The poker players behind PokerStars face off
Here's something you need to know about PokerStars' people: they know poker. In the early days of PokerStars, the staff was made up almost exclusively of poker players. The concept was simple: how better to serve your customers than to know and love the game they play?
Since those early days, the company has gotten bigger and bigger, and it's had to expand beyond the existing poker player pool to staff its many departments.
And guess what? Those new people became poker players, too. How? It's part of the standard company training, and the rewards are more than a friendly performance review.
Evidence: what happened last week at the UKIPT Isle of Man event.
What you see there is Fatima Moreira de Melo dealing an event exclusively to the people who make sure you can play poker safely, fairly, and enjoyably every day. These nine ended up here after battling against more than 1,000 employees from around the world in online staff contests built around the company training program known as Build Your Stack.
1. Steve Clarricoats - Poker Room Operations (Isle of Man)
2. Francois Cristau - Global Support (Australia)
3. Steven Brian (aka The 2014 reigning BYS Champion) - Financial Planning & Analysis (Isle of Man).
4. Andrea Jimenez - Global Support (Costa Rica)
5. Dmitri Martsuk - Fraud & Security (Ireland)
6. Pete Zorbas - Global Support (Australia)
7. Alessio Valotti - Global Support (Malta)
8. Gioachino Bartolotta - Infrastructure (Ireland)
9. Artjom Kutjavin- Fraud & Security (Ireland)
The point of all this is simple: when it comes to running a poker company, PokerStars wants people to know the game, and the company rewards people for doing so. In the end, that is better for you, the player.
"The final table was on the stage, and Lee Jones told all our players in the main hall about BYS and our finalists, and they got a huge round of applause from our players," said Beverly Williams, Director of Training and Development.
When it was all said and done, last year's champ Steven Brian finished third, Francois Cristau came runner-up, and Steve Clarricoats (perhaps the only man who has ever loaned me money to keep me in a poker game...) finished with the trophy.
So, congratulations to Steve and all the others who made the final table, and thanks to the company for keeping poker players on the front lines in the quest to maintain PokerStars' place at the top.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging.