Written On 5/10/11 By Recentpoker.com staff writer Emily Apontif :
CEREUS CUTS TIES WITH U.S. POKER PROS
Top names will no longer represent Absolute Poker and UBPoker
Further indications of the worsening situation at the Cereus poker network, heavily impacted by Black Friday and compelled to drastically downsize, came to light Monday when the company issued a press release announcing the termination of sponsorship arrangements with eleven top international players.
Blanca Games, the parent company of the network, explained that the legal developments in the United States have compelled it to downsize, and that to ensure the on-going viability of the non-U.S. business it has had to reluctantly terminate the sponsorship contracts of ten UB Poker pros and one Absolute Poker pro.
“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,” the statement reveals.
"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."
Blanca management notes that the decision was a difficult and disappointing one.
"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," the statement continues, giving management's thanks to the pros and expressing respect and admiration for their achievements in both poker and the company's affairs.
Those pros impacted by the sponsorship decision are Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Eric Baldwin, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Scott Ian, Dave Stann, Adam Levy, Bryan Devonshire and Trishelle Cannatella.
Probably the pro with the highest Cereus profile, Joe Sebok, has been active in recent months on both blogs and message boards in improving communications between Cereus and the playing public.
In a very personal and somewhat rambling public statement, Sebok emphasised that he was at all times assured by a management that he trusted that there had been genuine changes at Cereus, and that there was a determination to act with integrity and professionalism.
Corporate money movements and infrastructures had been outside his involvement, and he remained largely uninformed on those aspects of the company, he wrote, referring to Department of Justice indictments against Scott Tom and the Black Friday disclosures.
He stressed the difficulties of getting US players paid, but said he was personally sure that there was a genuine desire at Cereus to effect payment and that the company's legal representatives remained engaged with DoJ authorities.