Apparently, rumors have a way of turning out to be true in the online poker world. A while ago, some avid poker forum members over at the 2+2 have noticed that Phil Hellmuth was no longer wearing his UB patch at the events in which he was playing. The obvious speculation was that Hellmuth and UB were about to part ways. In the waning days of 2010, those speculations did indeed turned out to be well founded. In a blog post, UB pro Joe Sebok made the news public: both Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth would leave UB. Sebok thanked the two for having stuck it out through hell and high water for UB for the last few years and wished them well in their future ventures.
Of the two parties concerned, Duke and Hellmuth are probably the side that has the less to worry about the future. Professional players of outstanding caliber, they both maintained their dignity and handled the situation wonderfully amid the cheating scandals that rocked the brand they represented. They are both outstanding members of the live poker community and it’s rather difficult to think of an online poker interest that wouldn’t want them or their kind aboard. On the other hand, their departure leaves UB at a crossroads. The two players who had basically become the faces of the brand for better and for worse are gone, at a time when the company could more than use their help. Quick to attempt to rebound, UB has already announced that it was going to add new names to its professional roster during the first week of the New Year. I do however reckon that they would have to sign an awfully big name in order to efficiently offset the loss they just suffered. Whether the company will turn this setback into an opportunity to take a step forward, or whether it’ll just fade back into the sunset remains to be seen. After all the blows they’ve taken in recent years, it’s quite an accomplishment that they’re still alive and kicking as it is…
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