Parallels Between Online Poker And Hearthstone Lead 888poker To Sponsor FlowEsports
Esports Betting Report

888poker Partnership With FlowEsports Hopes To Harness Synergies Between Poker And Esports

888poker Hearthstone Flow Esports
888poker has partnered with FlowEsports to emphasize the synergies between Hearthstone and poker.

The FlowEsports Hearthstone team has over 10,000 weekly viewers on Twitch, and the team includes two players who are also professional poker players.

The FlowEsports Hearthstone team consists of:

  • Daniel Märkisch (C4mlann)
  • Tobias Graap (TwoBiers)
  • Vetle Stubberud (Xzirez)
  • Johannes Steindl (JonnyStoneHS)

Daniel Märkisch and Johannes Steindl both competed in the recent World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Event in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, where Märkisch finished 20th.

Once a week the team streams a poker game to complement their Hearthstone broadcasts.

888poker explains that Hearthstone and poker share similar characteristics. Both use playing cards, and the Hearthstone “life counters” function similarly to chips in poker.

Online poker operators want to attract esports players

It is noteworthy that this deal is between 888poker and FlowEsports and not with 888sports.

888sports has an active esports betting section, currently focused on The Boston Major, but offering odds on League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO matches.

But it is the poker division of 888 that wants to benefit most from the partnership with FlowEsports.

Online poker is generally declining in popularity, partly because of the introduction of new regulation and high taxes, but also because the demographic which forms the base of esports players is similar to that for poker.

Poker can be considered the original esport, requiring skill and concentration, much like modern esports.

Having been brought up on video games, the millennial generation may find it more natural to use their leisure time for esports rather than online poker.

888poker and other operators want to alert esports players to the fun of poker, pitching the game as a natural sibling of esports, and a natural progression from competitive esports tournament play.

Only a week ago, Team Liquid announced that top online poker pro, and member of the PokerStars-sponsored pro-team, Randy “Nanonoko” Lew had joined their Hearthstone team.

Lew commented:

“Poker was a natural fit as I had the right mindset to figure out how to beat my opponents and the drive to put in the hard work and dedication necessary to be one of the best. Hearthstone has many similarities to poker in that it’s a turn based card game where you are trying to figure out your opponent’s moves so you can optimize your turn. I think my experience in poker will allow me to learn quickly and fulfill my desire to be one of the best in Hearthstone.

As a member of Team PokerStars, I’m honored to be back in the esports competitive scene playing Hearthstone as a part of Team Liquid.”

Lew joins fellow PokerStars Team Pro, Frenchman Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who signed up with Team Liquid in November last year.

Poker to esports and esports to poker

At this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event, which came with a staggering total prize pool of $63,340,268, the final table of nine players included Griffin Benger.

Benger was the 2004 CS:GO World Champion, but he switched to playing poker full time and won his seat to the $10,000 buy-in tournament in a qualifying competition at 888poker.

888poker will hope to encourage more esports players to emulate Benger’s success. He finally walked away from the event with $1.25 million in prize money after finishing in 7th place out of a starting field of 6,737 players.

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Joss Wood
- Former editor of Poker Industry Pro, gambling industry expert focused on legal online gambling and sports betting issues. For ESBR, Joss spotlights the intersection of the burgeoning esports industry with that of gambling.