Many times, when poker players make the Main Event final table at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the top prize isn’t all they want; they also seek potential sponsorship deals worth millions.
Yet in 2016, the golden age of traditional poker sponsorship is over. Whereas back in 2004, it was easy for even middleweight poker players to find sponsorship, this is no longer the case.
As a result, some poker players turn to friends in high places. Jay Farber, for example, turned to his close friend and fellow poker player Dan Bilzerian for $2000. Farber used this money to make his way through the rounds and into second place at the 2013 WSOP Main Event. Farber gave Bilzerian $1 million of his $5 million prize money as a thank-you.
But how do players without rich or influential friends bankroll their place at the tables? Well, it’s clear that getting sponsorship is harder than it used to be. Even online poker doesn’t attract the same level of sponsorship it used to. For this reason, it’s necessary to think outside the box…
Find your niche
The fact is that most poker players are white males in their mid-twenties. With this in mind, if you’re female, then you have a better chance of attracting sponsors, as in the case of Liv Boeree (who is very talented, as well as attractive).
The likes of YouTube stars like Chiren80 gained sponsorship because of their unique approaches. His tactic is based on winning small on a large number of different online poker games.
Chiren80’s background in video games would make him – or someone like him – a prime candidate for video poker sponsorship if he loses his current deal.
Video poker is unique for returning more than 90% of it takes in. Meanwhile, the house advantage is a lot lower than in online poker.
If want to learn more about this type of poker and how it differs from the standard online version, All Jackpots Casino describes video poker in great detail on its website. While there are plenty of pro video poker players, it is relatively untapped in terms of sponsorship. With this in mind it could be a way for you to find the bankroll you need.
Give something back
A must for any poker player who wants a sponsor is to give back to the poker community. This may mean doing more interviews, being receptive and more visible.
André Coimbra updates his blog, gives strategy advice and posts videos. The same is true of new-school players like the aforementioned Chiren80, who shared his experiences as a pro on his YouTube channel.
Sports sponsorship relies on this kind of content marketing and poker is no different. It is therefore important to understand the different marketing channels and engage with your audience.
Be loyal to a poker room
Perhaps the best opportunity to find a poker sponsor lay in staying loyal to one poker room. This is because a number of poker rooms and websites are choosing to reward their most loyal players.