Posted by Lenny S on 12/31/10 : Duke and Hellmuth move on to other business opportunities
 
Two of the US poker industry's most high profile professionals – Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth – surprised observers Thursday afternoon this week with announcements only hours apart that they are to depart as resident professionals for UB.com, a major online poker site in the Cereus Group.
 
UB.com has confirmed that the two have left to pursue other business interests and will no longer be associated with UB.  The split, which appears to be amicable judging by statements from all concerned, follows an association with the poker site that goes back a number of years.
 
One of the current Cereus pros, Joe Sebok, paid generous tribute to Duke and Hellmuth on his blog shortly after the announcements, writing: “These two legends in our industry have, quite literally, helped to build UB into what it is today. Phil and Annie have been the face of the company for years now, and we thank them for their unbelievable contributions and bid them the utmost in success moving forward.”
 
Although depleted by the departures, UB.com can still boast an impressive roster of pros that includes Sebok, along with Brandon Cantu, Eric Baldwin, Tiffany Michelle, Adam Levy and Maria Ho. The company is understood to have plans to recruit more aces to its resident team.
 
Commenting on her decision to move, Duke said, “After some thought, I made a decision to leave UB.com because I would like to explore other avenues of business and personal growth. I realized I needed to spend my time on other things.”
 
Duke is well placed in financial terms, having won millions in a career that has seen her successful in the biggest poker tournaments in the world over the years.  Hellmuth, who holds the record for the most WSOP bracelets (11) has been similarly successful, whilst both aces have diverse business interests outside poker, and have become media stars in their own right.