PokerStars Class of 2001: Ribs

While PokerStars celebrates its fifth anniversary, it is also celebrating the Class of 2001, the people who have been around since the very beginning and have stuck around to make PokerStars the biggest and best online poker site on the planet. I've tracked down a few of the old-timers. Over the next few days, I'll be bringing you some of their stories.

Graham "Ribs" Ribchester was one of the beta boys. In 2001, PokerStars invited several people to participate in beta freeroll tournaments in which players could win Frequent Player Points. Ribchester played happily and won his fair share of FPPs.

"I ended up using 10,000 FPPs to enter a few $2,000 prize pool freeroll tournaments," Ribchester said, and then joked, "Little did I know that if I had held onto that for a couple of years, when the system was revamped, it would have been worth a lot more."

These days, Ribchester is so dedicated to poker life, and PokerStars in particular, that he is often accused of being a walking advertising board. "I love poker merchandise, and I'm always wearing it," he said. "Literally over 300 days a year, I'm wearing Pokerstars clothes."

Ribchester in his PokerStars rugby and PokerStars Aston Martin Racing hat

Ribchester actually spends most of his time playing Omaha cash games where he has "happily grinded many tens of thousands of dollars sitting in cash games over the years." Despite his Omaha background, Ribchester has done well in some no-limit hold'em freerolls, including taking third place in the first-ever World Blogger Championship of Online Poker.

Ribchester's poker beginnings were not the stuff of fancy and frollicking, though. He explains it like this:

"My formal education...came to an abrupt halt when my father was paralyzed in a car accident. It meant I had to find an income for myself. So, I made the decision to start playing poker online in evenings while working a day job. I had been grinding away making $100 a week at low limits for 2 hours a day, but that changed to 12 hours a day soon after when the business I was working for got bought out and people got laid off."

Now, at age 29, Ribs makes his living playing poker. "When I started on Stars I was grinding the PLO8 $25 tables," he said. "PokerStars helped my game a lot simply by having low enough stakes for me to be able to learn the game."

When he first started out, things didn't go as well as he hoped. He lost about $1,100 online in the first three months of playing. He credits PokerStars with helping him turn it around.

"Stars helped...with lots of table selection. The other aspect of my game that was helped with Stars was the option for avatars. One of my strengths is my memory, and the ability to remember the people I play against as a picture rather than a name aids the memory process," he said.

Now, if you follow Ribs around PokerStars, you can find him playing some of the bigger games. He's one of fewer than ten members of the Class of 2001 who maintain Superova status in the PokerStars VIP club. As you'll see by the picture below, he doesn't shy away from big pots.

Ribchester rarely plays live poker. He said, "Why should I when I have PokerStars? I play six tables online simultaneously. Real life poker just bores me to tears with how slow it is, especially Omaha. I am a member of the Grosvenor Casino in Salford, UK. But if I do play, it's only a social occasion."

When he's not cleaning up at the Omaha tables, Ribchester will occasionally hold cancer charity tournaments on PokerStars.

Thanks to Graham "Ribs" Ribchester for spending the last five years with PokerStars. Here's to another great and profitable five years.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in