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The Canadian roots of PokerStars

PokerStars is perhaps the most recognizable name in the online poker community, and by far the most popular online poker room around the globe. Even if players don’t use the site or its software, they’ve undoubtedly cheered for the players sponsored by PokerStars – Canadians Daniel Negreanu and Jonathan Duhamel, to name a few. With $1.4 billion in annual revenue, this site dominates the playing field and has incredible resources to sponsor big tournaments and big players.

What many fans don’t realize, however, is that PokerStars has Canadian roots. The founder, Isai Scheinberg, was working as a programmer for IBM in Ontario when he created the software to run the PokerStars website back in 2000. Moreover, PokerStars operated from the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation in Quebec until 2008, when online poker and online gambling in general began to be more heavily regulated and limited by the sanctioned monopoly provincial governments hold on the right to run anything related to gambling.

The importance of PokerStars was acknowledged this month in Bluff Magazine’s list of the top twenty most influential men (note: no women made the list) in the world of poker, both online and offline. Isai Scheinberg came in second, behind only Howard Lederer, co-founder of Full Tilt and a professional player himself, who has been a very visible and active ambassador for the game.

While PokerStars is no longer operated in Canada, we can still be proud to have been such an important part of online poker history.

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