Twitch Poker legend Jason Somerville announced this week that his time with PokerStars is over. He revealed in a Twitter video to his fans and followers: “It was tough being limited by my PokerStars exclusivity on the content that I could create.”
Another poker celebrity leaving PokerStars
a new year, a new chapter… pic.twitter.com/rj5Jn70XTq
— jcarver (@JasonSomerville) January 2, 2020
The RunItUp founder and Twitch Poker legend joined forces with PokerStars back in 2015. He was described by the site as, ‘a unique proposition – a poker pioneer who has had great success both online and live.’
Indeed, Somerville boasts live cashes of more than $3.6million and online results under his online name ‘jcarver’ totalling $2.2million, with a WSOP bracelet thrown in for good measure.
His PokerStars signing seemed to be an excellent proposition for both parties. Somerville admitting in his parting video: “I feel a ton of gratitude toward PokerStars for taking a chance on me and Run It Up.”
However, his departure is yet another sign that PokerStars – the world’s biggest online poker-room – is allowing poker to slip rapidly down their list.
Last year saw the biggest ‘poker divorce’ of all, Daniel Negreanu ending his 12-year relationship with PokerStars. An apparently amicable split, but a shock nonetheless.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 23, 2019
Negreanu, once the ultimate face of PokerStars, has recently signed up to GGPoker.
The list of players who have left PokerStars in the past few years is now as long as those who remain. Chris Moneymaker the only really big-name star left on their books.
Start of the mass departure
Going back to 2014, two-time EPT winner Victoria Coren-Mitchell resigned after PokerStars added online casino to their site. The Londoner was unwilling to put her name to non-poker gambling promotion.
In 2016, the PokerStars SuperNovaElite debacle led to high profile resignations from Team online pros Ike Haxton and Alex ‘kanu7’ Millar.
I have resigned from PokerStars in protest of the changes to the Supernova and Supernova Elite programs: https://t.co/I7c49fB00D
— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) January 1, 2016
The highstakes duo were incensed at PokerStars removing their loyalty program halfway through the qualifying period. That left thousands of pros and grinders massively out of pocket.
More recently, among the big-name pros to leave the red spade site, both Vanessa Selbst – the highest-earning female tournament pro of all time – and highstakes crusher Jason Mercier were huge losses.
More big names leaving the sinking ship
Again, both thanked PokerStars for the opportunities. However, it was part of a mass exodus of top talent that would leave PokerStars bereft of big names.
Bertrand ‘ElkY’Grospelier was next out the door. An 11-year relationship ended in 2018. The French star was unhappy that Stars no longer viewed their Team Pro members as a “core part of their strategy.”
Early last year, three of the top streamers, a trio with huge followings – Jeff Gross, Jaime Staples, and Kevin Martin – left the site. Staples was the first signing of PokerStars following the ‘Somerville streaming effect’.
Gross and Staples now represent partypoker in their Team Online. With Haxton and Grospellier among many others now also on the partypoker roster, the number two site in the world happily snapping up the talent that their main rivals have been shedding.
Coming back to Somerville, sometimes referred to as ‘The Godfather of TwitchTV poker’, it’s not yet clear what his departure means for his hugely-successful RunItUp live events.
He is upbeat about the future. However, he explained in his video: “As of right now I feel extremely grateful for all the love and support of the poker community, the twitch community. It means more to me than you’ll know and we’re not done yet.”
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