On the face of it, you would think that casino gaming is a relatively different thing to esports gaming. Admittedly, Betway has produced a slot machine based on the popular Esports title CS:GO, but apart from that, these two worlds have co-existed largely independent of one another.
That could be about to change however after a new deal was inked between the Brazilian FURIA Esports team and the famous online poker and gambling site PokerStars.
It is not the first time that FURIA Esports has thought out of the box when it comes to sponsorship deals and partnerships. Their CS:GO team has struck a deal with the Rivalry Esports betting service and this latest deal will see a team of Poker players streaming under the Furia brand name.
The driving force behind this unusual deal is Andre Akkari, one of the most successful and famous poker players in South America. Having career earnings of over $2.67 million alone from his offline play, and a considerable amount on top of that from online tournaments, Akkari is ranked as the 629th most successful player in poker history.
Akkari, along with fellow Brazilians Jaime Padua and Cristian Guedes were the key investors when FURIA Esports were formed back in 2017. Formed ostensibly as a CS:GO team, they have become one of the top teams in the Americas and they will soon be featuring in the BLAST Premier Fall regular season having switched bases to the United States.
It is thought Akkari, along with other players, will become one of the Poker Streamers for Team Furia as they seek to expand their horizons into different channels both within the existing esports framework and outside of it.
“Improve and Evolve”
“The team at Furia work very hard, lead by example, and are always looking to improve and evolve’ stated the Director of Public Relations at PokerStars, Rebecca McAdam Willetts.
“This approach, as well as their general ethos, sits extremely well with what we aim for at PokerStars. It will be exciting for us to see what we can bring our community and how we can engage new audiences by working together with such a passionate team.”
Mr Akkari also commented on the deal stating:
“Poker plays a natural part in Furia’s DNA. It’s all about making optimal decisions in the moment for long-term results. The partnership is a natural step for expansion as we look to move beyond eSports.”
PokerStars do have a limited history with Esports in the past having sponsored Team Liquid players back in 2016 and also an esports-styled card game called Power Up in 2017.
The deal is an intriguing one as it proves once again that there is huge scope for esports to team up with many other forms of entertainment, such as casino games. Live Streaming a poker game as part of an esports team does make a lot of sense, especially when your team has one of the best poker players in the world as an owner.
For PokerStars, the deal offers them a chance to share content within the esports industry and to target the notoriously difficult millennial demographic. It could well be a symbiotic relationship for both PokerStars and Team Furia going forward that opens up opportunities for other esports teams and poker or casino owners in the future.