It’s been quite the past week for Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. The 44-year old poker professional married his fiancée Amanda Leatherman in an absolutely lovely oceanfront ceremony in California on Saturday, marking the second time that Negreanu has headed into wedded bliss. Yesterday, Negreanu took to Twitter to post a video which featured a stunning announcement: he and his longtime poker sponsor, PokerStars, were parting ways.
Short and To the Point
In a quick, minute long post, Negreanu crowed about his happiness regarding his nuptials with Leatherman and stated, “On that note, my life is taking a different direction.” He mentioned he would like to have children with his newly betrothed and – oh, yeah – that the World Series of Poker would be coming first, but that there was something he had to announce regarding “my twelve-year run, an incredible run” with PokerStars.
“It was a great run, but I am no longer going to be an ambassador for the company,” Negreanu flatly stated. “I worked with so many good people…I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world…I wish everyone the best and I am super excited about the future with my woman and…love is in the air,” Negreanu concluded with a kiss.
The announcement was a stunner, but not to some of Negreanu’s fellow PokerStars brethren. Liv Boeree Tweeted, “It’s been an honor being your teammate all these years.” Longtime PokerStars executive Eric Hollreiser sounded off with his best wishes for the future. But one thing that wasn’t stated, by either PokerStars or Negreanu, was the reasoning for the ending of the relationship. Was it simply a nod to Negreanu’s new marital status and status in life? Or something else that caused the end?
What Does the Future Bring for Negreanu?
It is highly unlikely that Negreanu is splitting from PokerStars to head to another online poker site. Short of partypoker or maybe 888Poker, PokerStars is the preeminent online poker site in the industry and has been since Negreanu signed on as an ambassador for the site in 2007. Since that time, other high-profile Team PokerStars Pros have departed – players such as Negreanu’s fellow Poker Hall of Famer Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Selbst, France’s Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier – but Negreanu has been the constant.
What might be possible is that Negreanu may be doing something on his own. At one time, Negreanu did work with Full Contact Poker, a now-shuttered online poker room and forum, and enjoyed the autonomy of such as situation. Negreanu could be looking to do like Phil Galfond, who started his own online poker site, Run It Once, and stay active in the online game.
It is also possible that Negreanu may be making a marked change in his life. At the age of 44, Negreanu has few targets to knock down in the poker world anymore (a WSOP Championship Event bracelet or a European Poker Tour championship might be the only things he HASN’T done) and he may have gotten tired of the globetrotting. It is entirely believable that Negreanu doesn’t want to continue being the “ambassador” of the poker world that he has in the past, settle into a very comfortable married life with Leatherman (Negreanu has shown some outstanding business acumen and arguably has made more money from that than his $39 million in lifetime earnings) and simply enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Whichever way or reason for it, the end of the PokerStars/Daniel Negreanu partnership spells the close of one of the most fruitful sponsorship deals in the history of online poker. It is highly unlikely that another player will come along and be able to hold a sponsorship deal for that length of time and have the impact that Negreanu’s tenure with the #1 online poker site in the industry has given.