Igor Kurganov to Add a Touch of Skill to PokerStars’ Pro Roster

February 13th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

High stakes poker pro Igor Kurganov has put pen to paper and become a fully-fledged member of Team PokerStars.

Igor Kurganov PokerStars deal.

Russian poker pro Igor Kurganov has become the latest player to sign a sponsorship deal with PokerStars. (Image: thehendonmob.com)

The Russian pro is a master of both tournaments and cash games and will join PokerStars with live earnings just over $12 million.

Among the Russian’s list of accolades are multiple super high roller tournament titles, including: the 2012 EPT Grand Final €25,500/$27,000 8-Max High Roller for $1,425,874 and the AU$25,000/$19,100 Challenge at the 2013 Aussie Millions for $290,317.

As well as being one of the top pros in the game, Kurganov is the partner of current PokerStars’ pro, Liv Boeree. After splitting with fellow poker pro Kevin MacPhee in 2013, Boeree and Kurganov were spotted together.

After making the relationship public a few months later, the pair has since worked on a number of initiatives both inside and outside of poker.

Kurganov a Multitalented Acquisition

One of the couple’s notable achievements is the REG (Raising for Effective Giving) Charity, a not-for-profit organization designed to make smarter donations to charities that offer the best service.

Essentially an optimized form of giving back, REG asks members to pledge two percent or more of their annual income to help organizations cover everything from poverty and animal welfare to risks from emerging technologies.

As part of his new deal with PokerStars, Kurganov will have his online avatar upgraded to match his colleagues’ and he’ll also represent the operator at tournaments around the world.

However, what’s interesting about this deal is that Kurganov is a player who seemingly goes against the operator’s current marketing direction.

Over the last 18 to 24 months, PokerStars has worked hard to pique the interests of casual players. Through a combination of new poker variants such as Beat the Clock, casino games and sports betting as well as deal with the stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, PokerStars has been on a mission to target novices.

A Bid to Inspire New Players to Stay

Kurganov, however, is a player’s player and may not court much attention outside of the poker community. Unlike Ronaldo who has mainstream appeal, Kurganov is someone who is more likely to inspire established players.

While PokerStars may be planning to play up his relationship with Boeree in a “power couple of poker” angle, the likelihood is that Kurganov’s skills will be the main draw.

Although PokerStars has made no secret that it wants new players to join the action, there is also a need to give these players something to aspire to once they learn how to play.

Someone like Kurganov can cater to these players and, potentially, keep them in the game for more than a fleeting visit.


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