Founder of Poker Royalty, LLC- a poker specific agency based in Las Vegas specializing in player representation, online poker consulting, marketing, sales & event management
- Indiana University School of Law;
- Indiana University Kelly School of Business;
Brian began his career as a professional golf agent, where he became an expert on golf sponsorships, licensing and event management. For six years, he served Imani Sports as its Vice President and General Counsel, while overseeing the careers of a dozen prominent PGA TOUR & LPGA TOUR professionals. During this time, he also served as an Adjunct Professor of Sports Law at the University of Minnesota.
In 2003, Brian applied the blueprint he learned in golf to poker and founded the world’s first poker agency. Today, Poker Royalty is the leading international poker agency, representing the top professional and celebrity poker players and the game’s premier brands and events. Poker Royalty also specializes in licensing and brand development, marketing, consulting, appearance requests and event management, and has worked with organizations such as EBay, Pepsi, HBO, and Netflix. In March of 2011, he was featured on the cover of Bluff Magazine and named as one of the 5 most influential people in poker.
The Story of Poker Royalty:
Working at his dream job as the Vice President and General Counsel of Imani Sports and a player manager on the PGA TOUR back in 2003, Brian Balsbaugh oversaw the careers of a dozen prominent professional golfers and taught Sports Law at the University of Minnesota. He was a man that knew everything about golf and absolutely nothing about poker. That is, until one night Balsbaugh had a great idea.
This idea wasn’t just any idea. It was the kind of idea that keeps you up at night. One that causes you to think big, act big and even leave your current dream job for the type of opportunity that only comes along every great once in a while. See, most people who watch the World Series of Poker on television simply notice characters and cards, but Balsbaugh saw opportunity. And a week later, he founded the first-ever poker specific player management agency – Poker Royalty.
“My business plan was simple: apply the principles I learned working in the golf agency to the poker world,” said Balsbaugh. “I was familiar with every possible way a company could spend its advertising budget in golf, and I believed those methods would apply perfectly to the poker world.”
“In 2003, there were no agents in poker. I had to first convince the poker players that they needed an agent, and then, I had to convince them I was the right guy.”
Daniel Negreanu was the first player to put his faith in Balsbaugh and Poker Royalty, and many others followed his lead. Balsbaugh’s company now represents a clear majority of the biggest names in poker.
“Signing players is one thing, but providing them sensible business opportunities is another. I’m acutely aware that we always need to deliver for our clients.”
With over 1,000 poker related sponsorship deals inked, Poker Royalty does deliver. “My philosophy is that every deal has to work well for both parties. Through experience, I’ve learned that those are the deals that last.”
Balsbaugh’s great idea paid off. What started as one man in his home office is now a full-service marketing firm with ten employees and offices in Las Vegas and London. “I’m proud of the origins of Poker Royalty and the hard work we’ve put in, but I’m more interested in what the next 10 years will look like. I firmly believe poker is still in its infancy, and I’m keenly aware of our position in the industry and our responsibility to help grow the game.”