For the fourth consecutive year, the International Gaming Awards has awarded the ‘Poker Operator of the Year’ title to PokerStars, an Amaya Inc. (Nasdaq: AYA; TSX: AYA) brand.
“We are proud that the independent judging panel named PokerStars as the ‘Online Poker Operator of the Year’,” said Eric Hollreiser, vice president of Corporate Communications, Amaya and PokerStars. “We are grateful to have earned the award, and dedicate this to the millions of players and thousands of staff who have contributed to PokerStars’ ongoing success.”
REASONS FOR THE AWARD
There were three key themes behind PokerStars’ success in 2015: the bigger, better, & richer online tournaments; and a comprehensive vision to grow the game of poker.
The story that dominated headlines in 2015 at PokerStars was the massive popularity of Spin & Go’s (approx. 150 million real money games played on the global, shared liquidity, player pool), which was driven by two key attractions:
• The special $1 million Spin & Go tournaments, which cost as little as $0.50 to enter, and have resulted in 13 million-dollar winners to date.
• Spin & Go’s are perfect for mobile players. With most new players on PokerStars now joining through the mobile apps, mobile-friendly formats are likely to become even more popular in 2016 and beyond.
Online tournament festivals and special one-off events also flourished with PokerStars hosting the biggest World Championship of Online Poker to date (70 events), which resulted in the richest WCOOP ever with more than $66 million awarded to players across three weeks. There was also the biggest online tournament buy-in ever – a $51,000 Super High Roller – that was won by Canadian player Ben ‘Ben86′ Tollerene for more than $600k.
And if ever proof was needed that online poker is still incredibly popular around the world, PokerStars set a new Guinness World Record for Largest Online Poker Tournament in October, when 253,698 players registered for a $0.01 event, beating the previous record of 225,000 players set in June 2013.
As part of PokerStars’ comprehensive plan to introduce new audiences to poker, in May 2015, two of the world’s most famous sportsmen – Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr – joined PokerStars as brand ambassadors. The signings demonstrated a strong strategic move to introduce poker to mainstream audiences, Cristiano Ronaldo having the most popular Facebook page in the world with more than 100 million fans, and Neymar Jr also having over 50 million fans.