Will PokerStars’ Chess Interest Boost its Popularity in the US?

PokerStars chess!? “What’s this all about!!?” we hear you cry. Up to this point, PokerStars has failed to gain a foothold in the United States. But that looks to change in the near future since rumors have New Jersey accepting Stars into their online gaming market as early as October. When/if this happens, Stars is sure to increase the quality of online poker in the US and expand player interest.

Interestingly enough, Stars might also increase chess popularity throughout America too. So what does the world’s largest poker site have to do with chess, and why would they care about promoting the game? Keep reading to find out about an intriguing event they’ll be running and the implications of it.

PokerStars is running the first Chess/Poker tournament

On October 3rd, Stars will hold a tourney in the Isle of Man that combines chess and poker. This is the first event of its kind, and players can take part in history for a £220 buy-in. The tournament will feature five rounds of chess, and the winner of each match collects 1,000 chips. These chips will then be added to the 8,000 starting chip stack that players get for the poker tourney.

This event promises to draw a fair amount of chess and poker lovers. Jedynak Radoslaw, Supernova Elite and Grandmaster, and Jennifer Shahade, Womans Grandmaster and PokerStars’ Mind Sports Ambassador, are two people who’ll definitely be participating.

“I like my chances but it’s close,” said Radoslaw. “It’s a hyper turbo style, which is exactly the formula I play every day. A strong poker player can lose all five chess games, win a coinflip and have more chips than any grandmaster.”

“The Combined Chess & NL coincides with Day 1B of the UKIPT IOM Main, so I’ll enter 1A of the UKIPT, so I can be sure to play in both,” Shahade said. “Any poker players interested in doing the same can hit me up for a few chess tips.”

Why are PokerStars getting involved with Chess?

Shahade is a big reason why PokerStars is suddenly interested in chess. With a huge following in the chess world, Shahade has been doing a very good job of cross-promoting poker to her crowd. And holding a hybrid tournament figures to be a great way to bring more chess players to the poker world.

Of course, this figures to work the other way too by convincing poker players to casually try chess games. The trend will only be intensified if PokerStars one day begins offering hybrid tournaments online as well.

Another reason why Stars figures to benefit from diving into chess is that it’s a skill game. Those who play poker seriously do so because they are into challenges and trying to win money off of their opponents. So it’s only natural that some poker players will enjoy chess when money’s on the line.

The Impact of PokerStars’ Involvement with Chess

We’re certainly not expecting the creation of any time soon. But if Stars does continue their cross-promotion efforts between poker and chess, the latter figures to get a boost. And this could definitely impact the United States’ chess scene when PokerStars gets licensed and begins offering their online gaming services to US residents.

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