There once was a day in the poker world when nearly every top professional had a sponsorship deal with an online poker room. After “Black Friday” in 2011, however, those sponsorships dried up as companies looked to get more of a “bang” for their marketing dollar. Thus, when a new sponsorship – or “brand ambassador” in this case – is announced, there’s a reason for celebration.
Kalidou Sow Joins Team PokerStars
Yesterday PokerStars announced that they had plucked Kalidou Sow out of the poker community to be their latest sponsored pro, or “brand ambassador.” Sow, who remarkably won the European Poker Tour Main Event stop in Prague in December 2017 and turned around the next month to take the PokerStars Festival London Main Event championship, is one of France’s finest exports for the tournament poker world. In fact, after pulling off that double feat in PokerStars tournaments, Sow would hit the trifecta in winning the Winamax Poker Tour Paris in February 2018, wrapping up a three-month span where he won over $1 million (U. S.).
“I am living the dream!” said Sow during the announcement of the sponsorship deal. “My competitiveness has always pushed me to look for opportunities. 2018 was a great year and I am looking forward to what 2019 brings wearing the PokerStars patch.” The “top dog” of the PokerStars stable, Canadian/U. S. pro Daniel Negreanu, was nearly as exuberant in his praise of Sow joining the roster. “I absolutely love the addition of Kalidou Sow to the team! His backstory captivated me when he won his Platinum Pass after winning back to back events,” said Daniel Negreanu. “His life story is very inspiring and he is easy to root for. I’m a fan!”
Sow’s backstory is one that begs for an autobiography at the minimum if not a treatment on the silver screen. A childhood ambition of being a professional basketball player was cut down after a serious car accident left him with lifelong injuries. Channeling his energies into new directions, Sow first built a highly successful VIP car rental business before moving into renewable energies. He also jumped into poker, which would prove lucrative in his performance on the felt; since stepping to the tables in 2013, Sow has over $1.6 million in career earnings in tournament poker.
Longtime PokerStars spokesman and current Director of Poker Marketing Eric Hollreiser sees the value in bringing someone like Sow to the team. “Kalidou embodies what the game is all about with his friendly, approachable demeanor, his thoughtful interaction with his opponents at the poker table, and a level of cool you don’t see every day. The buzz around him continued long after his initial Platinum Pass win and we’re excited to see where his journey will take him as we welcome him as an ambassador for PokerStars.”
What Does a “Brand Ambassador” Do?
PokerStars isn’t wasting time getting Sow into action. Sow will be patched for the upcoming European Poker Tour stops in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Sow will also be the French face of PokerStars in the online arena, playing on both the British version of the site, PokerStars.uk, and the French version, PokerStars.fr.
The next big question would be if Sow is going to be a part of the upcoming 50th Anniversary World Series of Poker. He has dabbled with the WSOP International Circuit, but he has yet to step to the “Big Show” in Las Vegas for action. Fellow Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, PokerStars Players’ Champion Ramon Colillas, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov will more than likely be in Vegas this summer, potentially making it time for Sow to make his debut in the States. Congratulations to Kalidou Sow for bucking the trend and earning a major poker sponsorship. It will be interesting to see what he does now that he’s got the target of the Team PokerStars badge on him! N-US;mso-far