New subcription-based site unveils impressive roster of Team Pros.

RISE Poker, the new subscription-based poker site on the ZEN entertainment network, today announced the first in their roster of sponsored Team RISE Pro players.

The team includes popular character Scotty Nyugen, 1998 WSOP Main Event champion, and Danny “Ansky” Stern, high stakes online professional and executive producer at video training site Deuces Cracked.

Maria Ho, successful live tournament pro with over $1m in winnings, previously was a member of Team UB. Signing in November 2010, her contract was terminated last month along with the rest of the Team UB stable soon after Black Friday.

“No Purchase Necessary”

RISE Poker, launched on May 31, is a free-to-play online poker site that offers freerolls and cash prizes. For a $20 monthly subscription fee, players can access more tournaments and vie for $100k in monthly cash prizes. Legally considered as “sweepstakes” due to their “no purchase necessary” clause, subscription sites are permitted in the United States.

Team Pros Scotty Nguyen, Maria Ho and Bellande

The team pros are not the only signings for RISE Poker. Popular bloggers “Dr. Pauly” from Tao of Pauly, “F-Train” from Riding the F Train and “Change100” from Pot Committed are all hired as writers for the site.

“An industry not without casualties”

RISE is not the first to try the subscription-based poker model. ClubWPT, part of the World Poker Tour brand, first launched in 2007 and continues to run today. ZEN Entertainment, the network on which RISE Poker resides, launched in 2009 with primary site NLOP, and later added brands UFC Poker and WWE Poker.

SpadeClubThe industry is not without casualties. Launched with great fan-fare, CardPlayer’s SpadeClub.com opened its doors in February 2008. Despite heavy TV promotion when CardPlayer editor Jeff Shulman – sporting SpadeClub patches – made it to the final table in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, the site closed a year later. Players were transitioned to the ZEN Entertainment Network that now runs under the brand “Cardplayer Poker.”

In the advent of Black Friday, there is renewed interested in the subscription poker model. Only time will tell if the format will gain widespread traction with the poker playing community.