Absolute Poker and UB.com US Pros Let Go from Sponsorship

May 10, 2011

Further developments in the Absolute Poker and UB.com saga reveal that online poker sponsorships for poker pros have been eradicated all together. The full roster that included 10 members of Team UB and one pro from Absolute Poker were let go from their contracts, some of them even learning of their release through email.

Trishelle Cannatella, the Absolute Poker pro to get her walking papers was joined by UB.com poker pros Prahlad Friedman, Joe Sebok, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin, Brandon Cantu, Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, “Hollywood” Dave Stann, Scott Ian, Bryan Devonshire, and Adam “Roothlus” Levy.

The parent company of both UB.com and Absolute Poker is Antigua-based Blanca Games. We reported yesterday that the company had recently announced that it would be restructuring and downsizing. There have even been reports of bankruptcy, as an email went out to the shareholders that mentioned the “b” word. These efforts were made in good faith to help the company recover its business in non-US markets. All the sponsored pros were US poker players, so that didn’t make much sense in the whole scheme of things anyway.

Blanca Games released a statement that read:

“This was a difficult task for Blanca’s management, and we are very disappointed that we have been compelled to sever ties with our sponsored pros…we regret that we are no longer in a position to partner with our sponsored pros, or to provide them with a source of income for playing the game that they love.”

After the statement was released, some of the jilted pros released their own statements. Devonshire was surprised and aggravated by his abrupt release. Sebok was more composed, stating, “It was obvious that, regardless of what direction things went, that sponsored players in the USA were going to be unnecessary, or certainly far less necessary. It was pretty obvious, at least in my mind, that we would be let go.”

Hopefully, the fate of Full Tilt Poker pros and PokerStars pros based in the US will not be similar. Meanwhile, other online poker sites are still accepting US players.


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