The only member of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine not to sign any sponsorship deal, runner-up Darvin Moon, has recently inked an agreement to become the face of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT).
In an announcement by the HPT last week, Moon’s new deal names him as an ambassador for the tour. He will promote the series by appearing at HPT events across the United States and, when he steps into other events around the world, will continue to promote the brand through a patching deal. This marks the first time that the HPT has sought out any player to represent it in any manner.
The partnership developed after Moon took part in an HPT event in 2010. After Scotty Nguyen had to cancel plans to play in an event in Iowa due to illness, Moon stepped in to replace him.
“Darvin is our kind of guy,” stated HPT President Todd Anderson, “He’s worked hard his entire life and now lives the dream that attracts so many to the game.” The Executive Producer of HPT’s syndicated television broadcasts, Greg Lang, agreed with Anderson’s take: “In a short period of time, he’s become a close friend [of the organization]. Like most of our players, Darvin enjoys the lively, yet less stressful, atmosphere of our tour.”
In his usual forthright manner, Moon elaborated why he would take on such a role at this time in his poker career. “I’m very comfortable with the HPT folks. They’re like family,” Moon said.
Alluding to the fact that the HPT also donates a portion of each prize pool to the Disabled American Veterans organization, Moon commented, “I also love the work they do for veterans.”
Since his first appearance on the HPT last year, Moon has been in attendance for every event on the schedule and recorded a 37th place finish during the HPT’s first event of 2011 at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
His first tournaments as the ambassador of the HPT will be at the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, Iowa from March 27th to April 3rd and the Golden Gates Casino and Poker Parlour in Black Hawk, Colorado from April 1st to 10th. While Moon continues to play poker on a part-time basis, he still maintains his job running a small logging company in West Virginia.
Moon, who made a Cinderella-esque run to finish in second place behind Joe Cada in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, took down a sizeable payday of $5.2 million for his efforts that year. He became more notable, however, for not accepting any sponsorship deals while playing in the $10,000 buy-in contest. While wearing his trademark look, a New Orleans Saints cap and a Wheeling Island Casino collared shirt, Moon has become one of the more popular players in the game because of his “everyman” status.
In 2010, the HPT held 13 tournaments in U.S. casinos from New York to Las Vegas. The tournaments offered by the seven-year-old HPT have buy-ins of around $1,500, but many players satellite in for less.
Prize pools are routinely in the high six-figures and the staff puts on a first class tournament for its players. Poker’s elite players have often stepped to the HPT felt, including Annie Duke, Tiffany Michelle, Nguyen, and Moon.