Humberto Brenes was one of the first round of star players that emerged when the poker boom first hit about a decade ago. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner has been a constant force at the WSOP, and his more than $6.1 million in career earnings ranks him first all-time among players from Costa Rica. That made him a big get for Team PokerStars, the group of professional players that help promote and represent the site at tournaments and other events.
That relationship is now coming to a close. After eight years with PokerStars, Brenes’ contract with the company ended on July 31, and neither side felt that moving forward with the partnership was in their best interests.
“This decision was made through mutual agreement between the parties,” Brenes told PokerNews. “The terms of the renewal were not suited for the company or for myself, so we decided to end the relationship.”
Brenes has largely been seen as the face of PokerStars in Latin America over the past eight years. His live tournament results have been tremendous, and he is third on the all-time list for WSOP cashes with 81 (trailing only Phil Hellmuth and Erik Seidel). That total was bolstered this year with an incredible ten cashes, though he did not make any final tables. Brenes is also a nominee for the Poker Hall of Fame, an honor he also received in 2013.
Being from Costa Rica, Brenes was particularly close to PokerStars, as they have an operation center in the country.
“I’m glad that the decisions of the new owners of the company will not impact staff based in Costa Rica,” Brenes said. “I have many friends there, and they are almost 300 people working at that office. It will remain working with the same conditions.”
Brenes said that that he understood that the decision was, on PokerStars’ part, a business decision, rather than a personal one.
“Its new management approach goes beyond poker,” Brenes said. “They had to make strategic decisions, and I think in my case this came at a good time.”
Given the fact that PokerStars has just been taken over by Amaya, it’s likely that the move will prompt speculation about the new ownership’s relationship with their sponsored pros. At this point, it’s far too early to spot any trends in this arena, though Brenes says that he doubts there will be more players brought in any time soon.
“The matter should be treated carefully, especially with Latin American players since the focus of the company will not be only poker,” Brenes said. “The amount of sponsored players could be reduced, but that’s up to the new administration. I don’t see it possible that the company could hire new faces for the team.”
While Brenes is done with PokerStars, he doesn’t plan to leave the world of poker. He says that he still wants to reach an even 100 cashes at the WSOP. And while he said he would cut down his tournament schedule to spend more time in his family, he still has one goal that he’d like to achieve for them.
“[I] want to win one more bracelet to add three to my achievements because I have three children and I would inherit one to each of them,” he said.