Two more well-known pros are no longer sponsored players and members of Team PokerStars. Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree are no longer with PokerStars as the online poker giants shifts away from traditional sponsored pros. Meanwhile, PokerStars is also pulling the plug on Power Up Poker, one of the many new formats they introduced in the last few years that was more like a video game than old school poker.
The times they are a changing. Bob Dylan was totally talking about Poker Stars, right? Bob has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to things like going electric and shifting popular culture with his lyrics. But who knew Bob was referring to the constantly shifting landscape in the online poker world.
Online poker used to be simple when it was just online poker. Now there's so many shared verticals and vision by committee that the online poker realm sort of lost touch of its original rebel roots. It's like anything else in the world that is at the pinnacle of the crossroads of commerce.
After realizing they might have reached the Peak Oil phase of online poker (with Peak Online Poker), PokerStars tasked their team of innovators to conjure up new games and formats.
In an attempt to making online poker much cooler and attractive to the gaming community, PokerStars created Power Up which is a fusion of gaming and online poker. Of course it never quite succeeded. For one, they failed to consult ElkY on the project and let one of the most popular pro gamers in the universe share his two cents. And secondly, they messed up by simply trying to make poker something its not. Poker is poker and should stay poker.
If PokerStars really wants to get in on the big gaming rush, they should team up with Fortnite or create their own battle royale game like PUBG or Fortnite. Heck, playing in a tournament is a lot like playing in these battle royale games in which the ultimate goal is to become the last player standing. Heck, i hope I didn't just give Stars HQ another free idea.
Meanwhile, more popular sponsored pros are hitting the road and leaving PokerStars in the dust. The pros started jumping ship around this time a few years ago when PokerStars seriously cut back their compensation for sponsored pros while ratcheting up the travel.
Even Kid Poker finally called it quits with PokerStars. Aside from Chris Moneymaker, Negreanu was always Mr. PokerStars. It seems weird that he's no longer patched up. Popular streamers, Jamie Staples and Jeff Gross, also left the company.
Now it's time for Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree to say goodbye. The real life couple are still together but they both separately ended their sponsorships with PokerStars.
Boeree, formerly a scientist, made waves when she won the EPT San Remo in 2010 for €1,250,000. Boeree and Kurganov won a tag team bracelet at the 2017 WSOP.
Igor Kurganov was one of the first wave of Russian pros to crush the game at the height of the online poker boom. With $18.4 million in winnings, he's the all-time money winner in Russian history.
Both Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree have a huge heart and give back a portion of their winnings to charity.
No word yet on whether or not partypoker will add either Boeree or Kurganov to their growing roster of sponsored pros and ex-PokerStars members.