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Athletes turned Poker Stars

With the creation of online poker came the world of poker sponsorship; a win-win situation for both the internet card rooms and their sponsored players. The internet card rooms have gained a great deal of exposure by patching up marketable players who are sure to get a good deal of media exposure, while those wearing the patches are compensated variously for wearing the brand. Poker becomes more accessible to the mainstream, which is good for the players and good for the brand; everyone wins.

While big time poker celebrities like Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Negreanu are obvious choices for being branded, the online poker room PokerStars has taken it one step further with their move of signing former and current professional athletes to represent the site. Dubbing them “PokerStars SportStars,” the card room has achieved a great deal by signing on these athletes; they are not only marketing their brand through familiar faces to the poker community (which naturally possesses a great deal of sports fans), but are also tapping a virtually untapped wealth of celebrities who are naturally inclined to bring dedication, discipline and their competitive natures to the poker tables.

Fatima Moreira de Melo

A fierce competitor hailing from Holland, Fatima Moreira de Melo is known for her impressive results on the field hockey field as well as her natural good looks which only contribute further to her marketability. Fatima debuted with the Dutch national field hockey team in 1997 and accomplished much in the sport including playing with the team who won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and a silver medal in Athens in 2004. In addition to her athletic achievements, Fatima has a master’s degree in law and is an accomplished singer. In the poker world, she has impressed her fans with several deep runs in major tournament events that have earned her nearly $175,000. You can find Fatima playing online at PokerStars.com under the screen name ‘FatimaDeMelo’.

Boris Becker

As one of the most acclaimed and beloved tennis players in history, Boris Becker dazzled his fans on the clay court for over 15 years. In 1985, Becker set the record for the youngest player to ever win a Wimbledon singles title, and won the same event in both 1986 and 1989. In 1992, he took home a gold medal from the Barcelona Olympics. During Becker’s career, he won an astounding 49 major titles. Poker is certainly a natural fit for this fierce competitor, and he has shown great promise thus far as a member of Team PokerStars. Becker has several cashes in major poker tournaments, including finishes on the World Poker Tour (WPT) and the European Poker Tour (EPT). You can play with Boris Becker exclusively online at PokerStars.com under the name ‘Boris Becker’.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis prodigy Rafael Nadal is the newest addition to the PokerStars family, and is an amazing pick up for the company. As one of the most famed tennis players of all time, Nadal is currently in the middle of an explosive career which is littered with major titles and record breaking results. Nadal holds an Olympic gold medal, seven French Open wins and eleven Grand Slam singles titles, just to name a few of his accomplishments. His performance on the tennis court has earned him a great deal of international popularity, which is clearly displayed by his number of fans and followers on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. With his amazing results and dedication on the tennis court, Nadal is sure to impress on PokerStars’ virtual felt, where you can find him playing under the name ‘Rafa’.


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