Poker Coverage:

Longtime Poker Industry Insider Rich Korbin Passes Away

The Former PokerStars Director Was Also A WSOP Bracelet Winner


Rich KorbinThe poker world was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of longtime industry insider Rich Korbin, who spent the better part of the last four decades in the game and is credited with helping online poker surge in popularity at the height of the poker boom.

Korbin had a lasting impact on those he interacted with over the years and was regarded as universally liked and respected in the poker community.

Korbin settled in Boulder, Colorado after college, but was never far from the action. He was a formidable player in all poker disciplines, and has tournament results dating back to the early ’80s.

In 2001, Korbin won a WSOP bracelet and $159,080, topping a field of 164 in the $2,500 stud eight-or-better event. Later that series, he went deep in the main event, taking 17th place. He also had a win at Amarillo Slim’s Superbowl Of Poker.

But Korbin will be best remembered for his work with PokerStars as their Director of Events and Sponsorships. Korbin worked tirelessly behind the scenes to legitimize the online poker site in the early days and with clever marketing was able to expose a much bigger audience to the game.

He was even able to convince CBS to air a special segment about online poker on 60 Minutes, which was watched by 16 million people.

Korbin was also incredibly charitable, frequently giving to various causes while helping non-profit poker organizations get off the ground.

In recent years, Korbin was also a member of the Card Player family serving as a sales and marketing specialist.

“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Rich Korbin,” said Card Player President and COO Jeff Shulman. “I’ve known and worked with Rich for a long time. Everybody loved him, and his self-deprecating humor was top notch. He will be missed throughout our community. Our hearts go out to his family.”

Korbin died Friday night, going into cardiac arrest following surgery for his broken leg.

Nolan Dalla, who worked with Korbin at PokerStars, said he was “stunned and speechless” after hearing the news.

“It will take me some time to gather my thoughts, reflect, and share more about what this exceptionally kind and generous man meant to me, and so many others,” Dalla wrote. Weeks later at Korbin’s memorial, he showed a tribute video.

“He was such a good man, friend, and I owe the start of my poker media career to him,” said Bernard Lee. “We will all miss you friend.”

“A real legend in the poker community and a good friend!” added poker pro Shawn Rice.

“I can’t really remember a twist or turn in the poker world in the last 20 years that Rich hasn’t somehow been a part of,” said Beverly Cheney. “Sad day for the poker world.”

“Very sad,” added Chau Giang. “He [was] my good friend for 30 years. Very nice guy.”