A year ago, J. C. Tran was all the talk in the poker community. He was the leading November Niner of the 2013 World Series of Poker, holding the highest chip stack and heavily favored to go on to win the WSOP Championship. Things didn’t quite work out that way in the end, but the positive stature did get him a generous contract as a brand ambassador for the popular international online poker site, 888Poker. One year later, however, he has chosen to part ways with the internet gaming company.
Tran’s sponsorship deal with 888Poker was only slated for one year. The expiration date just passed, and according to a post on J. C.’s Twitter page, @jctran23, he and the online poker brand did not elect to extend the contract. “Want to announce that I am no longer a member of @888poker,” wrote Tran late last night. “Thank you for a fun journey ovr the past 12mos. GL to all of #team888”.
Tran has made an exceptionally successful career out of playing poker, some online, but much more so on the live poker circuit. At 37 years of age, he’s accumulated over $11 million in live tournament cashes, collecting 2 WSOP bracelets and 2 WPT Titles. The WSOP Main Event final table run that earned him the sponsorship with 888Poker in the first place ended in a 5th place elimination, adding $2,106,893 to those combined winnings.
As for why Tran and 888Poker have decided to part ways, no clear indication has been given. It’s certainly not due to a drop off in profitability on the US poker pro’s part. Since becoming a member the online poker pro team, he earned his second WPT title at the WPT Rolling Thunder event for just over $300k and cashed in 5 WSOP events over the summer totaling more than half a million, including two final table appearances that both ended in 4th place eliminations.
The only probable cause for leaving Team888 would have to be the simple fact that his contract came up, and he’s not exactly located in a prime region for online poker play. Originally born in Vietnam, Tran has been residing in Sacramento, California for many years now – the majority of his poker career, in fact. He has made it very clear that he has no intention of relocating, for his family’s sake. However, due to the current legal status of online poker in his home state, he can’t just log on and play poker any time he likes. Thus the most likely reason for Tran’s departure is that it’s simply too much of a burden fulfilling his obligations to the 888Poker community.
With that being said, the newest member of Team888 will have some very big shoes to fill. 888Poker picked up Bruno Politano, the Brazilian poker player who, just like Tran in 2013, found himself among the elite November Nine this year. One contrasting difference, though, is that Tran was the chip leader last year, whereas the feisty Brazilian will be coming into the WSOP Main Event final table this November as the short stack.