Is PokerStars becoming a low-key sinking ship? If you were to judge it by the number of high-profile stars that have left the brand recently, you’d certainly think so.
Kevin Martin has become the third star to opt not to renew his contract as part of the poker brand’s Team Pro. With the same decision being made by both Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples less than two weeks ago, PokerStars will have to do something drastic to halt other stars from deciding to escape the brand. Especially with PartyPoker creating its own Team Online and signing Matt Staples as its first member.
It was in 2016 that Martin became a part of the Team Pro, which was quite the surprise to the online poker community. In his homeland of Canada, he was quite the minor celebrity already, having successfully made it through the Big Brother television show to emerge as its winner.
However, he chose to share his departure from PokerStars in a video posted to his Twitch stream. He made it clear that there was no bad blood between himself and the brand, providing only complimentary comments towards the poker site. This especially interesting to note considering his poker playing skills in 2016 weren’t anywhere close to what they are today, meaning that PokerStars really took a risk on him.
Martin also made sure to state that he was not fired by the brand, and he instead chose to leave it of his own accord. “I am hungrier than ever…”, he went on, before stating that he would like to continue making content “forever”.
Does PokerStars Have an Alternative Strategy in Place?
With three popular players leaving your brand, you’d think that PokerStars would have something in place to combat anymore losses. Of course, the platform has not given any reasons as to why such players are leaving, which is only bound to provoke rumours.
On the other hand, the brand has just hired Ramón Collilas – winner of the Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC). Because of this, many people have suggested that the company is looking to move out of the live streaming sector and into the basic live poker realm instead.
Yet, this doesn’t seem like such a probable move. With the arrival of Jason Somerville to its ranks in 2015, PokerStars clearly had the idea that live streaming was worth something. And sure enough, a vast number of new stars began to appear in streams, blasting PokerStars to the top of all the rankings in the process.
It’s only in recent days that the Team Online group at PartyPoker has been announced, while 888Poker chose to sign Parker “tonkaaaa” Talbot for similar reasons. Therefore, it’s clear the Twitch streaming is high up on the lists of most online poker brands.
The likelihood is that because the competition pool is beginning to expand on a larger level, players like Martin, Gross and Staples all have the ability for much more leverage as far as contract negotiations are concerned. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if those three showed up as part of PartyPoker’s Team Online.