Coming Soon: Free Poker at Fox Sports

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For years, ESPN has enjoyed almost exclusive patronage from poker fans for its coverage of the WSOP, but it looks like another sports network may be claiming a big share of the growing poker media market. Visit the Fox Sports website and you’ll see headers for all the major sports; before long the site will be adding poker to that list. Fox first started building a poker presence a little over a year ago when it aired its first exclusive poker show, but until this year its live tournament coverage was limited and its participation in the world of online poker was virtually non-existent.

This week, Fox’s parent company News Corporation announced that FoxSports.com has partnered with the card geniuses over at PokerStars.net to create what they hope will become a leading online poker venue. Because the Fox brand is based out of the U.S., there will be no cash action at the Fox Sports poker room…yet. Still, when you consider the massive size of both Fox and PokerStars’ combined followings we’re willing to believe that the new Fox Sports poker room will be well-positioned to lead the industry in entertainment-only poker action.

This isn’t the first time that Fox and PokerStars have worked together; their televised Million Dollar Challenge poker series just kicked off its second season this month, and earlier this year they debuted a second poker show, the David vs Goliath-style “Big Game.” It’s clear that the success of these shows has inspired Fox to venture beyond their tried and true TV format and into online poker media.

The new Fox Sports poker room will borrow heavily from PokerStars’ existing platform, essentially offering the site’s visitors a new skin and a more amateur-friendly focus on top of the PokerStars playing experience that seasoned players already know and love. Considering PokerStars’ pro-oriented marketing campaign, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Fox Sports poker room also pays a few notable names to make appearances.

What’s in it for PokerStars (apart from money)? With more than 30 million members, PokerStars is already reportedly the world’s largest poker room, but the Fox Sports site also has more than 26 million users, and considering that their existing poker coverage is pretty limited, we’re willing to bet that this collaboration will give PokerStars access to a largely untapped but nevertheless ideal population of potential cash players.

According to a joint statement issued by Fox Sports and PokerStars.net, the new site will not only offer live poker games, it will also offer an extensive poker tutorial section, the most expansive and up-to-date poker news coverage, and the best poker editorials. No launch date has yet been announced.

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