From Annie Duke’s website:
It’s bittersweet, but I’ve decided to leave UB.
I have nothing but positive things to say about UB and my experiences with the brand, management team, and dedicated employees who work hard every day to deliver a terrific online poker experience for players like you.
I’ve sincerely enjoyed wearing the UB patch, but it’s time for me to move on.
So why am I leaving UB? In a nutshell, professional and personal growth.
Translation: “They can’t afford to pay me and/or I don’t want to go to jail.” There’s been some speculation that perhaps Annie no longer wants to be associated with some of the biggest scumbags in the industry, but she’s stood by them for some time through a huge cheating scandal and repeated attempts to cover it up. Something has changed, and I’m guessing it’s their willingness or ability to pay her.
From Phil Hellmuth’s Twitter:
Making a BIG move…leaving UB. Truly lots of great memories, but it’s time to move on…Mutual decision…Looking forward to BRIGHT future!
The future’s so bright he has to wear shades… everywhere he goes… even indoors.
This one is less of a surprise. Phil was never as public in addressing UB’s problems as Annie was, and recently he’d stopped appearing in public with the UB logo.
Again, it’s hard for me to believe that this was purely a PR/branding decision. Although the man practically invented the idea of a poker celebrity, the UB brand was at its worst years ago but he is just now leaving. It was all about the money for him, even moreso than for Annie, and presumably they can no longer pay him what he believes himself to be worth.
These two announcements lend urgency to a warning I made earlier this month:
When [disreputable sites like Cereus] decide to close up shop, it will likely be without warning, and they may well take your money down with them. This wouldn’t even have to entail outright theft, though I wouldn’t put that past them, either. An unexpected occurrence such as a major crackdown on their payment processors could render them suddenly illiquid. If you believe that Cereus keeps player deposits in a separate account that is not used for operating expenses, I have some real estate to sell you in Florida….
Joe Sebok is still drinking the Kool-Aid:
Speaking of Team UB, while it’s true that two of our members have moved on, don’t think that we aren’t restocking the talent. We’ll be announcing our newest Team UB member next week and I am crazily pumped about it. UB has, and will continue to have, a whole new look and feel for our team and our newest signing exemplifies that, so stay tuned for that announcement next week. Going to be a bit of a doozy.
In related news, I’ve got a big announcement to make tomorrow 🙂