For 4 years Naoya Kihara has been a member of PokerStars‘ team of pros, but as of August 31st that association is at an end.
The Japanese star made the announcement via his Facebook page and spoke of his happiness at having spent 4 years as part of the team.
Kihara shot to fame in 2012 when he became the first Japanese national to win a WSOP bracelet, with his sponsorship deal following soon after. He has been highly successful both in live and online formats, across a broad spectrum of different games. Since his WSOP bracelet win he has accumulated 23 cashes at the series, including a 7th, 12th and 18th place.
His online exploits have seen him excel in tournaments under the screen name “nkeyno”. In 2016 alone he managed two 2nd places and two 3rd‘s during SCOOP. With his exceptional mixed game talents, Kihara remains one of Asia’a best hopes of another WSOP bracelet. He currently sits 2nd on Japan’s all time money list.
Kihara indicated in his post that he is happy to have helped poker to grow in Japan and that he is sad to be parting ways with PokerStars. He added that his enthusiasm for playing poker professionally remains undiminished and he will continue to apply himself to the task of becoming one of the best poker players in the world. His past results and continued work ethic ensure that he remains a great inspiration to aspiring Japanese poker pros, with or without the sponsorship of PokerStars.
Article by Craig B.