players and they seemed really receptive.”