POKERSTARS SIGNS TWO NEW TEAM PROS IN ASIA
Sponsored players in China and Taiwan will help promote the game in Asia
ONCHAN, Isle of Man – September 2, 2015 – PokerStars, an Amaya Inc. (Nasdaq: AYA; TSX: AYA) brand, today announced that two new poker players from Asia have joined Team PokerStars Pro. Chen-An Lin from Taiwan and Yaxi Zhu from China are popular and successful poker players in Asia, and will help to grow the game in one of the world’s biggest emerging poker markets.
The sponsorship deals highlight PokerStars’ ambition to grow the game of poker by introducing new audiences to a fun and competitive game of skill and strategy. PokerStars has played a key role in the growth of online and live poker, first in the United States, then Western Europe, and more recently in Eastern Europe and Latin America. The popularity and appeal of local professional players and celebrity enthusiasts help to inspire new audiences around the world, as they seek to learn from and then play against their poker heroes.
Lin and Zhu join the growing roster of Team PokerStars Pros from Asia that already includes Bryan Huang, Celina Lin, Vivian Im, Aditya Agarwal, Kosei Ichinose and Naoya Kihara.
PokerStars’ Associate Director of Pro & Celebrity Marketing, Kirsty Thompson, said: “These players are highly respected in their local and national communities and will help to raise the profile of the game in their regions.”
Taiwanese native Lin discovered poker in 2009 and almost immediately decided he wanted to become a professional player. He chalked up his first tournament victory – a side event at the Macau Poker Cup – in October 2009 for HK$15,000, before enjoying a string of cashes and wins in events in Asia over the next few years.
His largest cash to date came in the Macau Poker Cup in August 2014, when he won the HK$20,000 NL Hold’em event for HK$380,700 (approx. USD $50,000). Earlier this year he won two tournaments in Las Vegas – his first cashes outside Asia – and continues to progress as a player. He wants to use the sponsorship opportunity to promote the game in his home country of Taiwan.
A former finance and business manager, Zhu entered poker from a career at a consulting firm, bringing her analytical skills to the game and impressing almost straight away. Last year saw the Chinese pro enjoy two tournament wins, one in Macau at an ACOP Platinum Series III side event and the other in an EPT 11 Prague side event for €119,100. To date she has earned more than USD $230,000 playing live tournaments.
MACAU POKER CUP
The two new Team Pros can be seen wearing the famous PokerStars red spade for the first time at the Macau Poker Cup over the next two weeks. MPC 23 runs until September 13, with 16 Official Asia Player of the Year tournaments, including the HK$5,000,000 guaranteed Red Dragon event (Sep 5-11), which has a HK$12,000 buy-in. Both players will compete in it.
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PokerStars operates the world’s most popular online poker sites, serving the global poker community. Since it launched in 2001, PokerStars has become the first choice of players all over the world, with more daily tournaments than anywhere else and with the best security online.
PokerStars is the key brand of Rational Group, which operates gaming-related businesses and brands, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the European Poker Tour. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Rational Group companies in the UK and Isle of Man won recognition as one of the best workplaces in the UK being awarded a top 25 position by the Great Place to Work Institute’s Best Workplaces – Large category rankings. Rational Group entities in Costa Rica and Dublin also achieved the same accolade in their respective local rankings in 2014. PokerStars is owned by Amaya Inc. (Nasdaq: AYA; TSX: AYA).