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Sports Stars Who Chose Poker

Since 2012, poker rooms have started using sports stars as brand ambassadors. It all began with Rafael Nadal, who signed a deal with PokerStars. After him came Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., and Usain Bolt.

Let’s see how poker rooms are using sports ambassadors in 2022.

Neymar Stays Loyal to PokerStars

Neymar first signed with PokerStars in 2015. He didn’t do much for a couple of years. After a three-year break, he said he would only quit football for poker.

Since 2021, Neymar has been back as a PokerStars brand ambassador. We see his face everywhere in their ads. People get prizes for knocking him out of tournaments, and an entire game format (Grand Tour) is called “Neymar Jr Kick-off” in his honor. The most important thing is that Neymar really plays poker and talks to other poker players, instead of just fulfilling his contract like 99% of his colleagues.

Neymar often plays poker with Andre Akkari, one of the most famous Brazilian poker players. He’s made it to the final table of a high-roller tournament and even gathered 30,000 viewers on a poker stream. Neymar has become a true ambassador for poker, and PokerStars seems to have realized that they need more than a big name – they need real action.

The Boxing Champion “Retired” to 888poker

Chris Eubank Jr., a British boxer, became a new brand ambassador for 888poker. Chris wanted to retire from boxing in May 2021, but he hasn’t quit yet. He loves poker and even participated in a private game on PokerGO a year ago when he was thinking about leaving boxing for poker.

Now Chris Eubank Jr. is an 888poker ambassador. He recently participated in a promotion where players got a WSOP package for knocking him out of the $160 Tune Up tournament (Knockout Games series). Chris even played the tournament live.

888poker has worked with athletes before. In 2016, they had Brazilian soccer player Denilson as an ambassador, but his contract didn’t last very long.

Unibet Is Happy to Work with Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion, is a great addition to Unibet. They signed a two-year contract with him in 2020, and just last month, they renewed it for another two years.

Turns out, Magnus Carlsen really loves poker. He told reporters that he’d rather play online than go to a club.

Magnus Carlsen isn’t very active in promoting, but his face and name are enough for Unibet, especially for attracting Scandinavian audiences. After all, he’s been the reigning world champion since 2013.

partypoker and PokerKing Avoid Athletes

Only once in 2016 did partypoker use the services of Boris Becker, a former world number one tennis player. But they didn’t manage to use his face and name well, so their partnership was short-lived.

By the way, in late April, it was announced that 54-year-old Boris Becker was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for concealing assets after declaring bankruptcy. The bankruptcy proceedings against Becker have been ongoing since 2017. During that time, the legendary tennis player was found to have a lot of property and hidden assets.

Sometime since 2012, a fashion for sporting ambassadors was born among poker rooms. The most notorious event in its time was Rafa's contract

Right now, partypoker avoids working with athletes and prefers to have a team of active poker streamers and influencers who consistently attract traffic for a relatively modest fee.

As for PokerKing, as well as the flagship room of the WPN ACR network, local marketers prefer more budget-friendly poker influencers who can attract traffic “cheaply and angrily.” Proof of this is the ACR Stormers streaming team, who don’t even have a contract with the room, but are rather part of its Twitch community.