PokerStars NJ online poker birthday

Chris Moneymaker And PokerStars NJ Players Go Out On The Town In Atlantic City

PokerStars NJ did plenty of celebrating for its first birthday at the online poker tables.

Some players got to celebrate in real life, too. PokerStars NJ brought a handful on New Jersey players to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City for a night of dinner and drinking with Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker.

Moneymaker and company wined and dined in Atlantic City

PokerStars NJ pulled out the stops for the Atlantic City party, bringing the players via limo to Resorts Casino. Resorts is the brick and mortar partner of PokerStars’ NJ online poker.

It also hosted a PokerStars Festival poker tournament series last November.

From there, they met up with Moneymaker at Landshark Bar on the Boardwalk. After that, there was a dinner at Gallagher’s, the steakhouse on property. During the meal, the group chatted casually and also discussed what it was like playing on PokerStars.

A film crew was on hand for the festivities and a video of the night is posted on the company’s US Facebook page.

Invited guests include online winners, Survivor alum

The three players invited to the event were:

  • PokerStars Carnival of Tournaments Main Event winner Jim Boyer
  • New Jersey City Series Main Event winner Jeffrey Miller
  • Poker player and Survivor contestant Anna Khait

All three players regularly log hours on PokerStars NJ. If Khait’s presence seems a little out of place, she has actually been a vocal cheerleader for PokerStars in New Jersey. In a 2014 interview, she also said her dream was to become a Team PokerStars Pro.

Moneymaker remains integral part of PokerStars marketing

It is not surprising that Moneymaker of all the sponsored pros was the one taking part in this New Jersey promotion. Featuring the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event winner has been a major part of the site’s brand identity since he won the bracelet.

Moneymaker is an incredibly relatable aspirational figure. He won his way into the 2003 tournament via a $39 online satellite on PokerStars. He then parlayed that small investment into $2.5 million.

As PokerStars changes its marketing and rewards programs to cater more towards new and recreational players, figures like Moneymaker become increasingly important. He reminds small stakes players that there is a chance for them to run their bankrolls up like he did.

Team PokerStars reducing big stars, focusing on community builders

A recent story on OnlinePokerReport indicated the site was moving away from marquee sports stars Cristiano Rinaldo and Neymar Jr. The sports stars have a massive reach in terms of fans.

However, unless those fans can be converted to real money poker players on PokerStars, their presence is not worth the substantial cost paying them to promote the site.

Meanwhile, figures within poker whose reputation as fan favorites remain on the Team PokerStars roster. Moneymaker is getting exposure. Jason Somerville promoted both his own brand and PokerStars at his Run It Up series at Peppermill Casino in Reno, NV last week as well.

And of course, Daniel Negreanu remains a central part of the team. In addition to appealing to mainstream casual fans, Negreanu also plays an important role on social media.  He arbitrates between pros growing increasingly frustrated with changes to the PokerStars platform and the brand he represents.

Be it Moneymaker in an intimate dinner celebration or Negreanu as an online ambassador, the shift seems to be towards PokerStars building grassroots communities instead of winning people over with glitz and glamour.

Jessica Welman
- A former managing editor of WSOP.com, Jessica Welman has long been active in the world of online poker. A graduate of USC and the University of Indiana, she has also co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road and served as a tournament reporter for the WPT.