Players Advisory Council: Join us in Barcelona

With another exciting World Series of Poker (WSOP) now in rear view, we're aiming our sights across the pond to PokerStars Championship Barcelona where more than €13,000,000 in guarantees await the 385+ players who have already qualified for the Main Event! In the follow-up to my initial blog post, I wanted to provide an update regarding a few items that gained a little "Clarity" over the summer.

As many of you now know, PokerStars appointed David Carrion its new Director of Marketing back in July. David has been with the company since 2010, most recently serving as Director of Performance Marketing. In this new role, David will be charged with leading the global strategy of the PokerStars brand which includes advertising, digital, social media, content marketing and live events. David's passion for poker is matched only by his desire to deliver a brand that honors hearts and minds... and maybe CrossFit. The man loves CrossFit.


David Carrion at LAPT Peru

Now a little more than a month in his new capacity, David's vision has our team recharged, reenergized and ready to bring it as we move further into the second half of the year. Our aim is to create an experience that is equal parts exciting, competitive, genuine and trustworthy. David initiated a deep-dive analysis of our current operations during his first week and the review process remains ongoing. He also traveled to Las Vegas during the WSOP to connect with our player base directly to check the pulse of our player relations and better gauge the current sentiment. Expect some exciting announcements in the coming weeks and months as we plan for 2018 and beyond.

Shifting focus back to Barcelona, we're excited to be hosting a pair of Players Advisory Council (PAC) sessions on August 22 and 23. Senior executives from across the business will be in Barcelona to review current and upcoming business initiatives, discuss new ideas, answer questions and engage our player base in open-forum discussion. Our launch session in Monaco helped influence key live event decisions to revert payouts back to a 15% model, expand the use of shot clocks across our global events, conduct a thorough review of the live event qualifier path and reevaluate our approach to #StarsFun activity at events. Perhaps most notably, our Road to Barcelona promotion, which boasted two 50-seat guarantee mega-satellites and is currently on pace to surpass 400 total qualifiers, was significantly influenced by the feedback we received from our session in Monaco.

Day 1: online poker focus
The first PAC session in Barcelona will be dedicated solely to the online portion of the business and led by Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, along with Mike Jones, Senior Manager of the Poker Operations Team; Luke Staudenmaier, Tournaments Team Manager; and David Lyons, Department Head, Poker CRM Strategy and Promotions. The online session will be held on Tuesday, August 22 (Day 1B of the Main Event); time TBD.

Day 2: live event focus
The second session will run the very next day (August 23) and focus more on live event activity, though both Severin and David Lyons will be on hand to discuss any crossover items that might arise, including live event satellites and promotions. The session will also serve as an opportunity for our live event base to meet and engage with David Carrion in his new capacity. The council will commence following the conclusion of play on Day 2 of the Main Event.

Seats remain available on a first come, first served basis. If you'd like to get involved, please drop me an email at:, referencing this blog and the PAC.

In slightly more "electric" Barcelona news, GRAMMY-winning, superstar musician Zedd announced on Twitter Monday that he would be headlining the PokerStars Championship Barcelona player party and also playing a little poker himself:

If you're a fan of current music, you might recognize Zedd's chart-topping hit Stay, featuring Alessia Cara on vocals, which has been flooding global radio waves. He's also produced both Spectrum and Clarity; a pair of massive EDM tracks that blasted to the top of international charts and helped secure Zedd's status as a platinum recording artist.

During our last PAC session in Monaco, players made an impassioned plea to revisit the PokerStars parties of old with headlining performers and a greater sense of community. As such, we couldn't be more excited to bring Zedd to Barcelona, a stop that is known for its nightlife.

PokerStars players will receive priority access to Opium Barcelona and complimentary drinks before Zedd tears up the stage. For complete details of this announcement, click on over to the PokerStars Blog announcement.

Also in Barcelona, you could earn the chance to play in a seven-handed, winner-take-all $100,000 freeroll, with the sixth of seven PokerStars Championship Player of the Year (POY) finale seats up for grabs. Finish at the top of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona leaderboard and we'll award you with a $16,000 VIP package to the Bahamas where you'll join Bryn Kenney (Bahamas), Chris Hunichen (Panama), Nick Petrangelo (Macau), Daniel Dvoress (Monte Carlo), Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Sochi) and the eventual winner of the PokerStars Championship Prague leaderboard to play for all the marbles. The package includes a Main Event seat, a high category hotel room, airport transfers and spending money to use at Atlantis. Visit the PokerStars Championship POY leaderboard page to learn more!

One final note, I was quite humbled by the response to my last post and happy that many of you have taken me up on the offer to connect and start a dialogue. That offer remains, indefinitely. We are committed to delivering an offering that both meets and exceeds your expectations, and we get there by staying connected.

I hope to see you all in Barcelona!

Garry Gates is Senior Consultant of Player Affairs for PokerStars Live and can be contacted on Twitter @GarryGates, or by email at:

Garry Gates
@PokerStars in Inside PokerStars