PokerStars Ambassador James Somerville Quits For Sports Betting

PokerStars ambassador and former Twitch king Jason Somerville has announced since revolutionising poker on Twitch that his opportunity to ‘run it up’ is over.

The decision of Somerville to quit PokerStars can not be described as a big surprise, simply because of the number of recent players he is following in the footsteps of walking away from the poker brand.

Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov have said goodbye to the Red Spade in the last 10 weeks alone, and many analysts will not have been surprised by Somerville’s branching out of PokerStars. But it’s a surprise announcement, just because in the near future Somerville sees himself travelling in very different spheres.

Somerville has described a ‘new chapter’ of his life in, an at times emotional Twitter video, which is sports betting. Although he enjoyed his time at PokerStars and, of course, his time building Run It Up into one of the most popular sub-brands in poker, it is clear that he looks forward to freeing himself from corporate sponsorship and managing his own destiny on his own terms in a more linear way.

Somerville proved to be a smart cookie. You might easily argue that its content has revolutionised Twitch for poker players, driving the website to greater heights, and shifting the overall approach of poker professionals to sponsorship.

The old model of being a poker ambassador was one named to a much heavier degree in favour of players. Poker brands saw players as badges to wear on a fashionable shirt, a promotional symbol that would be rewarded for winning big and used to draw young poker players to the notion that just one badge away was a major win–a PokerStars Red Spade badge.

Somerville’s Twitch reputation is not so much about how far his own content has gone, as he has ordered nearly a quarter of a million subscribers to broadcast his poker channel by the end of his time. It’s more about Twitch’s scope for poker players now, and how important the social presence of a player is to their future sponsorship opportunities.

Times have changed as a funded player, and Jason Somerville’s Twitch channel has changed the industry positively, so what’s next for the former PokerStars pro?

As he says, “It was tough to be limited  by my PokerStars exclusivity on the content that I could create.”  While Somerville pushed his Run It Up brand beyond anybody’s expectations, Run It Up and PokerStars co-own the Twitch channel called’ Runitup247,’ so a clean break is required and Somerville is head-over for sports betting.

With recent changes to sportsbetting meaning that the market will grow throughout America in the next 12 months, hopefully like online poker, Somerville will look to become a key part of how the industry develops.

With a loyal fanbase, a strong position in a related industry, and plenty of crossover skills that apply to a similar growth area within another business area related to gambling, it seems highly likely that the king of poker Twitch will be able to take his crown and wear it well when it comes to sports betting.

Here’s the full statement of his video: