UB Poker Lays Off Entire Team of Sponsored Pros

The fallout from Black Friday just keeps getting worse for the Cereus Poker Network. Today the site announced it is letting go its roster of sponsored pros representing both UB and Absolute.

A press release from Cereus’ parent company, Blanca Games, revealed that Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Eric Baldwin, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Scott Ian, Dave Stann, Adam Levy, Bryan Devonshire, and Trishelle Cannatella all had their contracts terminated. Sources tell BLUFF that several of the pros only received e-mail notifications that they were being let go.

According to the statement, the fallout of Black Friday resulted in the dissolution of Team UB. The statement also explained that this was not an easy decision for the company to make:

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.

This news comes a week after an announcement from Blanca that the entire staff of the site was being let go and only 20% were being hired back to form a barebones staff for the sites. News only got worse for the company from there as Costa Rican authorities raided the UB and Absolute offices over the weekend. PokerStars’ lone office in Costa Rica was raided as well. A statement from Blanca on the matter said the raids were related to an investigation of former AP owner Scott Tom, Innovative Data Solutions (IDS) owner Olamn Rimola, and a third party, Oldemar Vargas. The statement claims the raids had nothing to do with the Department of Justice indictments.

IDS previously ran customer support for UB and AP. According to a blog post from independent reporter Haley Hintze, Cereus defaulted on payments to IDS employees.

Since being let go, several pros have already taken to Twitter to comment on the situation. Bryan Devnoshire was the first to break the news earlier today. He tweeted the following from his @devopoker account:

“UB released me today, has promised return of funds. Go fuck yourself DOJ. We beg for tax and regulation and you claim we’re criminal. FFFUU.”

Adam “Roothlus” Levy and Eric Baldwin also made jokes about their new status on @Roothlus and @basebaldy respectively.  Shortly after the announcement, Joe Sebok published a blog in regards to the company’s operations in the wake of Black Friday.  Within the post, Sebok apologized for not being able to accomplish more during his stint with UB. He also wrote:

UB and their legal team is trying to work creatively to get that money back to players, I have been told. I haven’t been promised that that can happen, but I have been informed that is the goal. This was never going to be a short process though, which leaves so much room for speculation. I am trying to not engage in that, hope, and be patient. It’s not easy. ”

The statement from Blanca corroborates Sebok’s blog and Devonshire’s statement that the site is working to return funds to players, sponsored and unsponsored alike:

The company’s legal counsel continues to move forward in ongoing discussion with the U.S. Attorney’s office with the ultimate objective of reaching an agreement with the Department of Justice that would facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.”

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