Sponsored pros were once a staple of the online poker industry. But Viktor ‘Isildur1′ Blom and Gus Hansen recently found out the hard way that this is no longer the case these days. Both were let go by Full Tilt Poker in a move that’s officially disbanded “The Professionals.”
Blom, Hansen and Tom Dwan were signed to be Full Tilt’s Professionals after the site’s post-Black Friday launch in late 2012. Dwan was eventually dropped by FTP in late 2013 while Isildur1 and Hansen remained with the team. However, almost one year later, they are both gone too.
Anybody who’s searching for reasons why need look no further than what’s currently happening in the online poker industry. Few sites see the use in having sponsored pros wearing their patch, given the heavy focus on recreational players. So offering lucrative contracts to players like Blom and Hansen is an archaic business model in today’s poker world.
An additional reason for getting rid of their remaining sponsored players is likely their recent performance. After bursting on to the internet poker scene in late 2009, Isildur1 has failed to recapture the magic he had back in those days. Currently, HighStakesDB shows Blom as being over $3 million in the hole at Full Tilt.
Of course, this is nothing compared to Hansen – perhaps online poker’s biggest loser ever (close competition with Guy Laliberte). The Great Dane has over $20 million in losses, and his graph shows a consistent downward spiral since the relaunch of Full Tilt.
So if the industry trend wasn’t already against these two, their lackluster results didn’t exactly convince FTP that they couldn’t do without Blom and Hansen. And don’t expect any more big signings to fill these guys’ void.