The long-running sponsorship deal between partypoker and one of its most famous sponsored players, American pro Isaac “Ike” Haxton, is ending. Haxton went public with news of the deal ending after four years on Saturday.
“My time with PartyPoker is over,” Haxton announced. “It’s been a fun four years, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them. I wish them all the best going forward. Happy new year everyone!”
Partypoker quickly confirmed Haxton’s departure, which appears to have occurred on very amicable terms:
Haxton remains among all-time leading money winners
Haxton’s departure from partypoker wasn’t performance-based. When he signed with party in January of 28th (following a similar multi-year tour of duty representing another major site, PokerStars), he ranked 22nd on the all-time tournament poker list. As of the end of 2021, according to The HendonMob database, Haxton ranks 17th, with more than $27 million in lifetime winnings.
Instead, as is often the case with American players signed as ambassadors for international sites, one potential issue might have been the very slow rate at which legalized online poker has expanded in the U.S. Haxton’s home state of New York was once on the hot list of U.S. states that seemed ready to legalize online poker, but New York and several other states pivoted toward the legalization of sports betting instead. Despite Haxton’s widespread fame and popularity, the slow U.S. growth ultimately limited his recruitment value to the site. The Partypoker US Network is available today in only three U.S. states — New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Haxton, a Syracuse native, maintains his official residence in Malta. His residency there provides him with perhaps the best access to both live and online poker events around the globe.
Smaller U.S. ambassador presence for partypoker
Haxton’s departure from the “ambassador” ranks of Team partypoker leaves no professional American poker players with partypoker ambassadorships. The only current U.S. citizen listed as an ambassador for the site is comedian Kevin Hart, who appeals to a different and more casual poker audience. Hart’s fame on film also translates well into international appeal.
Haxton will likely have little problem in finding a new online home, should that be a priority. He was unavailable for comment before this piece’s publication, but at least in the short term, he’ll likely be able to enjoy even greater freedom on social media, where he excels. Over the years, “Ike” has established himself as an outspoken commenter on issues large and small, both within and outside of poker, while also managing to avoid image-damaging controversies. Few players of his stature can match his long-term success in that regard.
Featured image source: partypoker