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Team PokerStars Pro in San Diego

When we first put the PokerStars Pro Tour together, we really didn't know what kind of turnout we'd get. We knew we wanted to create grassroots support for online poker ("iPoker" as the legislators call it) in California. We were pretty sure that bringing some of our top Team Pros to California card clubs would be a good way to create that groundswell of support.

I'm not sure we expected this at the Palomar Casino in San Diego:

Liv on TV in card club.jpgLiv Boeree making an appearance on TV

Yes, that's Team Pro Liv Boeree being interviewed by Dan Plant on Channel 9 KUSI news. She, Jason Somerville, and yours truly actually got airtime on the same day that a massive wildfire had shut down I-15 just a couple of hours north. Or this at the Lake Elsinore Casino:

Line for autographs and pictures.jpgThe line for autographs getting longer

That's people patiently waiting in line to get their selfies with Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville. When they got to the front of the line, it looked like this:

Daniel and Jason meet and greet_2.jpgDaniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville meet players

And out on the tournament floor... well, out on the tournament floor, it was so packed that they poached tables from the restaurant (haha - poached tables from the restaurant - food joke) and put in poker tables:

Poker tables in restaurant.jpgTables packed into a restaurant

And early on we lost count of the number of spontaneous pictures that people took with the Team Pros. Here's a typical example:

Daniel and Admirer.jpgDaniel Negreanu and an admirer

But the most rewarding thing was the response we got to the mission which brought us there: bringing online poker and PokerStars back to California. These people are passionate about poker, they're passionate about online poker, and they're passionate about PokerStars. Don't believe me? Check out this gentleman's shirt:

Old School Logo shirt.jpgAn old school PokerStars logo

As the PokerStars brand police recoil in horror, the veterans will recognize the original PokerStars logo. This fellow qualified for the 2004 World Series of Poker on PokerStars (yes, the same year Greg Raymer did). "When are you all coming back?" And that was the question they all asked: "When will we have PokerStars back in California?"

Furthermore, they patiently stood in line not only for the selfies and autographs; they stood in line to send a message to their elected representatives:

Line to sign up.jpgthe line to sign up

If you weren't there and haven't signed up yet, and/or you want to see where the California Pro Tour is coming next, hop over to the coalition website and get your name on the list; we can use your support.

I'll leave the last word to Mark, who came out to see us at the Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista, near San Diego:

Lee Jones is the Director of Poker Communications at PokerStars and has been part of the professional poker world for over 25 years. You can read his occasional Twitter-bites at @leehjones.

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