PokerIcons Merges with Vegas Group to Form 'Super Agency', Signs Helppi
The prominent European poker agency PokerIcons Ltd. this week announced it had merged with the Swedish agency Vegas Group AB to form a new "super agency" to represent professional poker players worldwide. The new company is called PokerIcons AB, and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with a half a dozen offices located around the globe as well as in the United States.
PokerIcons formed in 2006, and swiftly gained prominence after its signing of Norwegian phenom Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad, winner of the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event and member of Team Betfair. PokerIcons subsequently signed numerous other international poker professionals, and the merger with Vegas Group AB brings still more players into the newly-formed company's fold.
In addition to Obrestad, PokerIcons AB's list of players now includes James "AndyMcLEOD" Obst, Thierry Van Den Berg, Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis, Stefan Mattson, Soren Kongsgaard, Peter Jepsen, John Tabatabai, Andrew Feldman, Mike McDonald, William Thorson, among numerous others. All told, the company's roster boasts a collective total of over $100 million in poker earnings.
Also this week, PokerIcons AB announced the signing of its newest pro, Juha Helppi. Last month, Helppi won the €20,000 No-Limit Hold'em High Rollers Event at EPT Deauville, earning the equivalent of approximately $250,000 for doing so. His most prominent (and largest) U.S. cash was at the 2006 WSOP when he finished second (to Phil Hellmuth) in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event with rebuys for which Helppi won $331,144. The 31-year-old Finnish pro has already amassed over $2 million in tournament winnings.
"With this merger we are now Europe's leading poker agency," noted Lars Kollind, who had served as CEO for Vegas Group AB and will now assume the same role with PokerIcons AB. "Poker Icons Ltd. has been our dream partner for some time," said Kollind, who added that in addition to serving Europe and Scandinavia, PokerIcons AB is now "also looking at new markets such as Russia and South America."
Per Hagen, the founder of PokerIcons Ltd., will serve as president of the newly-formed company. Hagen echoed Kollind's enthusiasm over the two groups' having combining their resources. "Working with Vegas Group [AB] over the last couple of months has been a pleasure," said Hagen, "and I look forward to the continuation [of the relationship]."
Juha Helppi is the latest addition to PokerIcons</center>