The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a new pair of Ray-Bans, a bag of oranges and a comfortable beach chair on the side of the afternoon poker news on-ramp.
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Today in the 3-Bet we find a changing of the PokerStars pro guard, a Norwegian legend joins the party and the WPT season comes to a head in Florida.
1) Neymar, Ronaldo No Más
It's no secret this is a time of change at industry behemoth PokerStars.
The EPT is out; PokerStars Championships (and Festivals) are in. Rakeback grinders are under siege; recreational players are getting the red carpet treatment.
Another big part of PokerStars' business model clearly under review? It's spend on Pro Teams including Team Pro, Team Online and Team SportStars.
Much like the new PokerStars Live umbrella it seems like the multi-team approach is out and in is one banner known simply as Team PokerStars (with a small distinction between 'pro' and 'online.')
A couple of names prominently missing from that new Team? Former Team SportStars and global marketing centerpieces Neymar Jr. and Cristiano Ronaldo.
They've undeniably brought massive exposure to the game/brand via promos like #RaiseIt - and seemed central to its vision to bring in new players to the game - but we can imagine the outlay to keep them onboard is steep. Very, very steep.
We'll be interested to see if they do any one-offs with the football icons going forward. But it was fun having them while it lasted.
Also now gone from the Team are old-school stalwarts including Theo Jorgensen, Mickey Petersen and Johnny Lodden -- although it didn't take Lodden long to find a new home ...
2) Johnny Lodden Joins Team partypoker
When you're one of the most iconic online players of all time, a symbol for the game in your poker-crazy country and second only to Thor Hansen when Norwegian "legends" are bandied about, it doesn't take long to find a new sponsor.
Norway's Johnny Lodden - he of 'Bad_Ip' fame, 22 career cashes on the EPT and long-time member of Team PokerStars Pro - is now sporting the Team partypoker patch.
partypoker announced the signing, along with Norwegian Championship organizer Thomas Udness, today and having brought EPT founder John Duthie onboard for partypoker Live clearly helped Lodden make his decision:
“Partypoker has always been one of the world’s largest poker sites," Lodden said in a release, "and it is an honour for me to be part of their team.
"It was important for me to sign with a company that believes in their poker product and their mission. The fact that John (Duthie) has been appointed President of partypoker LIVE ensures their commitment to the game, and that is something I am excited to be part of."
Expect to see Lodden patched up as a partypoker ambassador next at the partypoker MILLIONS at Dusk Till Dawn April 16-23.
3) WPT Season Barrels Into Big Weekend in Florida
If you've been following the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open down in Florida this week you know we're in for some really fun poker over the next five days.
First up: The final table of the $3,500 WPT Poker Showdown which is already underway and is down to four players with Darryl Fish, Dan Colman and Robert Mizrachi leading the way.
Tomorrow we get the final table of the $10k Poker Open Finale featuring Ryan Riess, Jason Koon and Cliff Josephy. Friday it gets even better with the start of the $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions.
We're lucky enough to be tableside down in Florida for the the TOC and will be shipping some feature interviews and reports as all the action goes down. If you want to action deliver stat, watch the WPT live stream below cards-up on a 30-minute delay featuring commentary from WPT Raw Deal host Tony Dunst.