A press release issued by 888poker announced Japanese poker pro Akira Ohyama as the latest addition to the room's team pro.
Considered to be one of the best multi-table tournament players in his country, Ohyama is the third Japanese player to score a poker sponsorship in 2015, following Kosei Ichinose of Team PokerStars Pro and Japanese model Yuiko Matsukawa as a PokerStars' brand ambassador.
"I am honored to become a part of Team 888poker, and I am excited to help poker and the 888 brand grow in my country," Ohyama said. "I will continue working hard both on and off the tables to play to the best of my ability and show results while representing my favorite site, 888poker."
Although he discovered the game of poker during his studies at the College of William and Mary in the US, Ohyama's career boomed after the Black Friday, when he decided to relocate back to Japan and play poker full time.
To date, Ohyama , who is known online as "Clutch Hero", has accumulated live tournament winnings of $1,790,877, according to PocketFives, and live tournament winnings for $126,840, according to HendonMob.
Ohyama's new adventure at 888poker will run in parallel with the one he started back in 2013 at the popular poker training site Run It Once, where he is part of the "Essential MTT Team."
As an 888poker ambassador, Ohyama joins a team that includes Jackie Glazier, Nicolau-Villa Lobos, Bruno Kawauti, Bruno Politano, and Sofia Lövgren.
Poker Gets Ready To Hit Big In Japan
Ohyama's signing by 888poker is only the latest sign of the industry's ever-increasing interest towards an expansion in Asia.
If PokerStars and 888poker have already started to position themselves in the market by approaching some of the most known names in the game in Asia, other industry giant have begun to plan massive investments, especially now that a bill that may legalize casino gambling in Japan has been finally introduced to the country's parliament.
With estimates stating that Japan may soon run the third-biggest gambling industry on the planet, names such as Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International have also set their eyes on the country.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson announced he is ready to release investments for up to $10 billion in order to bring his Las Vegas Sands to Japan, and MGM President Bill Hornbuckle said that his group is ready to invest in Osaka to create "a landmark destination attraction (...) uniquely Japanese, not a copy of an integrated resort from Las Vegas or Singapore." In order for this to happen, however, the Japanese parliament needs to find the necessary votes to pass the casino gambling bill, which is still strongly opposed by the Buddhist-backed party Komeito.