Celebrity endorsement is nothing new, it's a time-honored marketing strategy followed by hundreds of companies from automobile manufacturers to shoe companies, but until recently, poker had a serious shortage of celebrities. There were always celebrities that played poker, like Matt Damon trying his hand at the WSOP in preparation for Rounders, but before 2003, very few poker players were recognizable outside the casino. But since that time (and the incredible run of a man named Moneymaker) televised poker coverage has increased exponentially, and that has led to both a new crop of poker-playing celebrities (Jennifer Tilly, Tobey Maguire, Paris Hilton) and a bumper crop of celebrity poker players.
Full Tilt Poker has certainly ridden the leading edge of poker celebrity marketing. With their stable of stars, vibrant black and red sports jerseys sported by their players and slick advertising, Full Tilt is the industry leader in image marketing and Team Full Tilt is a key part of that image. Their ads feature stars such as Phil Ivey , Phil Gordon, Chris Ferguson and others walking down Fremont Street or sitting around a dimly lit back room poker table, hearkening back to the "old poker" image. They feature taglines like "I work on my game at Full Tilt Poker," which carries a lot of weight when uttered by a man with 6 WSOP bracelets. They offer you real money (in deposit bonuses) to test your skills against their pros.
Full Tilt boasts more than just an impressive number of stars (well over 30 at last count); the site also provides regular players the opportunity to play with their stars online. Visit any of the ring game or tournament listings and look for the tables with their names in red - those tables have a pro there at that time. The members of Team Full Tilt also have their very own tables named after them, with a seat reserved for them permanently.
If you've got the cash, you can play ring games like No Limit Hold ‘Em with John Juanda, Pot Limit O8 with Chris Ferguson, Stud with Erik Seidel or Razz with Jennifer Harman . And if you bust a pro out of any of the regularly scheduled Full Tilt tournaments, you win a bounty equal to the buy-in of that tournament.
And at Full Tilt you don't have to worry about whether or not you're really playing against Phil Gordon or somebody using his name, because not only does he play under his real name his table is highlighted in red, and he also has a custom-designed avatar that looks like him in real life, rather than one of the stock avatars that regular players get to choose from.
Full Tilt is constantly signing on hot young players like Gavin Smith, Kristy Gazes and John D'Agostino to be "Friends of Full Tilt" and play on the site. Recently, in a move to boost their image worldwide, the site signed an agreement with European tournament giants The Hendon Mob to play on Full Tilt, so now there are even more champions waiting at the tables at Full Tilt.
You can check out all of these pros, their bios and more at Full Tilt Poker . Better yet, download the software now and pit your skills against the pros at Full Tilt Poker.