Why Don’t Asian-American Poker Players Get Endorsements?

July 17, 2010 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA -  Poker player SOI NGUYEN plays at the 41th Annual World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel & Casino on July 17, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Final Table of nine players will be Nov. 6-8.

When Cuong “Soi” Nguyen seemingly came out of nowhere to qualify for the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event, the question was asked – could Soi Nguyen spark a poker boom in the Asian-American community just as Chris Moneymaker sparked a poker boom in America at large? As this article from Pokerlistings.com mentions, one problem with Soi Nguyen doing that is that high profile Asian-Americans poker players seem to have a hard time getting major sponsorships.   Jerry Yang (the poker player not the Yahoo founder) won the 2007 WSOP main event but didn’t trigger a boom in Asian-American poker.  TV commercials and major sponsorships passed him by.   He also noticed that this didn’t happen just to him.  “I’d like to know why Asian players don’t get the big sponsorship deals?” Yang asked. “I really would like to know. Being a World Champion, I get that question all the time. Do you know why, because we would like to know and I don’t know the answer?”  Other notable Asian-American poker players like Johnny ChanScotty Nguyen (pictured below), and J.C. Tran haven’t gotten big sponsorships.  “I think it’s mainly because I’m an Asian guy and it’s tough to market an Asian guy. I mean, how many Asian guys do you see on TV?” said Tran at a 2007 tournament.

Poker player Scotty Nguyen arrives for The World Series of Poker on June 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by: J. ARNOLDI/ Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

Agent and player manager Eric Brewstein disagrees.  He says that Yang and other Asian-Americans didn’t market themselves well and align with a good aggressive agent.   Brewstein worked with Joseph “Subiime” Cheong, another Asian-American to qualify for the WSOP 2010  main event,  to get sponsorship from Full Tilt poker.  “I know people, other players, who have told me the sites don’t think Asian players are marketable, but I’ve never heard it from anyone directly at the sites and I don’t believe it.”

Aside from the point that some Asian-Americans don’t want more card playing, it does seems that some Asian-Americans poker players are breaking through to get sponsorships.  Soi Nguyen is sponsored by Full Tilt.  “It is a big community and there are a lot of Asian people interested in poker,” he said. “I hope that my experience will benefit the Asian community in some way. I hope it really does shine the spotlight on the Asian community and I would love to see more Asian players get sponsorship deals.”

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
This entry was posted in Discrimination, Sports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.