Team UB and Absolute Poker AxedMay 10, 2011 5:22 am
In what is likely the beginning of the end for online poker sponsorship in the States, Absolute Poker and UB have now axed their full roster of sponsored pros.
In total, ten members of Team UB and one Absolute Poker pro were released from their contracts, with some of the players apparently receiving the bad news via e-mail.
The one Absolute Poker pro let go was Trishelle Cannatella, while UB bid farewell to Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Scott Ian, “Hollywood” Dave Stann, Adam “Roothlus” Levy, Bryan Devonshire.
Antigua-based Blanca Games is the parent company of online poker rooms Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. Following Black Friday, the company announced its need to restructure and downsize its operation in order to concentrate on its non-US business and an obvious target for Blanca Games was all sponsored US pros.
Speaking yesterday, a Blanca Games announcement 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.”
Following the statement, a number of ex-sponsored pros released their reactions to the news.
Bryan Devnoshire seemed to react in a surprised and aggressive manner to his release, while telling the Department Of Justice in no mean way exactly what he thought of them. On the other side of the spectrum, however, Joe Sebok seemed much more stoical and stated:
“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.”
In the meantime, it now remains to be seen how PokerStars and Full Tilt will handle their extended stables of sponsored professionals.