The Notre Dame(s) of Poker?

by , Feb 15, 2007 | 11:39 am

It occurred to me while watching an episode of Poker after Dark that Sammy Farha was the only guy not wearing any sort of online poker room logo. And that made me wonder … why the heck isn’t he sponsored? Sang came up with the gayest possibility ever: “I’ve noticed he wears a lot of couture clothing. Maybe he just thinks it would look bad to have a logo on his [sweet threads].”

OK, so what about Phil Laak, then?

Considering the pros and semi-pros who are all-but-desperate to turn their bodies into stock cars (looking at Tom Schneider and Michele) and that David Lee Roth is back together with Van Halen, it got me thinking about who is and is not with each poker team. Would love to figure out why certain folks are not sponsored — perhaps it’s by choice? — and when are non-online-poker sites going to get in on the Nascarization?

Below is a not necessarily comprehensive list of who’s decked out in whom’s paraphernalia:

Greg Raymer
Chris Moneymaker
Joe Hachem
Vanessa Rousso
Barry Greenstein (also with Doyle’s Room?)
Tom McEvoy
Wil Wheaton
Isabelle Mercier
Victor Ramdin
Lee Nelson
Humberto Brenes
William Chen

Full Tilt
Howard Lederer
Chris Ferguson
John Juanda
Phil Ivey
Clonie Gowen
Jeff Madsen
Andy Bloch
Rafe Furst
Phil Gordon
Perry Friedman
The Hendon Mob
– Ross Boatman
– Barney Boatman
– Ram Vaswani
– Joe Beevers
Jennifer Harman
Erick Lindgren
Eric Seidel
Mike Matusow
Gus Hansen
Allen Cunningham
Andy Black
Richard Brodie
Michael Craig
John Cenuto
John D’Agostino
David Chiu
Lynette Chan
Layne Flack
Roland DeWolfe
Eric Froehlich
Kristy Gazes
David Grey
Berry Johnston
Toto Leonidas
JJ Liu
Robert Mizrachi
Carlos Mortenson
Huck Seed
Mark Vos
Lee Watkinson
Steve Zolotow
Gavin Smith (for some reason he is not listed on the Full Tilt site … perhaps he is just wearing the clothes because he likes the colors?)
Max Pescatori

Doyle’s Room
Doyle Brunson
Todd Brunson
Minh Ly
Chad Brown
Chau Giang
Mike Caro
Cyndy Violette
Eli Elezra
Billy Baxter
Barry Greenstein (also with PokerStars?)
Hoyt Corkins
Dewey Tomko
Tom Franklin
Jennifer Leigh

Ultimate Bet
Annie Duke
Phil Hellmuth
Jim “Krazy Kanuck” Worth
Antonio Esfandiari
Shawn Rice
John Vorhaus

David Williams
Josh Arieh
Evelyn Ng
Jamie Gold

Mike Sexton
Linda Johnson
Mike O’Malley

Kathy Liebert
Robert Varkonyi
Juha Helppi

Absolute Poker
Lacey Jones
Michael Mizrachi
Shirley Williams (David’s mom)
Mark Seif

Martin DeKnijff
Patrik Antonius
Harry Demetriou

Scotty Nguyen
William Rockwell

Sammy Farha
Marcel Luske
Phil Laak
Jennifer Tilly
Kenna James (formerly with the Gaming Club, SunPoker)
TJ Cloutier (formerly with about three poker sites that no longer exist)
Liz Lieu
Jamie Gold (formerly with Bodog)
Robert Williamson, III (formerly with Full Tilt)
Amarillo Slim
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Can Kim Hua (formerly with 888)
Dutch Boyd (formerly with Ultimate Bet)

Johnny Chan – Chanpoker
Tony G – Tony G Poker
Daniel Negreanu – Full Contact Poker
David Ulliot – Devifishpoker
Scott Fischman – theFishtank

Freddie Deeb (formerly with House of Deeb, Doyle’s Room, and Ultimate Bet)

Did I miss anyone?

21 Comments to “The Notre Dame(s) of Poker?”

  1. Karridy

    Mark Seif is with Absolute. Part owner too, I think. However, I believe his best investment lately is his representation of Leyser and his resulting share of the hush-hush settlement. Also, I don’t think that Sang’s theory is near as gay as his ability to identify clothing lines at a glance.

  2. The Big Randy

    When I played with the Sammy at the Main Event in 05, he went out of his way to say that he is (allegedly) one of only three players who don’t take on backers, ever. I would assume he is indepentedly wealthly through poker and probably other endeavors and probably just doesn’t think it’s worth looking like a shmuck. There is not a vainer person on the planet (and I don’t mean that in a bad way), so Sang is probably dead on.

  3. DanM

    Am I right about Robert Williamson? I seem to remember seeing him with some Full Tilt gear on before … but he’s not listed on their site.

  4. Karridy

    We should also give props to Richard Lee for reportedly passing on such sponsorhip offers. There have been speculation as to how his motives may have been tied to attempts to financially “lay low” in an effort to keep the IRS at bay and protect his booking empire. Lee, however, said, “I would rather support my hometown of San Antonio. I really don’t need the money”. Come to think of it, the laying low theory doesn’t hold water after on-screen comments like that. Either way… with final table branding offers in high five to six figure sums, I’m going out Ricky Bobby style.

  5. DanM

    How ’bout Marcel Luske?


    Good one on Richard Lee … though we may find out as his case progresses just how bought and paid-for he was with San Antonio, or perhaps how bought and paid-for San Antonio was with him.

  6. change100

    First of all, I heart Sang.

    I’ve seen Williamson in Full Tilt gear as well. Used to be with UB, though. Freddy Deeb was UB for a while too, at least his photo was up on the side of their hospitality suite at the WSOP. Have also seen Tilly with UB logo, but only at certain events (Poker Superstars). She may go event to event (Laak as well).

    Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh wore Doyles Room gear throughout the WSOP. And Erica Schoenberg was with Mansion, but who knows now since they shut down to the U.S.

    I have way too much fairly useless information floating around my head.

  7. DanM

    Also a little unsure about Max Pescatori. He has been seen with Full Tilt, but he also promotes Doyle’s Room and Ultimate Bet on his website (along with an Italian site).

    Added Jennicide to Doyle’s Room.

  8. Ed

    Seen Gavin smith on FTP with his own avatar before. Have not been there in nearly a year so who knows what he is doing these days. Think I saw Max on there too.


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  10. Haley

    I definitely remember RW III in some gaudy-as-hell Full Tilt shirts at last year’s WSOP; I thought about taking a couple of photos but didn’t want to damage my camera lens.

    I had the chance to chat with Marcel Luske last year as well, and he -definitely- is in the “no logo” camp. But not because he eschews such sponsorships. Rather, he has a deal of some sort with a high-end Euro menswear manufacturer, and of the things he was working on last summer was trying to bring that line into some limited U.S. locales, like one such shop in the mall at Caesar’s. I have no idea how that worked out, since I’m not exactly in Marcel’s inner circle.

    And didn’t Liz Lieu wear a full-length Full Tilt poker gown on that Ladies’ Night Out WPT show?

    One could count Michael Craig in the Full Tilt camp, too. And of course, there’s a ton of Euro sites you didn’t touch on, like Martin DeKnijff at Martinspoker. Oh, and there once was a “House of Deeb” room, but that now defaults to Doyle’s Room. (Major lolaments.)

  11. Haley

    I think it was JJ Lieu, not Liz, now that I checked.

  12. Jason

    Dude, you missed the grandaddy – Robert Varkonyi is Interpoker. Lamest stable of them all.

    Gavin had some sort of deal with Black Velvet (Canadian whiskey) that interfered with the FTP deal, IIRC.

    Deeb was definitely UB at last year’s WSOP – that’s where I did interviews with him and his face was all over the place. The “life-size” cutout of him was actually taller than him.

    Laak has been known to wear Bluff Magazine gear at televised events – when they toss him enough cash. As for Tilly, I think she may be sponsored by Van Halen.

  13. DanM

    did a search for “IIRC” … best I could come up with is Interactive Illinois Report Card.

  14. Jason

    That’s exactly what it means. You gots mad research skillz, dog.

  15. DanM

    I also added Scotty Nguyen with GoldenPalace … he’s also affiliated with the Cherokee Casino in Oklahoma. That raises a whole new question on affiliation with brick-and-mortar casino-types. One for a future post, perhaps.

  16. Eforce Guy

    I read that Liz Lieu was with Martin’s Poker, but that was about a year ago.

  17. Fresh Princess

    A lot of pros not wearing gear get backed by other pros.
    Sammy does not need to be backed as it seems he makes money elsewhere.
    Liz Lieu is with Martin’s Poker.
    Jennicide’s deal with Doyle’s Room was only for the WSOP. It is common for players to get sponsored on a series by series basis.

    I read somewhere, some time ago about J.C. Tran…Phil Ivey offered to back him and J.C. said “no, thank you, I play for myself”.

  18. Poker Shrink

    Liz Lieu was with Martin’s Poker and several of these other names will be added to the “formerly with” list soon, if rumors of UIGEA cutbacks are true.

  19. J.E.H.

    I just saw a magazine ad where Johnny Chan, Freddy Deeb (a/k/a “Freddy Deebs” in the ad), Phil Laak, and Robert Williamson III are all hooked up with, which apparently hosts both poker and “elimination blackjack,” whatever the hell that is.

  20. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » Rumorati: Sponsorship Shmonsorship?

    […] The Notre Dame(s) of Poker? […]

  21. Big B

    Betfair Poker:
    * Bengt Sonnert
    * Ben “Milkybarkid” Grundy
    * Thomas “Buzzer” Bihl