The 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 devasted 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 a 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.
“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.”
Rich Korbin – a wonderful person and a great friend of so many in poker – passed away this morning.
An absolute pleasure at the table, he had two expressions after losing a pot that always made me smile:
“I’m playing my heart out here.”
“This might be the maddest I’ve ever been.”
— Norman Chad (@NormanChad) June 25, 2022
Rich Korbin was one of my first friends in poker and one of the best humans I’ve known. In shock to have lost him today.
— Terrence Chan (@tchanpoker) June 25, 2022
Rich Korbin. The quiet storm behind online poker, his influence was felt by us all yet he was known by so few. May the memory of the legacy he leaves behind remain as he rests in peace. You will be missed Rich! Your friend, “Stevie”.
— Steven McLoughlin (@_tizzle) June 26, 2022
Rarely can you say about a man that he was authentic and kind in every way every single day. I played poker regularly with a fellow named Rich Korbin who was that man. Beloved by all who were fortunate to have him in their lives, he will now be missed. Rest in Peace, my friend.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) June 25, 2022
RIP to Rich Korbin. He will be missed 🙁
— Randy Ohel (@randyohel) June 25, 2022
Sad news to report.
My long time friend Rich Korbin passed away in his sleep last night.
We played mixed games way back in the day, and then he moved on to work for PokerStars.
Always a smile. Had a very positive outlook on life.
Rest in peace Rich. Was great to know you. pic.twitter.com/lhpFdt7qQr
— Allen Kessler (@AllenKessler) June 25, 2022