Ike Haxton Signs with partypoker

Former Pokerstars Team Online Pro Ike Haxton has signed a deal to represent partypoker. After publicly criticising his former employers since departing, Haxton has now decided the time is right to sign for another brand. Also, German pro Philipp Gruissem will be joining Haxton on the fast growing roster of stars at partypoker.

 

Fast Growing Team

Isaac Haxton may well be the most impressive catch that the team at partypoker have managed this far into their renaissance.  The American joins an already star-studded list of names as he settles into his new role. The likes of Fedor Holz, Kristen Bicknell, Sam Trickett, Patrick Leonard, Jason Koon, and Dzmitry Urbanovich are all working to support the partypoker brand already.

In a statement on the partypoker blog Haxton started off by saying

“I am very excited to be joining the partypoker team.  I’ve been very impressed with their growth over the last year or so.  From expanding their online cash game and tournament offerings, to improving their software, and most of all rolling out their ambitious and innovative live events program, their commitment to growing the game and providing a great product for their players has been clear.  I’m truly proud to represent the company, which I believe is going to be the future of poker, online and live.”

 

Ike Haxton: The Man and Player

Haxton has long been a star of the game, both online and in the live arena. He was initially a competitive Magic: The Gathering player before switching over the poker in 2003 at the age of 18. After starting off at micro stakes limit hold’em, it wasn’t long before he was working his way rapidly up the takes ladder. Eventually becoming one of the most feared cash game players in the world. This reputation sealed him a deal to join Pokerstars Team Online where he remained until 2016.

In 2007, Haxton took part in his first ever live poker tournament at the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. Although, by now he was a seasoned professional and a highly rated cash game player, he hadn’t made any waves in the world of tournaments. Imagine everybody’s surprise and amazement when he finished second to Ryan Daut collecting a $861,789 prize.

More than a decade later, Haxton has wrapped up more than $16 million in live tournament cashes, putting him 22nd on the all-time list. This includes more than 30 six-figure scores. Not bad for a cash game specialist. Factor in to this another $3 million won from cash games, and it’s easy to understand how he got where he is today.

 

Controversy

What has stood out over the last few years is Haxton’s stance against the changes Pokerstars railroaded their customers into. For those of you not in the know, Pokerstars announced sweeping changes to their loyalty scheme in November 2015. They refused to factor in that players had been planning the previous year’s play to take advantage of the Supernova Elite status for the coming year. Haxton saw this as unacceptable and a month later at new year he refused to extend his contract.

“I have resigned from PokerStars in protest of the changes to the Supernova and Supernova Elite programs.”   

“There's a lot not to like about these most recent changes and the way they've been communicated, but there's one aspect that I just can't accept. Announcing in November that players who earned Supernova and Supernova Elite status in 2015 will not receive the benefits they had expected in 2016 strikes me as dishonest and unfair. “

Now, after a couple of years in the wilderness, Haxton is ready to get back onto the wagon with his new employers.

Tom Waters, Managing Director at partypoker wrote on the blog

“We are delighted that Isaac is joining us at partypoker. Isaac’s profile and experience makes him a perfect ambassador for the company. Over the years he has also demonstrated a real commitment to principles and will play a key role in helping us meet and exceed player expectations. We are in the process of building a poker site for the players and Isaac will be instrumental in helping us to achieve our goals” 

 

Philipp Gruissem Also Joins the Fray

As Pokerstars appear to be losing all of their once loyal sponsored pros, partypoker look to be adding them almost daily. The latest is Germany’s Philipp Gruissem, a high-stakes tournament professional with more than $11 million in prize money so far.

The 31-year-old is sat on 30th place in the all-time money rankings, and will be making his live tournament debut under the party banner at the Millions Germany Festival, held across the border at the King’s Casino Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

Gruissem said

“I feel great about joining partypoker. They are now bringing healthy competition back into the market and partypoker has a new and fresh vibe that will grow our poker community.”

As one of the original German hotshots who arrived on the scene in blitzkrieg style, Gruissem has been rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fedor Holz and Christoph Vogelsang for long enough that he is now one of the best tournament players out there.

Tom Waters echoed what many have long being thinking about Gruissem

“I am honoured that Philipp has agreed to join us at partypoker. Philipp is such a well-respected player both in the German and global poker community that he is a perfect fit to join the team. He also has a great character and experience and will bring something a little different to the team.”

Gruissem also stands out in the poker community as someone who is prepared to give a little back. Alongside Liv Boeree and her boyfriend Igor Kurganov, Gruissem helped to form the charity Raising for Effective Giving. Consisting of mostly professional poker players and investors, the group pledges to donate a fraction of their income to selected charities helping people in the developing world. After being founded at the WSOP 2014, main event winner Martin Jacobson donated $250,000 of his $10 million winnings.