Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kid Poker Joins PokerStars.

There's really no argument that Toronto born Daniel Negreanu is the best known and most successful professional Canadian poker player, and indeed is one of the world's best known pros. So it's no surprise that online poker powerhouse PokerStars would recruit Negreanu to its team of pros, which includes 2003, 2004, and 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event winners Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and Joe Hachem. It also includes another Canadian, Quebec's Isabelle Mercier.

Negreanu had previously been associated with the poker site Full Contact Poker, including playing a role in founding the site. And yesterday's announcement of his joining PokerStars coincided with Full Contact announcing they will merge with PokerStars. As one blogger commented this can be considered evidence of the consolidation of the online poker industry. Last year's American legislation against online gambling had a major impact on the business, with many sites deciding to leave the US market. This included PartyPoker, which had been one of the big players in the US market, and was claimed before the passing of the Safe Port Act to be the biggest of the online poker sites..

But many sites decided to continue to service American customers who wanted to play real money poker. This included PokerStars, and as a result they scooped up a large percentage of US online poker players abandoned by other sites. This resulted in them taking over the position of biggest online poker site in the world, and their strength may very well push other sites to merge in an effort to compete, while others may decide they just can't compete and cease operations, especially if they aren't willing to take the risk of servicing the lucrative American market.

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