PokerCentral, 888poker Extend and Expand Partnership

Online poker-content hub Poker Central® has announced the renewal of its major sponsorship deal with 888poker, expanded so that the international and US-facing operator will be the in-show sponsor of this spring’s Super High Roller Bowl, along with what PokerCentral describes as “other marquee PokerCentral events through 2019.”

The deal includes far more than just the SHRB. According to PokerCentral, which is owned by several prominent poker players and associated figures, the extended deal also includes “broadcast integrations” through several other popular and high-profile poker events throughout 2018, much of it available through PokerCentral’s PokerGO direct-to-consumer service. That list currently includes the U.S. Poker Open, Poker Masters, Poker After Dark, and the ARIA High Roller Series.

The list of events is solid, though it notably omits both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, both of which have partnered with PokerGO in the past. Both of those prominent series might have contractual sponsorship deals in place that might supercede PokerCentral’s own desires to obtain independent sponsorship, though such is just conjecture.

The deal still brings a level of ongoing financial stability to PokerCentral’s and PokerGO’s operations. The company has stabilized as an online provider after washing out as a planned cable-service channel in its original inception, only to find that access all but unobtainable. Nonetheless — and admittedly, with some bumps along the way — PokerCentral and PokerGo have emerged as a source of poker content simply not available anywhere else.

“This is our third consecutive year partnering with 888poker, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them on board for our growing slate of prestigious events,” said Sam Simmons, vice president of content at Poker Central. “Together, we’re looking forward to further growing the sport by offering more tournaments that poker fans and professionals alike will enjoy.”

888poker also plans to offer some reciprocal opportunities to PokerCentral as part of the renewed sponsorship. PokerCentral owns some of the events which it broadcasts, including the Super High Roller Bowl and the Poker Masters. Now, via 888poker, players will have a chance to qualify for some of these tourneys. The Super High roller Bowl, for instance, is technically an invitation-only event, even though its cap has been muddied in strange ways in the past.

Though not specified in the announcement, a special 888poker for an SHRB package could now be in the planning stages. We’ll see if that comes to be in a few weeks. For now it’s just a generic, “888poker will also be offering its players highly sought-after packages to Poker Central’s exclusive events.”

And here’s one more generic quote, courtesy of  Guy Cohen, SVP head of B2C (business to consumer) at 888 Holdings, 888poker’s parent company. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Poker Central and look forward to the fantastic initiatives we will pursue together,” said Cohen. “888poker’s commitment to ‘taking back the game’ is further strengthened by this renewed partnership. This exciting collaboration will connect our players to global poker content of the highest calibre both as fans and participants.”

PokerCentral will likely draw plenty of marquee names to the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, which generally serves as a precursor to the busy opening weeks of the WSOP. This year’s SHRB features a $300,000 buy-in, guaranteeing a limited field of well-heeled entrants. The three previous SHRB winners are Christoph Vogelsang (2017), Rainer Kempe (2016), and Brian Rast (2015). Plenty of other “big name” pros take part, with PokerCentral touting that Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Dominik Nitsche, Phil Hellmuth, and Phil Ivey have been among previous years’ entrants.

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