PokerStars is one of the largest and most recognizable brands in poker today, and you can trace that recognition to the same event that sparked the incredible poker boom of the last three years. When a young man from Tennessee. with the made-for-television name of Chris Moneymaker. turned a $39 internet satellite into a WSOP Main Event bracelet and a $2.5 million payday, an instant celebrity was created, and a poker explosion was born. PokerStars cemented their reputation as the site where champions are created the following year when patent attorney and part-time poker player Greg Raymer turned his $160 satellite seat into $5 million and the 2004 WSOP Main Event Championship. Along the way, his signature glasses and fossil card protectors earned him the nickname of "fossilman" and instant recognition.
Team PokerStars is an elite group of poker ambassadors sponsored by PokerStars.com including World Champions Moneymaker, Raymer, 2005 Champ Joe Hachem, 1983 Champ Tom McEvoy, 2006 Aussie Millions champ Lee Nelson and 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champ Steve Paul-Ambrose. In addition to the championships sported by the team, PokerStars has diversified their ambassador corps to include authors (McEvoy has six books to his byline, while Nelson co-authored the hot new tournament strategy guide Kill Phil) and television pioneers (John Duthie created the wildly popular British TV show Late Night Poker, and founded the European Poker Tour).
But no member of the team may have as much mainstream appeal as writer/actor Wil Wheaton. Well known on the big and small screens for his roles as Gordie LaChance in the 1986 film Stand by Me, as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and as the voice of Aqualad on the animated series Teen Titans, Wheaton has also published two books, Just a Geek and Dancing Barefoot and has a wildly popular web log, wilwheaton.net. Since becoming a member of Team PokerStars, Wheaton has hosted weekly $10 tournaments for his blog readers, bringing new players into the online poker fold from the mainstream community.
No marketing approach is as effective as sex, and Team PokerStars is no slouch in the beautiful women category. Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier and the newest member of Team PokerStars Vanessa Rousso are young, beautiful and charming, certain to attract legions of young male admirers to the site. But these lovely ladies have serious table ability and plenty of big-game experience to prove they're not just "another pretty face." Rousso went on an incredible run at this year's WPT Championship, finishing just off the TV final table in seventh in the season's largest buy-in event. Mercier has many final table finishes at WPT and European Poker Tour events, placing her in the top ten all-time money winners for women in tournament poker. So look out, they're not only beautiful, but dangerous, too!
This cross-section of poker ambassadors, from veteran champions like McEvoy to rising stars like Rousso allows PokerStars to attract players from all levels of play. Moneymaker, Hachem and Raymer are the inspirations for aspiring tournament players, Wheaton hosts what has been referred to at times as "the world's largest weekly home game," and Paul-Ambrose shows the young players that a couple of years' practice and a high-speed internet connection could be their gateway into big-time tournament success. With a wide base of team members appealing to all types of players, Team PokerStars is a marketing and branding force to be reckoned with, and with their dedication to putting players from their site into the WSOP (guaranteeing over $5 million in WSOP seats), the PokerStars brand is indelible in today's tournament scene.
Try for your shot at WSOP glory and Team PokerStars membership. WSOP qualifiers are running now at www.PokerStars.com .