Only two years ago, the sponsorship of poker players by online rooms was a foreign concept. There were few professionals that placed their name (and their game) on the representation front for the poker rooms until the Prima poker network decided to pick up the Hendon Mob. That association ended amicably as we kicked off 2006 after a very enjoyable and profitable two year run.
The Hendon Mob became known in the poker world through the breakthrough poker program in England, "Late Night Poker". Using that exposure, at the beginning of 2004 the association of the most prominent players in Europe and (what was at that time) an up and coming online site started off their two year agreement. In what was a $1 million a year deal, in the last two years the Hendon Mob became the face of Prima Poker.
They toured the world as ambassadors of the network, promoting the online game and bringing many new and veteran online players into tournaments around the world, most notably the Monte Carlo Millions. Through the Mob's hard work, the Prima poker network today has rocketed into a place of prominence and leadership in the online poker world and the members of the Mob (brothers Barny and Ross Boatman, Joe Beevers and Ram Vaswani) are one of the most recognizable poker "teams" around.
Both are happy with the two years spent together. "Both Prima and the Mob have enjoyed and benefited from our work together over the past two years," stated Prima Network CEO Roger Raatgever. "The Mob are world-class players and we wish them the best of luck, at the tables and beyond." Barny Boatman was pleased with the results of the alliance as well. "Our association over the past two years has been a great success for both Prima and the Mob. We have made many great friends across the Prima Network and look forward to seeing a continuation of the phenomenal growth we have been a part of. We have seen Prima become the world's foremost poker network and, as far as building the brand is concerned it is a case of 'job well done'."
While the alliance may be ending, Boatman was quick to point out that there were still strong ties between the group and Prima. "The Mob retains good relations with Prima and with many of the network's card rooms," he asserted. "In particular, we look forward to continuing to support the hugely successful Monte Carlo Millions, which has become one of the world's most prestigious events."
In this day of card rooms sponsoring many players (and also starting their own room, as in the case of FullTilt or Doyle's Room), it bears to remember the gentlemen and the online site that started the sponsorship trend of the current poker world. Thus, it is with a little sadness that this announcement comes down, ending the affiliation of the Hendon Mob and the Prima Poker Network. While both will continue on (and continue strongly as well), it is another sign of the continued growth of the game of poker today.
Ed Note: WPT host Mike Sexton proudly endorses Party Poker ...Can the Ambassador of Poker be wrong?