Neymar Jr rejects GGPoker in favor of PokerStars

Jon Pill
Posted on: December 16, 2020 11:07 PST

Neymar de Santos Silva Junior, better known to the soccer world as Neymar, has signed on with Team PokerStars again. This quashes rumors that he might have been negotiating something with GGPoker after his appearance in various WSOP Online events this summer.

Neymar appeared in several GGPoker WSOP Online events. Including #77: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em "Main Event" (scare quotes are my own) and #78: $1,000 Turbo No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed. Both of his stints at the table were highly publicized by the GGPoker network. And they ensured he got a seat in the 128-player Event #79 $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em.

It turns out he was just there to play poker.

“When I’m not playing football, I love playing cards,” Neymar said for the Star's press release. “Competing with my friends is a huge passion of mine, I love the sense of community, the fun, and the unpredictable moments that can occur in any game. As a true poker fan, I am excited to start a new chapter with PokerStars. Together we’ll be creating moments for our community and fans all over the world.”

G'bye to GG

The Brazilian soccer player has enormous pull on the international scene. He plays at the club level for St. Germain Paris and for the Brazilian National Team.

Even with his spotty record in the 2019/20 season, he's still a hot property. Having suffered injuries towards the end of 2019 and a COVID scare in early 2020, he has missed a fair few matches in a year when the footie schedule has already been gutted. Despite this, he remains one of the most recognizable players on the pitch.

His appearance in GGPoker's WSOP Online events in the summer led many to believe there may be a sponsorship deal in the offing. That appears to have been way off base. Instead, Neymar has gone back to his old post with Stars.

The role is a familiar one for him. He's served as a PR prop for them before, having been a Team PokerStars pro for a bit earlier in his career. And he's never been shy about selling his image. His other sponsorship deals include both sides of the Puma-Nike marketing battle. He's also taken pay from less sporty companies like Santander Bank, Volkswagon, Unilever, Tenys Pé Baruel, Claro, Beats LLC, Panasonic, and Pepsi Co's Brazilian distributor: Ambev.

His promotional promiscuity doesn't seem to have hurt his brand at all. Forbes ranked him as 2019's third-best paid athlete.

After the backlash GGPoker have felt against hiring Dan Bilzerian, Stars must be feeling pretty smug about landing someone with a marginally cleaner record from right under the competition's noses.

Neymar Blowout Fast Track

To celebrate the team up. Neymar Jr will be playing the Winter Blowout series with a $1,000 bounty on his back in every event he enters.

They are also running a Neymar Blowout Fast Track series. An array of stepped SNG satellites to the final step awarding packages to the main Blowout events. That's $1,904 worth of buyins.

The steps start at $1 buy in 12-man events and end with a $109 MTT.

You can watch PokerStars first promo collaboration with Neymar on YouTube.

Featured image source: Twitter