PokerStars Clarifies Neymar Jr Role as Cultural Ambassador

As 2020 came to a close, poker players around the world were ready to kick the year out the door and start a new year, one without a pandemic. PokerStars indicated its readiness to also bring in 2021 with something new and fresh – a partnership with football legend Neymar Jr.

Granted, the relationship wasn’t completely new, popping up out of thin air. PokerStars and Neymar Jr worked together as far back as 2015 when he attended and played in the European Poker Tour’s season finale (EPT Grand Finale, officially) in Monaco. It wasn’t much of a stretch for the longtime poker fan to solidify his love of the game with a deal to represent PokerStars.

Neymar Jr became a PokerStars Brand Ambassador and did numerous promotions for the company in 2015 and 2016. Also, his connections to PokerStars ran deeper via his close friendship with longtime Team PokerStars Pro and fellow Brazilian Andre Akkari.

In December 2020, PokerStars announced a reconnection with Neymar Jr, one that seemed to be more of a commitment than an occasional advertisement or poker tournament.

As Neymar Jr released videos telling the world he was “IN” with PokerStars, PokerStars put his name on a promotion for the then-upcoming Blowout Series.

PokerStars Cultural Ambassador in 2021

PokerStars revealed this month that Neymar Jr “cultivates” a new role, officially becoming a cultural ambassador for the company. This is a new title, something not previously bestowed – to my knowledge – upon a sponsored pro in the world of poker.

An ambassador for poker is one who promotes the game, makes it more welcoming, and highlights the best of it. A cultural ambassador is one who will likely do those same things but with a focus on how poker mixes with his Brazilian culture in the forms of music, possibly sport and people.

Neymar Jr commented on it: “Poker is so much more than just the game. It is a community and a culture and that is what I love about it. I am excited to start this next chapter with PokerStars, and we are already collaborating on a number of key areas.”

It seems the partnership will become clearer as it moves forward.

Setting the Stage on Spotify

Neymar Jr said, “Music is a real passion of mine, so that was first on the list, but there is much more to come. I am excited for you to see what else we have in store.”

Music is a part of any culture, and it is a part of poker for many players. So, Neymar Jr set up a Spotify playlist called NJRadio. His four playlists contain music from a variety of artists from both South and North America and from several genres. And they reflect different moods:

  • Chill like Neymar Jr
  • Focus like Neymar Jr
  • Play like Neymar Jr
  • Listen like Neymar Jr

PokerStars noted that the playlists are the “ultimate soundtrack for every type of poker game.”

Taking a Seat at the Tables

Admittedly, Neymar doesn’t and won’t play as much poker as the averaged sponsored pro. He is a bit busy with his career, not to mention other sponsors like Puma. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of free time.

When he does, though, he will play under the screen name “iamneymarjr” online. He plans to log on to PokerStars.FR, the French ring-fenced site, when he’s in that country to play, and he can do the same on the sites in Spain and Portugal when football takes him there. When he’s at home in Brazil, he will play on the global PokerStars.com website.

Neymar Jr also launched a Twitch channel, where he played a few livestream sessions of online poker. His strong suit – if you will – is live poker, but he’s been willing to get online to play and interact with fans. His last streams were earlier in the year but he intends to do more.

Speaking of live poker, he fully intends to play in some live tournaments in the post-pandemic world.

PokerStars Promotions

The first of two PokerStars online poker promotions featuring Neymar started this month. The Neymar Jr Chip Chase started April 14 and runs through May 7.

Players can opt in to the promo in the Challenges window. From there, real-money poker game challenges lead to Stars Rewards Chests, which will contain special Neymar Jr chips. Each chip grants a specific number of moves on the online version of a board game with a football theme, complete with yellow cards and penalties. Win the board game to score $20K. Some chests offer instant prizes of up to $400.

Altogether, the promotion is offering $1M in prizes.

The second of the promotions is the Golden Chip Giveaway. This one has only a few days left, as players must opt in by Friday, April 23.

By playing any hand of real-money online poker, players unlock chests that contain everything from cash to freeroll tickets. The key prizes are Golden Chips; there are 10 of them in total. Those special chips open Neymar Jr X PokerStars boxes that contains gives, everything from poker prizes to signed Neymar merchandise. Some players will even win prize packages containing VIP experiences.

Tickets to the aforementioned freeroll are serious, too, as the Golden Chip Freeroll will award $300K.

The entire Golden Chip promotion will award $850K worth of cash and prizes.

And this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more promotions throughout the year.

 

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen

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