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  1. [caption width="640"] Jeffrey 'Sjow’ Brusi (left), Janne 'Savjz' Mikkonen (center) and Dario 'TLO' Wünsch (right) are part of eSports franchise Team Liquid that will be working with PokerStars.[/caption] With the skill set needed to beat both online poker and strategy-based video games largely the same, it’s no surprise that players on both sides have crossed over and had success in both of the two industries. Now, PokerStars is further solidifying that connection, announcing today a sponsorship deal with leading eSports organization Team Liquid. As part of the deal, three of the eSports teams’ most popular Twitch streamers will add poker into their repertoire, and attend live tournaments like the European Poker Tour. The gamers will also test new PokerStars products like Knockout Poker and battle in some of the site’s biggest online tournaments. The three Team Liquid members involved are Jeffrey 'Sjow’ Brusi of Sweden, Janne 'Savjz' Mikkonen of Finland, and Germany’s Dario 'TLO' Wünsch. The trio is recognized as some of the world’s most fearsome Hearthstone and StarCraft players. While they are most known for their play in the eSports industry, they won’t be going into poker tournaments completely blind. Both Brusi and Mikkonen have some poker experience and expressed excitement in getting back to the game. "I’m happy to announce that I’ll be streaming poker under the PokerStars flag," said Brusi in a press release. "I used to play a lot before I started my eSports career and it’s a very interesting and complex game. If you want to see an old poker player re-learn the game, tune into my stream." Mikkonen, who has several Hearthstone titles to his name, said he was no stranger to the game and called PokerStars “the most respected and reliable company in (the online poker) business." Wünsch, who recently made the Top 8 at DreamHack Leipzig, is the only one of the three who has little to no experience with online poker. But there is little doubt that he will learn quickly. "Poker and StarCraft have always been two scenes very close to each other," Wünsch said. "Both are games of incomplete information with incredibly high skill feelings. I’m looking forward to try myself out in poker and viewers will be able to see me learn the game as a total amateur on my Twitch channel." On the flipside, several pro poker players have taken an interest in eSports gaming. Daniel Negreanu is a self-professed Hearthstone addict, and plays the game for several hours a week. Team Liquid member Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, formally a pro StarCraft gamer, signed his own deal with the organization last November. The two poker pros faced off in an exhibition game late last year at videogame expo BlizzCon. As part of the agreement, Team PokerStars Pros will make an appearance on the three gamers’ Twitch streams. Lex Veldhuis and Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew, both of whom played StarCraft and Street Fighter at a professional level before discovering poker, are a few of the pros that will stop by and give advice to the Team Liquid gamers. Veldhuis, also signed sit Team Liquid, said that even as a poker pro, he never lost his passion for gaming. "I’m an avid eSports fan, participating in Team Liquid forums and following the StarCraft and Dota 2 scenes closely," he said. “The sponsorship deal is an awesome way to show online gamers how closely related poker is and how they can apply deep-level thinking and strategy to another hugely popular game.” You can catch all the action on the above Team Liquid members here: Savjz: https://www.twitch.tv/savjz Sjow: https://www.twitch.tv/sjow TLO: https://www.twitch.tv/liquidtlo
  2. [caption width="640"] Felipe Ramos has gone from working in a bank to being one of Brazil's best poker players (PokerStars photo)[/caption] In a parallel universe somewhere, Felipe Ramos is wearing a suit and tie, boarding a commuter train and heading into his job at Bank of America in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He takes a few phone calls, helps a couple customers with some financial planning and then jumps back on the train and heads home to his family. And he never plays poker. Thankfully for Ramos though, that’s not this universe. This is the one where he is one of Brazil’s most successful and popular poker players. And it all changed because of that banking job that he actually started while still in college. “Once I graduated, one of my bosses in the bank I used to work at, Bank of America, invited me to play poker at his house. I said ‘okay, I can go tonight’. So I went and then I started playing poker,” remembers Ramos of the first time he played poker for real money. It was a sit & go and the buy-in was just $5. They actually played two that night. Ramos won one and his boss took down the other. Ramos was hooked and suddenly found himself immersed in poker learning; books, websites, videos. He’d seen the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker on TV before, but never tried to learn anything about the game. It didn’t take long before Ramos began to give serious consideration to playing poker as a career. Ramos had a good job though and was helping his family financially. “My family was very, very poor and from a poor neighborhood in Brazil. It used to be me and my dad working at home and taking care of the family,” said Ramos. It wasn’t an easy decision to turn pro and his family, understandably, had serious reservations. “MY dad came up to me one day and said, ‘if you’re doing (this), I will need your money, what if something happens to you?” Ramos did his best to ease his father’s concerns by teaching him about the game and how it all worked. “I said ‘No, Dad. This is going better than my regular job. Don’t worry about that,” said Ramos. “He was concerned about the financial part of course, he had no clue what I was doing. He was being a Dad.” Once his family saw Ramos’ vision and how he planned to make a living that would continue to provide for his family, they threw their support behind his decision. “They never said no. They actually said ‘we don’t know what your’e doing, so be very careful with what you’re doing,” said Ramos. That’s the reason I’m here. One hundred percent because of my family.” A trip to Europe then changed everything and set Ramos on course to become one of his country’s best poker players. While Jason Mercier went on to win his first European Poker Tour title and steal all the headlines, Ramos quietly finished 13th for $35,389 and his first career cash. He went from there straight to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final. He picked up two more cashes, including a 78th place finish in the Main Event and then third in a €2,100 side event. Those three cashes totaled just over $132,000 and convinced Ramos he had made the right decision to pursue poker as a career. He’s gone on to earn $1.3 million in lifetime earnings and sits fifth on poker’s all-time money list. Thanks to his success and the massive popularity of poker in his home country, he’s also a member of Team PokerStars. “Everyone plays poker pretty much. In the past people would say ‘oh what do you do, you play poker? But what do you do for work?’” said Ramos. “Now I say I play poker and they say ‘oh, that’s really nice’.” Brazil itself is enjoying a poker boom of its own and Ramos points to the passion of the Brazilian people as being a key reason behind it. “It’s growing because people are learning and they are getting better. They have more information,” said Ramos. “I actually think that it’s a social game and it’s actually a game about people, a game about emotion. That’s who we are. We like to social. We are very emotional.” While the country continues to pick up the game, it has taken Ramos to places he’d never expected growing up in the slums of Sao Paulo. “I have an office in a business building in Brazil. There’s a shopping mall, very close, like a block from it. We go to have lunch there or dinner there. The other day, while I was going up the escalator, some kid was coming down and screamed my name and was starting to go up the escalator backwards. If you see a poker fan, they’re crazy – they go nuts.” It’s not just about being a poker celebrity though. Ramos knows there are young players out there looking up to him and aspiring to follow in his footsteps to better their lives in the same way he has. “People would never look at a poker player in the past say ‘this is a poker, I want to play poker too’. They would say, ‘What is this guy doing?’,” said Ramos. “Now, they look up to you and say ‘Oh, I want to be a poker player like Felipe’. That happens. That happens quite often.”
  3. MIAMI 2017 When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and 2017 became real, Jason Mercier was at a Billy Joel concert in Miami, struggling to stay awake. While the Piano Man played all of his classic hits in front of a packed house, Mercier was closing the book on one of the most important and successful years of his life. In 2016, Mercier won a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker title, added WSOP bracelets #4 and #5 to his collection, got engaged, won a rumored seven figures in WSOP prop bets, celebrated a milestone birthday, and got married. And then he fell asleep at a Billy Joel concert. PRESSURE “This year has definitely been pretty awesome,” says Mercier, describing 2016 the way a kid who got every toy he wanted might talk about Christmas. When the 2016 poker calendar began, Mercier was where nearly every Team PokerStars Pro finds themselves in early January--The Bahamas. His first cash came in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. It was a 20th-place finish in a field of 928 players and was worth $32,360. While most players would be ecstatic with a 500 percent return on investment, for Mercier, it was just a drop in the bucket for what was to come the rest of the year. He also managed another, smaller cash while he was there. It was a dinner with other members of Team PokerStars Pro where Mercier’s year took its first dramatic turn though. After hearing that Vanessa Selbst had offered Polish sensation Dzmitry Urbanovich 180-1 odds on winning three WSOP bracelets in a single year, Mercier wanted in – but he didn’t want to bet on Urbanovich. He wanted to bet on himself. Poker history buffs will tell you that one player winning three bracelets in a single year is a rare occurrence. It’s only been done six times, five if you don’t take into account George Danzer who won his third bracelet at WSOP Asia-Pacific in 2014. (The bet between Selbst and Urbanovich was only for events in Las Vegas.) Mercier found Selbst was willing to gamble, and he bet $10,000 on himself doing it, meaning his potential payout was worth more than finishing sixth in the WSOP Main Event. One. Point. Eight. Million. Dollars. After making the bet, Mercier didn’t give it a second thought and unlike the bet between Selbst and Urbanovich, which became public knowledge pretty quickly, nobody really knew about it. “I never really felt stressed. I always kind of viewed it as a freeroll. I pre-paid the bet, I counted it as money that was just gone, the $10,000 was gone,” says Mercier. “When you are making bets where you are losing a small amount of money versus winning a very large amount of money, there is not really much stress involved. I viewed it as an opportunity to have a really big score with very little down side.” EASY MONEY The next five months flew by pretty quickly without much in the way of live tournament success for Mercier. In May he won the fifth PokerStars SCOOP title of his career, winning $22,572 for outlasting a field of 594 in a $215 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event. Call it momentum, call it just another day at the office for Mercier, but he headed into the 2016 WSOP with a ton of confidence, and the three bracelet bet with Selbst wasn’t the only bet Mercier placed on himself. He placed bets against other high stakes pros on winning one bracelet, as well as winning two. A successful summer for Mercier was suddenly a lot more valuable than a successful summer for any other player. The first two weeks of the Series left Mercier with nothing to show for his work. Finally, in Event #15, $1,500 Eight Game Mix, Mercier found the scoreboard, but rather than a win or even a final table, it was a 35th place finish for $3,404. It wasn’t much, but it was the start of a very special eight-day run. Just after busting the Eight Game Mix event, Mercier registered for the $10,000 No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Championship. Three days later, he was at the final table, with the chip lead and the chance to put away one-third of his bet. On Day 3 of the event Mercier bested a final table that included Stephen Chidwick, Benny Glaser, David Grey and Mike Watson to win $273,335. Even while basking in the glow of winning a bracelet, Mercier knew there was so much more at stake if he could keep a hot hand. “If I can win another one really quick, it would be a sick sweat the rest of the Series,” Mercier said, in a case of unintentional foreshadowing. Immediately after posing for the requisite winner’s photo, Mercier grabbed a hasty meal and late-regged the $10,000 Razz Championship event. Over the next 48 hours, he continued to hold a better-than-average stack on his way to making another final table. But, before the final table began, Mercier found himself dealing with a bit of controversy. Selbst offered a $100,000 buyout of the bracelet bet, only to have Mercier turn it down. Selbst then took to Twitter to provide her side of how the bet went down and how disappointed she was that Mercier wasn’t willing to let her buy out of the bet. Of course, Poker Twitter blew up with everybody taking a side. Mercier even tried his best to provide his side of the story, which was clearly different than Selbst’s. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Mercier as he was hours away from playing another final table. “I don’t really want to comment necessarily publicly about what happened between me and Vanessa,” Mercier said at the time. “We have different views on prop betting I guess, and what exactly happens between friends or whatever. But I don’t really want to get into it too much more.” When the final table started, Mercier had one-third of the chips in play, but found himself facing a tough group. Bart Hanson, John Racener, Brian Hastings and respected pro Ray Dehkharghani were among the final seven players standing between Mercier and another bracelet. Mercier got heads-up with Dehkharghani, but had a 3-2 chip deficit. During the 2.5-hour heads-up action, the two players traded the chip lead. Eventually though, Dehkharghani got the better of Mercier to win the first bracelet of his career. “I can't really be disappointed. I think that I played fine. Razz is one of those games that sometimes if you are just not getting the best hand, you can't really win,” Mercier says. “If you aren't getting the best starting hand, by the end of seventh street, I mean there is only so much you can do. I feel like I played fine.” The tournament ended with just enough time for Mercier to hop in yet another $10,000 buy-in event. But after two deep runs, he was tired and thought about heading home. “He was not stressed out, but he wasn’t sleeping much, so I was getting worried for him. I was like, ‘Listen after this tournament, after we bag, we need to go home, we need to sleep,’” says Natasha Barbour, his then-girlfriend. “He would wake up so early and be ready to go so early, and then try to play cash games before the tournaments. But that’s just him. So he didn’t change who he was, didn’t change anything and kept doing what he was doing.“ A quick dinner with Barbour gave Mercier time to think things through. He hurried back to the Rio and was the last player to register for the $10,000 HORSE Championship. Just 72 hours later, Mercier was posing for yet another winner’s photo while the poker world went nuts with all the “what if?” scenarios. “I never really viewed it as like if I won the $10K Razz, I would have won the bet, because if I win the $10K Razz, the heads-up match probably goes longer, I may even miss the HORSE event, or have thrown it away in the HORSE event because I was like, ‘oh, I won two in a row, blah blah blah.’ So I don't really view it as I would have won three if I won that Razz event,” says Mercier. With two bracelets in hand already, a third felt like simply a matter of time, but Mercier had a different piece of jewelry on his mind – and it wasn’t for him. THIS IS THE TIME “I wasn't sure exactly when I was going to propose to Natasha. I knew that it was going to happen relatively soon,” says Mercier. “Going into the summer, we had had such a busy year, for the first five months before the summer, at the point of going into the World Series, I was kind of like, ‘Let's get through this WSOP, then I'll figure out how to get a ring, or where to get a ring, and then figure out where I'm going to propose." Things changed though. After winning the second bracelet, Mercier thought there was a good chance he had another deep run, possibly even another win, in him and he wanted to take advantage of that moment to make it a special one for Barbour, his girlfriend of two years. “If I were to win a third bracelet, win the prop bet, and then she would be so excited and run up to me and then I would just drop on one knee and I had this sort of vision of that happening,” says Mercier. There was a problem though. Mercier needed to find a way to get out to buy a ring. With Mercier and Barbour living together in a rented Las Vegas house and both playing a full WSOP schedule, getting time to himself was going to be a challenge. He concocted a story about heading to the Bellagio to play cash games and met with a family friend who was a jeweler to pick out the ring. Now all Mercier needed was the right opportunity. The heater slowly faded and it started to look like he wasn’t going to make another final table, let alone win another bracelet. After six more cashes, Barbour unknowingly took matters into her own hands. “Towards the very end of the summer, she played a tournament that she wasn't even going to play, which was the $5K, which got an absurd turnout,” says Mercier. Barbour went deep and made Day 4 with 12 players left and Mercier recognized he had a chance to do something special. “Natasha was kind of middle of the pack, and barely played a hand while three people got knocked out, then she had like 15 big blinds, busted in third for her biggest score of all time, and it just seemed like the absolute perfect spot for me to propose. I hopped over the rail, gave her a hug, and dropped to one knee.” “I thought he was just coming to give me a hug. He came up to me and was like ‘Hey, I need to ask you something’ and I said ‘Can we just go over there?’ I don’t want to be in the cameras anymore or photos, I wanted them to be able to play heads up,” recalls Barbour. “I was like ‘Let’s just over there’. And he goes ‘No no no, I can’t go over there right now’ and then he went down on one knee and I couldn’t believe it.” The moment happened to be caught on the WSOP live stream and the clip made its way to YouTube, social media and, eventually, ESPN.com. It was the first of what would end up being a good run of mainstream media exposure for Mercier. THE ENTERTAINER In the weeks after the WSOP, Mercier saw an email in his inbox from the producers of ESPN radio’s Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. They wanted Mercier as a guest to talk about his prop bets and his WSOP run. Being a South Florida kid, Mercier jumped at the opportunity to be on one of the most popular sports talk shows in Miami. That’s where things went off the rails. Just minutes after his segment began, co-host Jon "Stugotz" Weiner asked Mercier “Do you have a gambling problem?” after talking about Mercier multi-tabling his way through a good portion of the WSOP. The question clearly caught Mercier off guard, but he handled it like a pro and the segment ended. Mercier doesn’t blame Le Batard or Weiner for taking the angle they did, he actually puts the onus on himself for letting it get that far. “I was actually just a little upset at myself, to be honest, that I didn't' request for them to prep me for the questions or even have a pre-interview,” says Mercier. I felt like they were very unprepared, they didn't know what questions to really ask and they were just kind of spouting out whatever was off the top of their head.” Even after being blindsided by the direction of what he thought would be a fairly friendly interview, Mercier was still thrilled he got the opportunity to be on the show. “I mean it was definitely awesome. I was super pumped just that they reached out to me and wanted me on the show in the first place. Dan LeBatard has been one of the biggest sports figures, as far as South Florida sports, for 10, 20, 25 years, so to just have that request sent to my email, you know, we want you on the show, was pretty awesome,” said Mercier. ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG In November, Mercier turned 30 and, just four months after the proposal, married Barbour in front of friends and family in Miami. Hitting that milestone birthday and getting married are part of a different direction for Mercier than the one he had when he first burst on the poker scene after winning EPT San Remo many years ago. “I think five years ago, I was really only concerned with how am I going to make money. How am I going to make money? How am I going to eventually not have to play poker, or whatever it is?” says Mercier. “Now, I'm kind of to the point where I really want a family. I want to have that stability. I am seeing that in my future, very shortly. I think I have a better perspective on life and on what's important.” Adding a young child, or two, to the life of two professional poker players might seem like a real game-changer, but Mercier thinks they will still have a window to continue to travel the world playing the game they both love. “We don't think that much is going to change right away, even if we have a kid, or two kids, as they are young we might bring them around, travel with them to the poker tournaments and whatnot,” says Mercier. “But life is probably going to change a lot for me when I have kids that are going to have to start going to school. It's probably going to be another 4-5 years traveling the circuit, playing as much as I can, trying to make as much money as I can and then likely settling down, and not traveling as much in four or five years.” IT’S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME Looking back through a year that saw him win just over $1.5 million in tournaments, Mercier can’t help but talk about just how much he loves playing poker. Some radio shock jock might take a shot at calling it a gambling problem, but Mercier genuinely loves playing the game and it certainly helps that he’s one of the world’s best. “Have you ever gone through a span of just playing a video game, maybe when you were a kid, where you just play it all day and it's awesome and you just love it and you can't get enough of it? But then eventually the game sort of ends, like you can't play it any more, right?,” says Mercier. “Poker is that game, but it just never ends. I love playing it so much that I don't really get tired of it. I am just always looking forward to the next session or the next tournament.”
  4. [caption width="640"] Jeff Gross is the newest addition to Team PokerStars.[/caption] 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.”
  5. Twitch streaming poker professionals Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples have announced, in back-to-back days, that they have parted ways with their mutual sponsor, PokerStars. Gross and Staples were sponsored members of Team PokerStars thanks in large part to their dedication to streaming poker on their respective Twitch channels, as well as their wide-reaching online presence on YouTube and other social media outlets. Jeff Gross Steps Down On Monday, Jeff Gross released a video announcing that he “will no longer be working with or representing PokerStars” after the two sides could not come to an agreement to move forward. Gross was signed as an ambassador for the world's largest online poker site at the start of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2017. Gross is the host of his own Twitch channel show dubbed “The Poker Flow Show” and is also known as a consistent vlogger with videos posted on his YouTube Channel of over 25K subscribers. In addition to his inclusion on Team PokerStars, Gross was also named a member of Jason Somerville’s Team Run It Up. Somerville is a member of Team PokerStars and his Run It Up stable of streamers is a partner of PokerStars. Gross, in his statement, admits that the future of his relationship with Run It Up is uncertain. “It’s unclear where that will go with me and how that will work, whether we’ll still be working together or not.” Gross insisted that while it may be the end of his PokerStars deal, this is just the beginning for him when it comes to his poker ambitions. “Is this it for you in poker? The answer is ‘no’,” Gross stated in his announcement. “If anything, we are just getting locked in, just getting strapped in and it’s seriously about to turn up.” Staples Hopes For 'Something Bigger' One day later, former fellow Team Pokerstars Online Pro Jaime Stapes followed suit. “As of today, PokerStars and I are no longer continuing our relationship,” Staples announced in a video posted to his YouTube channel. Staples, the former “friend of PokerStars” who was elevated to a full-fledged member of Team PokerStars Online in December 2016, called it a “happy breakup.” He indicated that the decision was his to make and it was in favor of pursuing other opportunities. “I felt as if I might have an opportunity to do something bigger with my career in poker,” Staples said in his departure announcement. “It was a risk and I thought about it a lot and I decided to go on my own.” Staples rose to popularity by streaming poker on Twitch from his mother’s basement. He worked his way into becoming one of the premier stars of the medium with over 9.3 million channel views. "This is an opportunity to do something different. It's still going to be poker at the end of the day but it's a new direction. It's a scary one. It's a risky one. But I couldn't be more excited." Staples took to streaming poker immediately after his announcement, playing on both PokerStars and partypoker. The title of his Twitch stream was "Free Agent Plays Poker". Staples and Gross have more than their involvement with PokerStars in common. Both served as a two-person committee to help businessman Bill Perkins select The Thirst Lounge 10, the next batch of hosts for the expansion of Perkins' own Twitch channel.
  6. Nearly 12 years after their partnership was first formed, Daniel Negreanu and PokerStars are going their separate ways. The six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and poker's second all-time leading earner made an official announcement via his Twitter account on Thursday. The announcement comes just days after his wedding to Amanda Leatherman and less than a week before the start of the 2019 WSOP. Negreanu was the highest paid online poker site ambassador during his time with the company. Negreanu joined PokerStars to much fanfare in June 2007 and quickly became the biggest name on a team that included Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, Bertrand Grospellier, and Humberto Brenes. He had previously represented FullContactPoker.com and PokerMountain.com. "Daniel has been one of the most influential faces of poker and indeed PokerStars for 12 years, and it has been wonderful to have his passion, support and insights throughout our relationship," said Rebecca McAdam, Associate Director, Stars Group Public Relations. "We wish Daniel the very best for the future, as well as wedded bliss and tons of run good this summer." In late 2015, Negreanu became involved in controversy when PokerStars announced the termination of the SuperNova Elite program. As the most high-profile face of the company, Negreanu defended the company's decision from a business perspective while also criticizing the manner in which they handled it. Some members of the poker community were critical of Negreanu's continued relationship with the company following the backlash to the changes. During his time as a member of Team PokerStars, Negreanu won three WSOP bracelets, won WSOP Player of the Year, and came within two eliminations of making the final table of the 2015 WSOP Main Event. He earned $30,148,167 during that time. Team Pro Exodus Negreanu's departure is part of a continuing trend of Team Pros and ambassadors leaving the company. In January 2018, Felipe Ramos, Jason Mercier, and Vanessa Selbst each announced they would no longer represent the red spade. In 2019, Jeff Gross, Kevin Martin, Jaime Staples, Barry Greenstein, Jake Cody, and Randy Lew all either didn't have their contracts renewed or decided not to renew them. While some of those players have found their way to rival partypoker, Negreanu is not expected to join them according to partypoker management.

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