Inking a sponsorship in recent days with PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, is 2010 World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship winner David Williams. Formerly of Bodog, Williams parted ways with the site just after his WPT Championship win in April and was, for two months, without a home. Now, he’s become the talk of the town in Las Vegas as the WSOP Main Event kicks off from the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
Most players had no idea who Williams was prior to his runner-up finish to PokerStars pro Greg Raymer in the 2004 WSOP Main Event. Williams walked away with $3.5 million from the tournament, which at the time was the largest Main Event in WSOP history. Williams then went on a heater, finishing second to Daniel Negreanu in the 2004 World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open for $573,000. Three months later, in December 2004, Williams won a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament during the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $121,000.
In February 2006, Williams reappeared at a WPT final table. This time, he finished fourth in the Bay 101 Shooting Star event for $280,000. Three months later, another fourth place showing at a WPT event was in the cards, this time at the Mirage Poker Showdown in Las Vegas. I remember watching this high-octane final table pan out on the Travel Channel and Williams walked away with $221,000.
Also in 2006, Williams took down his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in a $1,500 Seven Card Stud event; his victory was good for $163,000. Shortly thereafter, he took second in a $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament for another $256,000, falling to Daniel Alaei. The event marked redemption of sorts for Williams, as Raymer landed in fifth place for $93,000.
Williams’ run in the 2010 WPT Championship saw him defeat UB.com pro Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin heads-up in a final table that also included Shawn Buchanan, David Benyamine, and Billy Baxter. However, Bodog elected not to renew Williams’ deal and he will soon be officially announced as the newest pro of PokerStars.
His company on Team PokerStars will include Raymer, Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Vanessa Rousso, and reigning Main Event champ Joe Cada, among others. Williams’ agency, Poker Royalty, confirmed the signing to MacPoker.com. Also rumored to have joined the PokerStars bandwagon is Vanessa Selbst, a Yale law student and bracelet winner who took down the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Mohegan Sun Main Event earlier this year.
On TwoPlusTwo, the congratulatory remarks poured in for Williams and Selbst. One poster saluted, “Congrats to both! Vanessa is top five female player.” What has been lacking so far is an official announcement from PokerStars, which will hold a meet and greet with Williams, Selbst, and Cada on July 6th at the Palms. No explanation for the inclusion of the two new PokerStars pros was given.
July 6th marks Day 1B of the 2010 WSOP Main Event, which begins on July 5th with the first of four starting days. The Main Event will play down to its final table on July 17th. Then, the survivors will return to the Rio in November to determine a champion. 2010 marks the third year of the so-called “November Nine” format, which featured Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey last year. Visit PokerStars for more details.