PokerStars and other online poker sites have been dropping their sponsored pros like a bad habit lately. Recently, we’ve reported on 888 parting ways with JC Tran, Ultimate Poker trimming its roster, and PokerStars ending a long relationship with Humberto Brenes. Now the world’s biggest poker site has dropped more of its pro team, including a couple of very familiar celebrity names.
2009 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Joe Cada has announced that he is no longer associated with Team PokerStars, joining a growing list of high-profile players that no longer represent the site. Cada confirmed the news after ESPN’s Andrew Feldman commented on an advertisement Cada posted on Twitter for the Norwegian Cruise Line Poker Challenge.
“Thanks! Poker Stars and I went [our] separate ways,” Cada wrote in the tweet. While that exchange went relatively unnoticed earlier this month, Cada revisited the topic on Wednesday to talk about the reasons behind the split.
“If everyone is wondering what happened with Poker Stars and myself it’s pretty simple. I asked for 100 percent rake back, they said no,” Cada wrote. “I asked for zero money. I just wanted the rake back that I used to get.”
When Cada won his $8.5 million prize for taking down the 2009 WSOP Main Event, he was quickly scooped up by PokerStars, which has held him as a part of its stable ever since then. This year was another good one for Cada, as he picked up his second WSOP gold bracelet this summer, winning the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament.
Cada’s profile can no longer be found on the Team PokerStars website, confirming that he is no longer a part of that team. But he was far from the only big name to be dropped this month from the PokerStars roster.
Another major name that will no longer be representing PokerStars is that of Marcel Luske. The Flying Dutchman leads the all-time tournament money list for the Netherlands, having won nearly $4.4 million during his career. That stretches back through the years of the poker boom, when his outgoing personality made him one of the more popular players among fans of televised poker.
Russian pro Alex Kravchenko was also dropped by PokerStars. Kravchenko is fourth on the all-time money list for Russia, with over $4.2 million in career earnings, and earned a WSOP bracelet back in 2007. Kravchenko also tweeted about his departure, saying that “everything good comes to an end.”
The three departures follow an August in which three of PokerStars’ top Latin American ambassadors saw their contracts expire and not be renewed. Humberto Brenes, Jose “Nacho” Barbero and Angel Guillen were the players involved in that exodus, one that comes at a time when poker sites seem to be scaling back on their sponsorships nearly across the board.
It’s unclear if any of these players will find new sponsorships, but as a former WSOP Main Event Champion, Cada may have the best shot at finding a new home. For instance, Seth Palansky, vp of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment, spoke recently of the possibility of WSOP.com putting together a team of WSOP champions who play online poker and spend the majority of their time in New Jersey or Nevada.