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Poker news | Feb 22, 2021

Celina Lin Parts Ways with PokerStars

By RTR Dennis

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Celina Lin was on PokerStars’ Team Asia for 11 years. However, this relationship has come to an end in early 2021.

Lin follows several other PokerStars pros, including Chris Moneymaker, who’ve recently parted ways with the world’s largest online poker site.

History of Celina Lin’s PokerStars Sponsorship

PokerStars has been forging a path into Asia for well over a decade. Lin was one of their first signings in this process.

Stars inked a deal with Lin in 2010 after watching her accumulate numerous live tournament cashes. This partnership quickly paid off when Celina gained attention for winning the Red Dragon tournament along with $110,077 at the 2012 Macau Cup.

The Chinese poker pro continued to build an impressive resume from then until 2019. She’s cashed in dozens of tournaments and boasts $1.03 million in career winnings.

Why Has Lin Split with PokerStars?

Celina didn’t give a concrete reason for leaving Stars. As seen in the tweet above, she did imply that she’d like to spend more “quality time” with loved ones.

Lin was also appreciative of her time spent with PokerStars. “I want start by saying [thanks] to PokerStars & all the amazing ppl I have met & worked with over the years. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to travel the [world], play [poker] & call it work.”

Traveling and playing in numerous live tourneys throughout the year can be a grind. Doing it for a decade is even tougher.

Lin is probably searching for a new challenge in life. She’ll likely still play plenty of poker but will slow down now that she’s no longer under contract.

Other PokerStars Pros Who’ve Recently Left

As mentioned before, other PokerStars pros have also parted ways with the company. Twitch streamers James Mackenzie, Eva Reberc, and Nick Walsh have each left the team recently. PokerStars pros Kalidou Sow and Mikhail Shalamov split just before 2020 ended.

2003 WSOP Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker made headlines for his recent departure from PokerStars. Moneymaker had been a fixture with Stars for 17 years before hanging it up.

PokerStars Taking a New Marketing Turn

The days of filling out a sponsored online poker team with seasoned tournament pros is largely over. Stars, like other online poker sites, is exploring a fresh market perspective. They’ve filled some of the vacancies on Team PokerStars with ex-sports stars and social-media personalities.

For example, they recently signed retired French footballer and actor David Ginola to a deal. Ginola will work for the company under PokerStars France.

Stars has also formed a partnership with YouTuber Brian ‘True Geordie’ Davis. True Geordie first dipped his toes into the poker waters by doing a short promotional series. He’s since expanded his role by filming a video series with poker pro Charlie Carrel.

Of course, pros like Lin will still have value to certain internet poker rooms moving forward. It’s clear, though, that PokerStars and other sites are trying to reach audiences beyond just the typical poker fan.

YouTubers and ex-athletes hold lots of appeal with the common recreational player. The latter is the exact target group that Stars is chasing these days.