Lee Jones' Life and Career Moves
Lee Jones is well-known among the online poker community. He is an accomplished author and former professional poker player, but he is best known for his public role as the cardroom manager of PokerStars. His transparent style and willingness to engage the poker community has endeared him to countless players.
About Lee Jones
Lee Jones attended Duke University and graduated in 1978 with a degree in computer science. He then attended the University of Maryland and earned his M.S. in electrical engineering. Before he came to PokerStars, Lee Jones spent time in the workforce and eventually became a professional poker player.
His rise to internet fame started in 2003 when he joined PokerStars as the cardroom manager. From 2003 to 2007, he was responsible for helping PokerStars organize tournaments and develop new games to offer to players.
He also served as a type of spokesperson for PokerStars. It was often Lee Jones who made major announcements, responded to player inquiries, and implemented suggestions made by players. He was active at the 2+2 poker forums and earned a reputation as an honest and open executive who actually listened to what players had to say.
At the time his open, non-confrontational style was unique, and he became beloved by the poker community. Most poker sites at the time were reluctant to share information, often released contradictory or false statements and were simply unwilling to treat players as valued customers. Lee Jones' style was pretty much the opposite of what players got from most poker sites.
During his time with PokerStars, the poker site saw tremendous growth and eventually became the largest poker site in the world. PokerStars earned a reputation as THE place to go for tournaments. Back when PokerStars still accepted American customers, it was common for nearly a fifth of the World Series of Poker participants to have qualified for the WSOP at PokerStars.
In 2005, Lee Jones published the book Winning Low Limit Holdem. This book was met with favorable reviews thanks to its ability to express complicated concepts in a manner that complete newbies could take in.
Note: Winning Low Limit Holdem was one of the first poker strategy books I ever read. The book helped me turn around my losing game to become a winning player. I can tell you from first-hand experience that Winning Low Limit Holdem was (and still is) an excellent resource for anyone interested in improving at poker.
Lee Jones left PokerStars on good terms in 2007 to act as the executive host of the European Poker Tour. In an interview published at the time, Lee Jones said he made the move in order to broaden his horizons and "stretch some new muscles."
He stayed with the EPT until 2008, and then became the chief operations officer of CardRunners.com. CardRunners is a membership-based poker training website that teaches poker strategy to up-and-coming players. At the time, CardRunners was recognized for having some of the biggest-name poker players in the world teach advanced tactics via in-depth articles, videos, and discussion forums.
Lee Jones left CardRunners in 2009 to join the online poker site Cake Poker as the cardroom manager. He only stayed there for about 18 months and later stated that he had left due to Cake Poker making strategic decisions that made him uncomfortable.
Not much was heard from Lee Jones between 2010 and 2012, although he did remain active in the community writing articles and voicing his opinion on various aspects of poker.
Lee Jones returned to PokerStars in 2012 after PokerStars acquired Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars made him the "head of poker communications." In his own words, Lee Jones said that this role would "allow me to serve as the community's representative to PokerStars, as well as PokerStars' representative to the poker community."
As of today, Lee Jones is still at PokerStars. His outreach program has helped both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker regain the ground each site lost after pulling out of the US market. One of his primary goals at PokerStars is to make poker more appealing to a wider audience. He doesn't just want to cater to professional grinders; he wants to reach out to soccer moms, retirees, and all the other millions of casual players around the world.
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015