Ken Danyeko is an immensely popular name in New Jersey; one the owners of the state’s popular online poker site, PartyPoker, couldn’t resist associating with their brand. For those who aren’t familiar with the 50 year old Canadian born athlete, Danyeko is a retired professional hockey player who spent his entire 20 year career with the New Jersey Devils (1983-2003). He’s been playing the role of halftime commentator at his former team’s games ever since, and more recently became an avid poker enthusiast.
Over the span of two decades, Danyeko earned a reputation as a dominant force as the Devils record holding defensemen, having played the most games in team franchise history, 1,283, subsequently earning himself the fan-proclaimed nickname, “Mr. Devil”. He helped his team bring home three Stanley Cup Trophies during his time with the Devils. Now days, he may find a new epithet, something akin to ‘Mr. Poker’ or ‘Poker Devil’ perhaps, as he’s just become the newest face of the New Jersey online poker site.
PartyPoker was quick to sign the retired Devil hockey player, making him the very first member of the PartyPoker Team with “celebrity” status. Ken Denyako will join an all-star card gaming cast that is led by WSOP bracelet winner and voice of the WPT, Mike Sexton, along with fellow American poker pros Scott Baumstein, Jamie Kerstetter and Kara Scott.
Ken already has two high-profile live poker tournament cashes under his belt, both earned this year. He finished 1st in a Deepstack NL Holdem event at the Borgata for $14,723 in April, followed by a 61st place finish in the PartyPoker sponsored WPT 500 at the Aria Resort & Casino in July for $4,000. His combined cashes currently total $18,723; a number that he is sure will rise soon now that his responsibilities include competing in various live and online poker tournaments.
“I used to get excited at the drop of a puck but now I can’t wait for the turn of the river,” said an enthusiastic Danyeko when commenting on his new partnership with the New Jersey online poker operator. “Joining Team partypoker with a great champion like Mike Sexton and a great team in Kara, Jamie and Scott makes us the perfect line-up. I love New Jersey, I love poker and there is no better place to play online in the Garden State than on partypoker.com. I can’t wait to play, have fun, win and make new friends online.”
Team PokerStars captain, Mike Sexton, had a few words to share on the addition of the newest team member as well. “Ken was a fierce competitor on the ice and from what I’ve seen, he’s even fiercer at the poker table. He is a great addition to the team and will be a great ambassador for online poker in New Jersey,” extolled the $5 million career live tournament winner.
The online poker market in New Jersey is still in its infancy, and has experienced many problems over the last 10 months as operators struggle to meet the numerous demands of players. System malfunctions, geolocation errors and lackluster features have plagued the market. Those issues – combined with the impending acceptance of PokerStars into the New Jersey market – have compelled the directors of PartyPoker NJ to increase their popularity among players as much (and as quickly) as possible. The addition of a local legend like Ken Danyenko is definitely a great move in that direction.