After announcing all-time record profits during their Q3 round-up, 888 Holdings have decided to splash the cash by signing Mark Newhouse and William ‘Billy Pappas’ Pappaconstantinou to represent the brand during the World Series of Poker Main Event final table.
888 Holdings recently announced that group revenue for the period 1 Jul 2014 – 30 Sep 2014 had increased by 22% year-on-year to $114m, an all-time record profit margin by the online gambling company, substantiated by a 16% increase in customer accounts, rising to 17.2 million.
The American duo are only the third and fourth players to be signed up by an online poker room ahead of the final table, a complete turnaround from years gone by when players like Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi arrived at the final table sporting more patches than a Grand Prix driver.
The Norwegian Felix Stephenson was the first member of the November Nine to receive a sponsorship deal when he signed on the dotted line with Betsafe. The Betsson-owned skin operates on the Microgaming Network (MPN).
Those Barmy Brazilians
Then 888Poker threw their hat into the ring when they signed up the final table short stack Bruno ‘Foster’ Politano. It was a great marketing decision. Politano is the first Brazilian to ever make the WSOP Main Event final table, and poker is an extremely popular sport in Brazil.
Politano achieved notoriety for the fervent support he received on the rail, and he has recently been the subject of a #VAMOFOSTERA YouTube video where stars of Brazilian soccer such as Neymar, Kaka, Pato and Luis Fabiano have all pledged their support for the 888-sponsored pro.
The chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, has not earned a sponsorship deal, but he has inked a deal with the Holland Casino to act as the brand ambassador for the Masters Classics of Poker, a tournament that shifted its dates so the Dutch could cheer on their countryman.
Terms of the Deal Unknown
The terms of the deal have not been announced, but one assumes it will be similar to that earned by JC Tran during the 2013 WSOP. Tran was released from his contract 12 months later despite having an incredible year that saw him winning his second World Poker Tour (WPT) title.
It’s interesting how 888 Holdings see value in showcasing their brand in front of the ESPN audience, but neither PokerStars, Full Tilt, or partypoker do. The cost-cutting initiatives of PokerStars have hogged the headlines of late, including a whole host of sponsored pros biting the dust, but I would have loved to see Martin Jacobson wearing the Red Spade.
The Swede is, in my opinion, one of the greatest European poker players never to gain a sponsorship and I am amazed that run continues after he made the November Nine.
I also think it would have been good business for partypoker to have picked up William Tonking. He is a New Jersey resident and a regular on the partypoker network, and I think the pair would have been a good match.
So what do you think?
Is it good value for online poker rooms to sponsor members of the WSOP November Nine, or is it just dead money?
Let’s hear what you have to say.
WSOP Main Event Final Table Positions
Seat 1: William Pappaconstantinou – 17,500,000
Seat 2: Felix Stephensen – 32,775,000
Seat 3: Jorryt van Hoof – 38,375,000
Seat 4: Mark Newhouse – 26,000,000
Seat 5: Andoni Larrabe – 22,550,000
Seat 6: William Tonking – 15,050,000
Seat 7: Dan Sindelar – 21,200,000
Seat 8: Martin Jacobson – 14,900,000
Seat 9: Bruno Politano – 12,125,000
The WSOP Main Event starts on Monday, 10 Nov 2014 at 4.30 pm, and live coverage will be aired on ESPN.