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Ultimate Poker’s Choppy Waters: Dorfman, Marchese End Site Deals

Ultimate PokerNevada-based online poker site Ultimate Poker, which made history by becoming that state’s first officially regulated site back in May, has encountered rougher times of late.  At least three of the more prominent members of the site’s new “Team U” family of spokesplayer pros, Jonathan Little, Randy Dorfman and Tom Marchese, have quickly stepped away from their sponsorship deals after signing on with Ultimate Poker just a month ago.

Dorfman, in particular, was vocal about his dissatisfaction with Ultimate Poker management, taking the site to task in a friends-only posting on his Facebook account, which read in part:

“I have resigned from Ultimate Poker as their Team Pro. At this point in my life there are more important and creative things for me to be involved with. To have your ideas and experiences from the game I love fall on deaf ears while you bust your ass to build a game for a new Company just was extremely frustrating to me.

“I wish UP the best and I hope things do turn around for them. I met some great people there and hopefully the chemistry between all involved gets straightens out soon.”

Dorfman tipped his hand regarding his ended deal with UP back on October 17th, posting the following on Twitter, though he subsequently deleted the post:

ScreenHunter_12 Oct. 28 14.29

Dorfman made another posting on Facebook about his quitting, which was later read verbatim by Todd “Dan Druff” Witteles in his Oct. 22nd PokerFraudAlert podcast.  That statement shed a bit more light on the situation:

“I did not want to go public on my quitting, but basically it was about a startup doing everything possible to fuck up on many levels, and upper management not taking the bull by the horn and holding people accountable.  Everyone in upper management has an incredible track record that most would envy, but I think they got swayed with the politics of getting legal online poker on a state-by-state basis, basis and not keeping their eye on the ball.  There is still time to right the ship but management needs to quickly start listening to customers, pros and take the bull by the horn with certain employees.  Some good people work there but some are just spread way too thin and not paying attention to detail at a critical stage in the company’s development.  Needless to say, the doftware is a total abortion and unacceptable on so many levels.  They 100% need a Plan B which means acquiring [and/or] leasing new software to survive.”

Dorfman, who later sent nastygrams to the PFA poster who forwarded his Facebook slam to that site, may not fully understand the nature of social media, though it’s for sure he’s no longer part of the Team U lineup.  A fourth Team U member, Gavin Griffin, may also have quietly departed, though that remains unconfirmed.  The most recent iteration of Ultimate Poker’s “Team U” page shows nine sponsored pros, led by Antonio Esfandiari and including such stars as Phil Colliuns and Jason Somerville.

The turmoil surrounding what may be the defection of nearly a third of its sponsored-pro roster isn’t the only hiccup Ultimate Poker has experienced in recent days.  Both Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com, the other Nevada site which has officially opened its doors, were affected by planned (but announced) network maintenance by cellular network AT&T on both October 21st and 23rd.  That maintenance disrupted both sites’ geolocation tracking capabilities, which in turn disrupted play on the sites, since by law online players have to be tracked and must be physically within Nevada’s borders while playing.

It wasn’t all bad press for Ultimate in recent days, however: The site announced that is has added Omaha to its offerings, adding a welcome mix to its previous hold’em-only selection… which wasn’t too much of a selection at that.


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