November Nine apart, partypoker have bucked the trend, by adding to their sponsored pro roster, rather than sending someone to the rail marked ‘permanent’.
The new face belongs to the former New Jersey Devils ice hockey star, Ken Daneyko, and he has been hired to help Mike Sexton, Kara Scott, Jamie Kerstetter and Scott Baumstein promote the brand in New Jersey.
Daneyko will make his official online debut in the partypoker $200,000 Guaranteed Main Event, during the Garden State Super Series (GSSS), and we will see him for the first time, live, at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open.
The 50-year-old, father of two, spent his entire 20-year career with the New Jersey Devils, setting a record for most games played with 1,283, a haul that earned him the nickname “Mr. Devil.”
The signing comes just weeks after PokerStars severed ties with several high profile Latin American Team Pros, and Ultimate Poker, did likewise with a significant portion of their staffing.
It’s also a sign of the times, with a heavy focus being placed on the signing of established, or former, sports stars, rather than high profile names within the poker industry. Rafael Nadal at PokerStars and Shane Warne at 888Poker two of the more obvious big sporting brand names associated with poker.
But can he play the game?
The 3-time Stanley Cup Champion’s current form is quite decent. In April he beat 271 players to win the $230 NLHE Deepstack Re-Entry at the Borgata Spring Poker Open, and he also placed 61st, from a 3,599 player field, in the WPT500 event that took place at the Aria Resort & Casino this summer.
Daneyko is also an accomplished commentator so watch for him to be making appearances alongside the likes if Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten.
“I used to get excited at the drop of a puck but now I can’t wait for the turn of the river,” said Daneyko. “Joining Team partypoker with a great champion like Mike Sexton and a great team in Kara, Jamie and Scott makes us the perfect line-up. I love New Jersey, I love poker and there is no better place to play online in the Garden State than on partypoker.com. I can’t wait to play, have fun, win and make new friends online…but mostly win because I love the competition.”
Mike Sexton also endorsed the new signing when he said, “Ken was a fierce competitor on the ice and from what I’ve seen, and he’s even fiercer at the poker table.”