Jan 11, 2015
PokerStars Asian Marketing Bolstered by Signing Kosei Ichinose and Aditya Agarwal
By RTR Dennis
Asia is still largely an untapped market for online poker rooms, leaving many sites figuring out how to best market poker to the continent's 4.4 billion-plus residents. In PokerStars' case, they chose to bolster their appeal here by signing two of Asia's top poker players - Kosei Ichinose (Japan) and Aditya Agarwal (India). Kirsty Thompson, PokerStars' Head of Pro & Celebrity Management, highlighted the importance of signing these two pros and what they mean to the site's global appeal:
"The signing of these Team Pros from India and Japan is an important step in PokerStars Asian marketing strategy, and in helping promote the game in countries where poker is only just coming to the fore. Both players are highly respected within the poker sphere, and their success and passion for the game will no doubt spread throughout their local and national communities."
It was previously thought that PokerStars was distancing themselves from using signed pros as a marketing tool. However, it's pretty clear that they see some value in Ichinose and Agarwal, given the untapped countries that they're from. Now that we've covered this deal, let's take a closer look at Ichinose and Agarwal as players.
Aditya Agarwal: over $4m earned in online poker
Agarwal has had a solid live tournament career, with $394,509 in winnings to his name. However, he's made a much larger impact through his online poker screen name, "Intervention," earning well over $4 million during his career. And the Indian sees being signed by PokerStars as a dream realized.
"I've been playing at PokerStars since 2004, so this is a dream come true for me," he said. "As a poker ambassador I want to help promote the game in India, and inspire more players to play and enjoy the sport."
Kosei Ichinose: first Supernova Elite from Japan
Like Agarwal, Ichinose has also posted solid live results with $305,677 in tournament winnings. But what he's best known for is becoming the first Supernova Elite from Japan while playing under 'shinbunshi.' To date, he's earned almost $2.3 million in online poker tournaments.
"I'm proud to be associated with PokerStars as I have achieved so much in the game by playing on the site," he said. "I now look forward to helping spread the popularity of poker in Asia and representing the brand at major international tournaments like the upcoming Aussie Millions later this month."
Based on both players' comments, they remain committed to helping popularize the PokerStars brand throughout Asia. And given that India and Japan are quite large, Ichinose and Agarwal should at least interest plenty of players in their own countries.