PokerStars has spent the last 6 months reevaluating its company profile. The world’s largest online poker room has added casino games, announced an upcoming sportsbook offering and slashed numerous members from its list of sponsored poker pros. The latest victim appears to be Vanessa Rousso, whose visage no longer appears on the roster of PokerStars Team Pros.
Known among the online poker community as ‘Lady Maverick’, Vanessa Rousso is a professional French American poker player with a fierce reputation on the live and virtual felt. However, her repute has diminished somewhat in recent years. Having recorded $3.5 million in winnings since 2005, Rousso’s records indicate a much slower rate of production in the last few years, amounting to just $44,282 from 2012 to present.
In releasing Ms. Rousso from the PokerStars Team Pro roster, the online poker operator will be losing one of their longest-running sponsorship deals. Vanessa first signed on with PokerStars seven long years ago in 2006, following an impressive 7th place finish in the $25k WPT Championship worth $263,625 in April of that year. Three months later, she final-tabled the $5k Short-Handed NLHE event at the WSOP for an 8th place, $61k payday.
By September, PokerStars knew they had made the right decision in contracting the female poker pro when Rousso took 1st in a $5k WPT Borgata Poker Open event in Atlantic City for another $285,450. At present, Rousso is listed #5 on the women’s all-time poker money list with $3,515,577, behind Vanessa Selbst (#1, $10,614,397), Kathy Liebert (2nd, $6,014,905), Annie Duke (3rd, $4,270,548) and Annette Obrestad (4th, $3,919,291).
Although the loss of Vanessa Roussu is a great one for impressionable young women with a passion for poker, the impact at PokerStars shouldn’t be too significant. The current list of Team PokerStars Pros still names a number of high-profile ladies of the felt, including Vanessa Selbst, Liv Beoree, Leo Margets, Celina Lin and Vivian Im. PokerStars also sponsors Adrienne Rowsome as part of their Team Online, and Fatima Moreira among their Sports Stars.
It’s not certain what factors may have played a role in PokerStars’ decision to part ways with the French American fem fatale of the poker world. There was no official announcement of her release as a PokerStars Team Pro, and she’s made no comments on the matter via her Twitter feed (@VanessaRousso). Her image and profile being pulled from the website was the only notable indication of her departure. It could be the reduction in profitability from live poker events combined with PokerStars recent trend of cutting corners by shaving its pro roster.
Since mid-2014, the online poker room has let go of Jose Barbero, Humberto Brenes, Joe Cada, Angel Guillen, Alex Kravchenko and Marcel Luske. Even their sister-site Full Tilt has been trimming the fat from its pro sponsorships, having chosen not to renew the contracts of ‘The Professionals’, Gus Hansen and Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom.
The lack of a sponsorship deal should have no bearing on Rousso’s future as an avid professional poker player, though. She’s already schedule to host a Zen Poker Mentoring seminar on February 21-22 with fellow poker pros Kristy Arnett and Brian Rast.