A new year marks a new chapter, a new beginning for all and it seems a few of the industry’s most decorated pros have decided to switch their attention elsewhere. Bidding farewell to PokerStars’ Team Pro are two prominent figures in the live tournament poker scene, Asia’s Celina Lin and the widely famous 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker. This familiar move leaves the top poker platform’s roster of ambassadors with only ten pros for now, including the likes of Twitch streamer Lex Veldhuis and 2019’s PSPC winner Ramon Colillas.
Fresh start for Asian pro Celina Lin
A true icon for the Asian poker community, Chinese native Celina Lin ultimately caught everyone’s eye when she impressively took down the 2012 Red Dragon Main Event at the Macau Poker Cup for $110,077. Beginning her poker journey back in 2004, Lin grew to be a winning player in both the live and online field prior to her career-best six-figure score. She reportedly built a $10,000 online bankroll in a short span of three weeks to jump start her career following an unexpected profitable start in her local casino in Australia. A refreshing discovery, Lin was immediately drawn to the game pushing her to eventually become a full-fledged pro and develop her poker skills full-time.
In addition to being the first ever female winner of Macau’s biggest tournament, Lin has had multiple deep runs and a few notable wins in top-level events. Her long list of live tournament cashes dating as far back as 2007 has now amounted to over $1.02 million. Below are some of the highlights from her decade and a half-long career:
|US$ 1,125 WSOP Circuit – No Limit Hold’em||January 2019||2nd||$23,369|
|HK$ 11,000 Asia Championship of Poker Megastack Championship||October 2017||2nd||$27,345|
|HK$ 8,000 Macau Poker Cup Baby Dragon||February 2017||2nd||$72,812|
|HK$ 11,000 Asia Championship of Poker Deepstack Championship||November 2016||1st||$61,294|
|HK$ 10,120 Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon||June 2012||1st||$110,077|
|HK$ 9,400 Macau Poker Cup – No Limit Hold’em||July 2009||1st||$50,932|
|AU $10,200 ANZPT Sydney High Roller||May 2009||3rd||$29,255|
|AU$ 3,000 ANZPT Adelaide Main Event||February 2009||7th||$15,098|
|HK$ 9,600 Macau Cup – No Limit Hold’em||July 2008||2nd||$10,492|
While her success assisted the growth of poker well within the Asian market inviting many recreational players to take a shot in the male-dominated and pro-heavy game, it seems that Lin has other plans in continuing her poker journey. From being a PokerStars pro for several years now, Lin recently took to social media to post a memorable tribute to her time with the group as well as a final goodbye. Following her exit, poker fans can still expect to see Lin at the tables although possibly not as much as compared to her previous appearances.
I will start by saying ? 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 ?, play ?? & call it work.
2021 let’s hope for more freedom, more adventures & more quality time with our ♥️ ones pic.twitter.com/WBnn1r7wUq
— Celina Lin (@CelinaLin) January 6, 2021
Chris Moneymaker ends 17-year sponsorship with PokerStars
Coming into the new year, Chris Moneymaker right off the bat made a huge announcement similarly ending his sponsorship under PokerStars’ wing. The 45-year old released a video message on Twitter to his beloved fans that after 17 years of working with the world’s leading platform, things have led him to make quite an interesting decision to leave PokerStars effective immediately. In his post, he shared his intentions to spend more quality time with his loved ones and play a little bit less poker potentially.
2020 has been a year. Sad news. Thanks for everything @PokerStars pic.twitter.com/tT1rZ12QGr
— Chris Moneymaker (@CMONEYMAKER) December 31, 2020
While the decision may seem unexpected given the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, an entire live poker tour backed by the iconic figure was just launched in January 2019 and is scheduled to continue this year, the renowned platform likewise shared its positive sentiments for its long-time partnership with the pro. In its social media account, PokerStars published a five-minute video tribute thanking the famed champion for almost two decades worth of support.
After 17 years as a PokerStars Ambassador, today we say farewell to @CMONEYMAKER.
Thank you for everything you’ve done for PokerStars, the game of poker & the industry. Without you, who knows where we would all be today, we can’t thank you enough.
Farewell, but not goodbye. ? pic.twitter.com/1EW9FOTWrJ
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) December 31, 2020
One of PokerStars’ most visible ambassadors, Moneymaker captured the hearts of thousands of poker players all around the globe. From winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million from an $86 online satellite to joining the industry’s legends in the Poker Hall of Fame, Moneymaker has contributed and represented the growing poker community throughout the years. While the end of an era may be in retrospect, the Moneymaker effect will always be remembered regardless of his departure from the PokerStars team, a prevalent name forever etched in the poker community and the game’s overall history.