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Poker News | World Poker News

Eolis Steps Down, Jones Steps Back Up at WPA

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Change is the word at the World Poker Association. In fact, it has been in the past six months that most of the change has taken place. And just as the 2008 World Series of Poker got underway in Vegas, the WPA underwent the most drastic change thus far as Wendeen Eolis resigned as Chairperson, taking eight board members with her, and Jesse Jones was reinstated as Chairman of the Board.

In February of 2008, Jones made the decision to step back from the WPA he founded and nurtured, semi-retiring to the position of Chairman Emeritus. Though he still remained involved, Eolis took the leadership position of Boar of Directors Chairperson. The result was more press for the organization and more recognizable names on the Board of Directors, but public interest in the WPA had waned.

The WPA planned a major presence at the 2008 WSOP and kicked it off with a two-day conference for poker players that included a cocktail party and a membership meeting wherein the new Board of Directors would be elected. An inside source says the conference was poorly attended, though the WPA-sponsored WSOP mega satellite that followed was a success. Still, the WPA booth that sat outside the Amazon Room during the first two weeks of the WSOP was often empty, and even when a presence was there to address the passersby, public interest was clearly on the nearby Poker Players Alliance booth.

On Tuesday, June 10th, Eolis announced her resignation from the WPA, and Jones was immediately reinstated to resume his position as Chairman of the Board. However, eight of the newly elected board members “relinquished their positions” upon the announcement of Eolis’ departure. Board members remaining were Joseph Hachem and Blair Rodman.

A statement was released by the WPA noting that Eolis had facilitated the development of the WPA Code of Ethics, revision of the organization’s internal affairs, production of the aforementioned WPA annual membership meeting and conference, and redesign of the WPA website. It was noted that she had been offered a role in the U.S. presidential campaign of an unnamed candidate.

Jones stated, “We thank Wendeen for her valuable contributions. Her resignation is warmly accepted and we wish her success in her new role… Discussions between outgoing board members and other key contacts within the poker community will now begin. Our primary goal is to invite additional talent to represent and advance the interests of poker players around the globe.”

With only three members of the board currently serving, including Jones, the organization must act quickly to stay relevant and show the poker community that it is a cohesive organization with specific goals and the means to achieve those goals. With nearly 1,400 paying members, the WPA will have to demonstrate its ability to recover from its missteps, perceived ones, in the past six months.

Jones added, “We have a unique opportunity to form a strong board with a united vision, to promote poker as a sport by advocating professionalism and uniform rules and standards of conduct, and help to create increased economic opportunities for players worldwide. We thank our members for their continued support and look forward to an exciting year in shaping the policies and practices of international poker.”

For more information about the World Poker Association, visit WPAPoker.org.

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