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Poker News | World Poker News

Absolute and UB Poker Pros Contracts Terminated

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Blanca Games has issued a statement regarding the termination of their pro player contracts.  Due to the legal developments in the United States, Absolute Poker and UB ceased their U.S. facing operations and out of necessity have downsized certain aspects of UB and Absolute Poker's operations.  Blanca Games feels that in order to continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business that these efficiency measures are necessary for the brands to continue.

Black Friday’s Impact

Blanca Games goes on to state that 'Black Friday' has had a severe impact on business and the efficiency measures that require certain financial decisions are a result of that impact; the staff and personnel have also been affected by these efficiency measures and the overall result has been a negative effect on the financial position of the brands.

"Regrettably, the negative effect of ‘Black Friday’ has extended to the Company’s highest profile group of poker professionals, known as ‘Team UB’.  Consequently, Blanca’s executive management team today informed its roster of sponsored pros that, in accordance with the provisions of their agreements, their contracts have been terminated. Each of the ten Team UB pros, plus one player representing Absolute Poker, has received personal notification that their sponsorship arrangement with Blanca’s respective online poker room is now invalid."

The list of poker pros affected

The full list of the poker pros that have had their contract terminated are: Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Scott Ian, “Hollywood” Dave Stann, Adam “Roothlus” Levy, Bryan Devonshire and Trishelle Cannatella.

“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.  Over the years, the Company has been successful in gathering a group of young, extraordinarily talented and brand-appropriate poker professionals who have proudly sported its logos.  We are truly saddened that circumstances have dictated this course of action, and 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. We appreciate their significant time and dedication shared with us, and we thank them for the loyalty and patience they have continued to show us even during the unsettling events of the past few weeks. We respect and admire them for their many accomplishments, both at the poker tables and away from them, and we will always be grateful for their valuable contributions to building the UB and Absolute Poker brands and to creating a rock-solid community at the pair of online poker rooms.”

The layoff of all 11 American-based poker pros came on the coattails of last week’s announcement by Blanca saying that its workforce had been significantly reduced. As Absolute Poker and UB will continue to operate their business around the world - excluding the U.S. - these actions are hoped to form part of a strategic restructuring of the company that will allow the company to focus resources on consolidating its software business and non-U.S. facing operation.

Moving forward

Blanca Games is continuing to move forward, the company's legal counsel is in ongoing discussion with the U.S. Attorney's office with the ultimate objective of reaching an agreement with the Department of Justice, and in so doing, help facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.

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