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Despite the pandemic-led pushback, poker brands have not held back on expanding their online presence by roping in big names. In this 3-Bet feature, we’re back with three celebrity sign-ups, actually four.
First up, iconic Bollywood film star Sanjay Dutt has been onboarded by Ability Games as the company`s new brand ambassador. Dutt’s sign-up was announced earlier this month. In the video released by the brand, the actor can be seen endorsing all of the company`s gaming brands, including 11Wickets.com, Pokerlion, Rummy24, and Housieskill.
Less than a week after Run It Once Poker (RIOP) founder Phil Galfond welcomed Dan Cates as the poker training site`s new elite poker coach, another famous player has joined the company. Brian Hastings, aka “Stinger88,” has affirmed his new role as a RIOP coach.
888poker is another poker brand that has expanded its team pro roster by signing on Sam Abernathy and Jordan Banfield, the latter to its Twitch Stream Team.
Sanjay Dutt Joins Ability Games as Brand Ambassador
Sanjay Dutt, son of Bollywood legends Nargis and Sunil Dutt and an acclaimed actor in his own right, has been roped in by Ability Games. As the brand ambassador for the company, Dutt will be seen endorsing all of the company`s gaming verticals, including 11Wickets, Pokerlion, Rummy24, and Housieskill.
Ability Games tweeted a video featuring Dutt.
Double your dose of entertainment and get all set to play with Sanjay Dutt ! pic.twitter.com/mTTRgACLEs
— Ability Games (@Ability__Games) September 6, 2021
Speaking on the collaboration, Ability Games founder Suraj Chokhani said: “Sanjay Dutt is an ideal choice for Ability because we offer various games in the real money segment for all age groups, and Sanjay Dutt’s fan following is similar across all age groups and demographics. Not only this, we as a company believe in making the impossible, possible and Mr. Dutt is a perfect presenter because of his aura and potential to make possible happen.”
For Dutt, the brand association comes a year after being diagnosed with stage 4-lung cancer. The actor took treatment and is reportedly cancer-free and on his way to recovery.
On his part, Dutt said that he “feels excited and charged to be part of Ability Family” and is enjoying this new association.
Brian “Stinger88” Hastings Joins Run It Once as Elite Coach
Two days ago, we had reported on legendary heads-up poker specialist Dan Cates joining the Run It Once (RIOP) team of “Elite Coaches.” Founder Phil Galfond was evidently busy striking another association. And the secret is finally out, with Brian Hastings becoming the latest poker pro to be signed on as an RIO coach.
Hastings broke the news on Twitter.
I am very excited to join @RunItOnce as a coach! I've been an Elite member since the early days of the site and watched countless videos over the years. I'm excited to contribute to a site that has personally helped me a ton.
— Brian Hastings (@brianchastings) September 22, 2021
Known as the old-school player, the 33-year-old Hastings has been playing poker professionally for 15 years. He started playing the game when still in high school and is best known for his $4 Million winning session against Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom in 2009. Currently, Hastings primarily plays $500-1K online NLH cash, online MTTs on US-facing sites like Ignition and ACR, and $1,100 – $10K live MTTs.
Hastings has also been involved in a few controversies over the years. As a Team Pro for the CardRunners training site, he collaborated with fellow team pros Brian Townsend and Cole South to discuss Blom’s strengths and weaknesses. This was against Full Tilt’s policy at the time. Hastings was also named in a multi-accounting scandal later and had announced his retirement from the game in 2016.
Controversies apart, Hastings is widely considered one of the best online players out there. RIO welcomed Hastings in a blog post, elaborating that the four-time bracelet champion has been a staple in the poker world for two decades and has honed his skills at different poker variants. However, his recent focus has been primarily MTTs and NL cash games.
Hastings also came out with his first video for the site accessible only to RIO subscribers, where he analyzes two hands he played this past Sunday.
888poker Onboards Samantha Abernathy & Jordan Banfield
Global poker brand 888poker has expanded its line-up of poker ambassadors by adding Samantha Abernathy and Jordan Banfield onto its fold.
Abernathy is a professional poker pro best known for her third-place finish in the 2016 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event. She has a strong social media fan base with 95.5K followers on Instagram and joins Dominik Nitsche, Vivian Saliba, Kara Scott, and Sofia Lovgren in endorsing the brand.
However, Abernathy has big shoes to fill. Her announcement as an 888poker ambassador comes hot on the heels of Chris Moorman’s exit from the team in August.
Confirming that she’d joined 888poker, Abernathy said, “I’m looking forward to growing as a player with 888poker. Reconnecting with friends on the felt, and my hope is just to inspire others to take the leap in their own journey to play this great game.”
Taking to Twitter, Abernathy said she is grateful for the opportunity to grow with 888.
Absolutely delighted to be joining Team @888poker!???
Slowing down this year, I learned life's too short to let your passions fall by the wayside. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to grow with 888! ? Playing lots more poker, sharing more on social & even a bit of Twitch ? pic.twitter.com/PBN5s0p2fJ
— Samantha (@SamAbernathyy) September 23, 2021
Canadian poker player Jordan Banfield is a popular twitch streamer onboarded to the 888poker’s Twitch Stream Team. With his presence, 888 hopes to grow its presence among the growing pool of online players.
Banfield expressed his excitement at joining the brand – “I’m very excited to work with 888poker! I aim to provide great content through this collaboration and am proud to rep the brand as one of their online pros.”