Poker Couple Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov Split from PokerStars

  • PokerStars’ stable of pros has been thinning for several years
  • Poker power couple won the 2017 WSOP $10K Tag Team event for $273,964
  • Kurganov knocked Boeree out of the 2019 WSOP Main Event
exit sign in parking lot
Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov have announced that they are ending their PokerStars sponsorships. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sponsored pro flight continues

Poker power couple Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov announced on Wednesday that they have ended their sponsorship deals with PokerStars. Both players broke the news via tweets posted one minute apart.

Boeree had been a member of Team PokerStars Pro since the beginning of this decade. In her tweet, she thanked the PokerStars staff and her teammates for the “wonderful memories.”

Kurganov jumped onboard in 2017. He was a bit cheeky in his announcement, saying, “Liv and I are splitting up…” before revealing that they were splitting up with PokerStars.

PokerStars has been shedding pros for a few years now, moving more toward celebrities, streamers, and athletes for their sponsorships to appeal to casual poker players who might not have any idea who the pros are.

In the last three years, such names as Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Jason Mercier, and Barry Greenstein have all left PokerStars.

Liv Boeree

Boeree, who is from the UK, exploded onto the poker scene when she won the 2010 European Poker Tour (EPT) San Remo Main Event, becoming just the third woman to win an EPT crown.

She won Female Player of the Year at the European Poker Awards three years in a row, from 2014 to 2016

In the years since, Liv Boeree has cemented herself as one of the best poker players in the world. She won Female Player of the Year at the European Poker Awards three years in a row, from 2014 to 2016. She is a regular on the live poker tournament circuit, often frequenting the highest buy-in events. Boeree has nearly $3.9 million in recorded live tournament cashes in her career.

Igor Kurganov

When Kurganov inked his sponsorship deal with PokerStars in 2017, he was already established as one of the elite high roller tournament players in the world. Look at his resume of cashes and virtually every buy-in is for five- or six-figures. It couldn’t have hurt that he was dating Boeree, either, as that added to the fun of both of their sponsorships.

Kurganov has more than $18.4 million in live tournament cashes, good for 29th on the all-time money list and tops on Russia’s money list.

Shortly after Kurganov joined Pokerstars, he and Boeree won the $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em World Championship at the World Series of Poker. Because teams could be as large as four players, there were extra bracelets available.

The WSOP gave Boeree one of those extra bracelets so she could auction it off for charity. She ended up raising $10,200 for Raising for Effective Giving, a charity she and Kurganov started with poker pros Stefan Huber and Philipp Gruissem.

The Kings held and Kurganov had just eliminated the love of his life from the Main Event

The two also made news at this summer’s WSOP. On Day 1A of the WSOP Main Event, Kurganov and Boeree somehow ended up seated at the same table. Boeree ended up short-stacked and all-in with A-J and Kurganov isolated her with Kings. The Kings held and Kurganov had just eliminated the love of his life from the Main Event.

Boeree did give him a hug and kiss before hitting the rail. No hard feelings.

Split or steal?

As a former television presenter, Boeree is no stranger to appearing on the small screen. While her appearance on Ultimatepoker.com Showdown in 2005 exposed her to the poker community, she also hit the headlines in 2007 when she participated in a television game show called Golden Balls.

Boeree made it to the final round of the show, where her and a male contestant faced the decision to ‘split or steal’ the £6,500.50 ($8,368.22) prize pot. Despite nodding her head to suggest she would split, Boeree surprisingly selected the steal ball to snatch all of the winnings for herself.