The PokerStars Live events always require a huge number of people to execute them. Especially EPT Barcelona, the largest European live poker festival of the year, it takes a virtual village to ensure that things run smoothly. Approximately 150 people are on site here in Barcelona and watching them work is a pretty fascinating sight to behold, each “cog in the grand machine” running full steam ahead. While I was wandering around the tournament halls, I met with a number of these hardworking people, and I thought it would be cool to introduce some of them to you.

PokerStars EPT Meet the Team

 

Mathieu Ceustermans

Mathieu Ceustermans
Mathieu Ceustermans

Role: Welcome Desk for Live Events

Nationality: French

Length of tenure with PokerStars: “3 years, but this is my first live event. Prior to this, I used to work in back-end online support, replying to help desk emails and other player requests.”

Job description: “As players approach the tournament area, I’m here to help direct them, guide them, and answer any questions they might have. There are lots of players who’ve never been to one of our tournaments, so we’re here for them.”

Best part of the job: Helping people. Good to know I can be of assistance, especially for new players.

Favorite color: Blue

Julio Chaves

Julio Chaves
Julio Chaves

Role: On-site Registrations Manager for Live Events

Nationality: Costa Rican

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 11 years

Job description: “During the live events, I act as a supervisor; we have a team of about 20 people. We organize the schedule and staffing, ensuring we have enough supplies, equipment, and personnel on hand so that the events run smoothly. Generally speaking, lots and lots of Excel sheets, crunching numbers and financials.”

Best part of the job: “I really get along well with my colleagues, they’re great people and they make the job enjoyable wherever we are at all the stops along our worldwide live tour.”

Favorite colors: Black, blue, and green

Krisztian Dora

Krisztian Dora
Krisztian Dora

Role: Dealer

Nationality: Hungarian

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 3 years, working exclusively on the EPT circuit

Best part of the job: “I love traveling, so getting to see all the cities on the tour is really wonderful. Also, we have a great crew and I really like my colleagues, so that always makes this job more enjoyable. We work hard, but we have fun together. Barcelona is my favorite stop on the tour; it’s a great city with awesome beaches and really nice people.”

Favorite color: Black

Garry Gates

Garry Gates
Garry Gates

Role: VIP Player Liaison Senior Consultant of Player Affairs

Nationality: American

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 8 years

Job description: “I’m a bit of a utility player within the business, but this year my primary focus has been the PokerStars Players Championship — the PSPC — managing the player engagement and experience plan.  I also serve as a dedicated point of contact for Platinum Pass winners and pros, and was one of the stakeholders tasked with bringing the Moneymaker PSPC Tour to life.

Best part of the job: “I love the people I work with, my colleagues. We’re based all over the world, so events like these give us a chance to get together and see each other face-to-face rather than just have relationships that are based exclusively on emails and instant messaging. Also, it’s great to meet the players, especially the PSPC winners – it has been a fun project to be involved in.”

Favorite color: Navy blue

Álex Hernando

Álex Hernando
Álex Hernando

Role: Media Coordinator

Nationality: Spanish

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 1.5 years

Job description: “We take care of the media and try to make their job easier. We provide them with internet, a place to work, and all the information they need to help the spectators follow the tournaments, in terms of chip counts, prize pools, player lists, nationalities, etc.”

Best part of the job: “I used to work in poker media as a reporter, so I understand exactly how difficult the job can sometimes be. That’s why it makes me feel good to make the media’s job easier.”

Favorite color: Blue

Begoña Lorenzo

Role: Event Manager

Nationality: Spanish

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 10 years

Job description: “I help organize the accommodation for everybody attending our events all over the world, at every single stop. I receive bookings from the PokerStars Travel site, contact hotels and negotiate rates and contracts with them, and organize player parties and activities.”

Best part of the job: I love being on-site in the casinos during the events and seeing the players. It’s fun to be able to meet them in person and put faces to the names of the people I assist online.

Favorite color: Blue

Marta Norton

Marta Norton
Marta Norton

Role: Director of Global Live Events

Nationality: Portuguese

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 13 years

Job description: When not at a live event, I’m focused on where we can take our events in the future, where we’re going to be at our next stop, and how we’re going to evolve them to make them better. While at an event, it’s very much working with the team to provide the best customer service we can, as well as working with our partners, namely the hotels and casinos worldwide.

Best part of the job: When I see that people had a really good time and enjoyed themselves. It’s very satisfying.

Favorite color: Blue

Toby Stone

Toby Stone
Toby Stone

Role: Tournament Director

Nationality: British

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 14 years

Job description: “Deciding how the tables get set up, breaking order of tables, how many alternates can be fit in, if events need to be capped, how many dealers and floor staff members I need, what time they need to come in. Lots and lots of customer questions, questions from PokerStars Staff, Casino staff, venue staff – half of my day is actually pent answering questions. And of course staff management, acting as a pseudo HR person to make sure we all get along.”

Best part of the job: I’ve been working in the gaming industry for 25 years and in poker for nearly 20. It’s a very interesting game, and I never get bored. I love talking about the rulings. One of my favorite things to do is discuss with my dealers and floor staff what we would do in unique and specific situations as they come up. and finding inefficiencies and figuring out how to streamline and make things better.

Favorite color: I don’t have a favorite color, but I seem to have a lot of green T-shirts…

Ben Strivens

Ben Strivens
Ben Strivens

Role: Senior Producer of Branded Content, Webcast Director

Nationality: British

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 6 years

Job description: During the webcast I press the buttons that facilitate the switch from one camera to another, instruct the camera operators what to do, what angles to get. We spend a lot of time pre-production planning for how to shoot all the action at the table and deciding what equipment we’re going to use. When we’re not webcasting, we also produce highlight reels, promos, and edited shows.

Best part of the job: We get to create stories and take this great game that we love and see some fascinating characters in real-time. Sometimes there will just be this unbelievable hand, and we’re watching the action live, via the camera stream – actually getting to see the players’ cards – some of those moments where you see the action unfolding really stand out.

Favorite color: Black

Howard Swains

Howard Swains
Howard Swains

Role: Freelance PokerStars blogger

Nationality: British

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 14 years

Job description: These days we’re mainly doing live tournament updates. In the past, we used to do some feature reporting; we still do some of that.  Mostly though, we’re just watching the action, reporting on it, chip counts, hand updates, and then daily wraps, recaps, and interviews as and when needed.

Best part of the job: I’ve quite enjoyed watching the way that poker has developed through the years.

Favorite color: Green

Gintaras Varpucinskis

Gintaras Varpucinskis
Gintaras Varpucinskis

Role: Manager of PokerStars Live Sign Up and Payouts

Nationality: Lithuanian

Length of tenure with PokerStars: 5 years

Job description: At all of the PokerStars Live tour stops around the world. I meet a lot of people because I’m registering them and issuing PS Live cards. There a lot of different nationalities represented , and it’s interesting chatting with different people from all over the world. Sometimes people have lost their cards, so I need to issue new ones or correct some personal information details.

Best part of the job: I love communicating with people and meeting all sorts of different people from all over the world. I like hearing the different accents and languages being spoken.

Favorite color: Dark blue

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