Somerville Latest Player to Leave Team PokerStars

Somerville Latest Player to Leave Team PokerStars

On the very first day of 2020, Jason Somerville posted a video on Twitter to announce his departure from Team PokerStars.

In and of itself, a member of a sponsored team of poker pros leaving the group is not exceptional. Somerville was a prominent member of that team, though, one with a tremendous Twitch and general fan following. Further, his Run It Up brand was also intertwined with PokerStars for a year and a half.

Even more significant is the overall uncertainty of Team PokerStars, which is a shadow of its former self. While some longtime members remain – Chris Moneymaker, Andre Akkari, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Celina Lin – many of the team’s most high-profile members have departed in the past year. Names like Daniel Negreanu and Liv Boeree made their exits in 2019.

Somerville’s announcement is the latest in a string of similar ones, but he and Run It Up take a significant fan base with them.

Video Announcement

The news of Somerville’s breakup with PokerStars came via a video posted on January 1, 2020.

“I’ve got some news to share with you,” he said. “As of the start of 2020, I will be departing Team PokerStars.”

Somerville went on to express gratitude for the partnership and admiration for the members of the team creating content, and building and representing the game of poker.

“Working with PokerStars the last few years brought a lot of advantages, no doubt, but it also brought some disadvantages,” he continued. “As an American poker streamer, it was tough being limited by my PokerStars exclusivity on the content that I could create.”

By using the Run It Up platform he has built, Somerville wants to try to combine his passion for poker and newer love for sportsbetting with the streaming abilities of his company.

“I don’t have all the answers about what’s next right now, but I will say that next week, we’ll be live for a good old-fashioned online poker stream over on RunItUp.tv,” he said, adding that he will answer some questions during that stream.

Somerville also mentioned that Run It Up Reno 10, the gathering of players for live tournaments and cash games, will run as scheduled from April 3-13. It will be the tenth iteration of the series.

He finished by saying, “We’re not done yet. Next chapter ahead, we turn the page, and I’ll have more for you next week when we’re live on Twitch.”

Multi-Year, Multi-Faceted Collaboration

Somerville brought more to the poker table than most with his ambassadorship, as he had the aforementioned Run It Up brand that he built from scratch over the past decade. What is now a studio and poker laboratory of sorts pooled resources with PokerStars in the summer of 2018 to grow the Twitch presence of both…and poker in general.

Soon after, PokerStars invested even more in Somerville’s brand with a new Twitch channel called RunItUp247, one that featured round-the-clock poker content from Run It Up and PokerStars.

The collaboration between Somerville and PokerStars stayed in place for nearly a year until just a few months ago, when they announced a new venture called Chat Plays Poker. The subscription-based Twitch channel was an interactive experience that allowed viewers to participate in the game by dictating some of the actions and playing virtually alongside one of the players.

The idea had tremendous potential, but little more came of it after the initial launch.

Clarification to Come

Somerville will eventually reveal what is next for him and the ways in which he and PokerStars may still be linked. It also remains to be seen if still-members of Team PokerStars like Ben Spragg, Fintan Hand, and Lex Veldhuis will continue to be linked with Run It Up.

PokerNews did confirm with Somerville that the RunItUp247 Twitch channel is still a joint project between PokerStars and Run It Up. Everything else seems to be back in Somerville’s hands.

Undoubtedly, Run It Up will continue to grow. Somerville has built a successful brand through the years and will continue to do so in poker and incorporating his other interests.

Slimming the Team

Most of the players who part ways with PokerStars say very little about the breakups. They typically thank PokerStars for the time together and move on.

This has happened quite frequently in the past several years. In 2019, the highest profile departures from the team starred Daniel Negreanu, then Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov, and Maria Konnikova followed later in the year. Randy Lew also left the team, as did Jake Cody, Barry Greenstein, and Kevin Martin, Jaime Staples and Jeff Gross.

Another exit took place just at the end of 2019 with a tweet. PokerStars India lost Aditya Agarwal after a five-year stint representing the site in the new Indian market.

The remaining pros on the team are predominantly dedicated to various markets. Andre Akkari is a Brazilian ambassador, Celina Lin covers Asia, Muskan Sethi has the Indian market to herself, and Jennifer Shahade represents the new Pennsylvania market in the United States.

Chris Moneymaker remains the best-known player on the team, and he is known around the world and not limited to the US market in which he resides.

The future of the team as a whole is unclear but has been for some time.

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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