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Five Unsponsored Poker Pros

28 December 2011, By:
Poker sponsorships are, or can be, a bit weird.
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Poker sponsorships are, or can be, a bit weird.

Some can be a sign that a young player has arrived and is now one of the best in the game.

Some are a recognition of a long record of achievement at the tables.

Some can be based entirely on physical appearance or being in the right place at the right time.

Some, who knows what they're exactly based on.

Given the uncertain online poker climate post-Black Friday and the difficulty in pinning down just exactly what makes for a successful sponsorship, it's hard to say what the poker sponsorships of the coming years will look like.

But there are still a few high- or medium-profile players that are either without legitimate sponsorships and have never received a deal.

These are five pros who seem like they should have a deal with someone, somewhere, in some form.

(Note that in most cases this list ignores those that were sponsored by Full Tilt or UB).

1) Doyle Brunson

The long-time spokesman for his own branded online poker site, Doyle's Room, Doyle left the site for good after Black Friday.

Amazingly, he has not been picked up in any capacity by any online poker sites - or even a brick and mortar poker room in Las Vegas.

Phil Ivey, Bobby Baldwin and even Jamie Gold have poker rooms.

Why not one for Doyle?

2) Jean-Robert Bellande

Before you laugh at this one, consider the fact that Tiffany Michelle was sponsored by UltimateBet.

While known as a lovable loser and with a bankroll that bounces more than checks from Full Tilt, he still has quite a following and has had many high-profile finishes.

Also, like Michelle, he was on a major, primetime reality show.

It is surprising that he hasn't hooked up some type of minor online poker sponsorship.

Granted, this could change if Aria opens a US online poker site next year.

3) Kathy Liebert

A WSOP bracelet winner and #1 on the Women's All-Time Money List, Liebert has largely been ignored in terms of online poker sponsorship.

Many feel that part of it is because she doesn't fit the typical stereotype of "hot poker chick."

Others feel that Pokerkat's tendency to share her non-pc opinions have led to sponsors staying away.

4) Jerry Yang

Yang is the only Main Event champion since 2003 that has not received some type of major poker sponsorship.

He was a "friend" of Full Tilt, but reports suggest he was a non-compensated friend.

A combination of the way he won the Main Event along with his unwillingness to embrace the role of poker ambassador after winning the title has led to him being nearly unsponsorable.

Still, for an incredibly well respected and liked person with ties to both the Christian and Asian communities, it seems odd someone hasn't offered him some type of deal.

5) Robert Varkonyi

Again, before you start laughing, hear us out.

Varkonyi won the 2002 World Series of Poker and is considered by many one of the biggest flukes in major poker history.

The fact that his resume is largely unimpressive after his Main Event win has also led to a lack of sponsorship opportunities.

Still, if you're looking for a guy that won't intimidate people about how tough poker is, Varkonyi is your guy.

Almost like a reverse psychology sponsorship.

Unfortunately no deal for Varkonyi looks to be on the horizon.

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