Ultimate Poker Loses Majority Of Sponsored ProsAugust 25, 2014 1:12 pm
Back in April, 2013, the USA’s first regulated iPoker site Ultimate Poker opened with great fanfare and soon after announced the addition of 2012 Big One for One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari as its official Brand Ambassador. Over the ensuing months a number of other noted pros were subsequently added to UP’s sponsored roster, but hit by low traffic volume the iPoker room has now chosen to release five of its remaining pros.
First to announce the news was former UP Team Pro Randy Dorfman, who quit the company in October 2013 after complaining that his “ideas and experiences” to help build the brand consistently fell upon “deaf ears.” Breaking the news of Ultimate Poker’s latest batch of departures, the 34 year pro, tweeted:
“Ultimate Poker drops Pros Will Reynolds, Jeremy Ausmus, Phil Collins & Brent Hanks. Maybe time 4 Stations to drop people running UP? #toolate.”
In addition, Lauren Kling has also departed the site leaving behind just Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Somerville, Danielle Andersen and Dan O’ Brien. Without Dorfman’s tweet, however, the fate of the pros might have gone largely unnoticed as neither the company nor the involved pros themselves chose to comment on the issue.
Initially, Ultimate Poker got off to a fairly impressive start in Nevada’s iPoker industry and up until September 2013, when it was the state’s sole poker site, it reported as many as 220 cash game players over a seven-day period. After WSOP.com joined the fray, however, UP has seen its traffic drop to just 70 cash game players last week, while WSOP.com reported 95 players over the same period.
In addition, Ultimate Poker launched in the New Jersey market on November 21st, 2013, but its results have thus far been disastrous and whereas market leader Party Borgata reported 140 cash players at any one time last week and a peak of 285 players, Ultimate NJ showed no cash game players, according to PokerScout, and a mere 5 players during peak time.
Nevertheless, Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Station Casinos, is hoping that a regulated Californian iPoker industry could help ressurect its waning fortunes, and as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Todd Kobrin, explains:
“We have deals with various tribes. Station actually manages and runs a casino about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. When California does finally legalize, we will get a license and be one of the operators in the market. One of the huge advantages that we have, due to our relationship with UFC, it has its biggest following in California. We are already starting to build a database with a lot of California players.”