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Epic Poker League's Parent Company Federated Sports + Gaming Files for Bankruptcy

Plans are to Finish the Inaugural Season at Some Point

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From Left to Right: Matt Glantz, Vanessa Selbst and Faraz Jaka compete at the EPLLos Angeles-based Federated Sports + Gaming, the parent company to the Epic Poker League, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a statement issued from Executive Chairman Jeffrey Pollack.

The EPL, which has awarded membership via a ranking system, is still in the midst of its inaugural season. Pollack said that the league plans to finish the schedule, which includes the last of four stops and a $1 million freeroll for the 27 top performers, but he doesn’t know when.

Finishing the season had already been delayed due to scheduling conflicts with other poker tours, the league said.

In order to maintain a tour card, the league has required members to play in at least one satellite event, at least one league charity event and at least one $20,000 buy-in rake-free main event each season.

Federated Sports + Gaming also runs a free-play poker game on Facebook and in the summer acquired the Heartland Poker Tour.

The league has also been led by commissioner Annie Duke, who left Ultimate Bet shortly before announcing her involvement with the new venture.

The Palms Casino Resort partnered with the league and has hosted all the events.

In his statement, Pollack, a former commissioner of the World Series of Poker, said that Federated Sports + Gaming “needs a new start.”

“This reorganization filing is an important first step in that direction and our goal is to keep the [EPL] and all of our key initiatives […] moving forward with a continued spirit of innovation,” Pollack added. “We will most likely accomplish this by entering into an agreement with another firm that shares our passion and vision -– a process we had been working toward prior to the filing.”

The EPL has made use of a committee to evaluate the “integrity in play and good personal character” of its members. However, the initiative created controversy after its first tournament, when it was alleged that champion Chino Rheem owed money to other players. He was subsequently put on probation.

In September, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson were suspended in the wake of the Full Tilt Poker scandal.

In August, outspoken poker pro Daniel Negreanu blogged about his thoughts on the league, saying he was skeptical it could survive financially unless it was able to create an online poker site in a legalized and regulated U.S. market.

The EPL has aired nationally on CBS and the Velocity network.

 
 
 
 

Comments

answer20
over 5 years ago

Uh oh ... better hide this from Daniel. Now that he is video blogging more than 'regular' blogging this will surely end up as a topic very quickly. EPL was, still is, a great idea for poker ... hopefully it will survive and thrive once a better way to fund it is found/created. Episodes that I have seen online have been excellent in my opinion and I hope for them to continue. Having to 'prove' yourself to get in makes the level of poker much higher and enjoyable to watch. I would never suggest getting rid of WSOP or WPT formats, but seeing how the pros play with few, if any, wild cards involved is nice to watch also.

 
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keeentd
over 5 years ago

Hmmm, another poker company associated with a Lederer has failed. Again, all the $$ is gone. Weird.

Annie Duke a reputable "leader" - laughable. As commissioner, she should have suspended herself for the Russ Hamilton nonsense if not the UB fiasco.

 
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Dave112
over 5 years ago

Anyone against the EP League is either against poker and/or is just a very selfish person. Pollack and Duke should be applauded for getting the concept of the League off the ground, while the last dagger was put into the heart of the 8 year poker boom on April 15, because the concept of the EP League is the ultimate evolution of poker. Thank God they pushed to get it off the ground even with little advertisers, post poker boom, because the EPL is the highest form of poker (in contrast to the donk-fest that the WSOP Main Event is).

 
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bparmalee
over 5 years ago

You don't have to be against the EPL to realize that it couldn't work. The people involved with poker have for years over estimated the public and corporate interest in the game. Even when the poker boom was at its highest they still only had a few sponsorships. Corporate America just never bought in and they are never going to buy in to poker. Without that extra revenue stream all ventures like this will fail. They have tried everything at this point..including trying to have a poker related Vegas show... and people just are not interested. Poker on TV has died and they have failed to attract the kind of viewership that might push new advertising. As far as "EPL is the highest form of poker (in contrast to the donk-fest that the WSOP Main Event is)" goes.. that's a funny line you're taking there. Without that "donkfest" there wouldn't have been a poker boom or anywhere near the interest that followed from the public. I love how "wannabe poker players" continuously insult the casual players that enjoy putting money into poker. Just like the 7-card stud players found out in the 80's.... when these players are gone =.. so was their income. So poker players might want to be a little nicer to people with actual jobs that don't need poker to pay their bills. They just enjoy playing.

 
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Dave112
over 5 years ago

Everybody loves a good donkfest, esp. when there is $9,000,000 for first place; however, having the donk-fest, that the WSOP Main Event is, be the crowning glory of the Poker universe should be unacceptable to every Poker player across the world, because what is says to the uneducated masses who do not play poker (and to the U.S. Evangelists and the U.S. law makers) is that poker is, AT IT’S HEIGHT, a wild-west put-your-money-up gambling-festival gold-rush (a.k.a., a donk-fest).

In contrast, having a poker league with only performance (non-monetary) earnable player entrance cards (minus the Godfather Doyle) it provides VISUAL PROOF (i.e., the ‘statistical earned entrance only’ card holding ONLY poker players in one room playing against each other) to the uneducated non-poker playing masses that poker IS in fact a ‘majority skill’ game (this is the hugely redeeming value of the EP League concept; and obviously this would not be the only reason as to why poker is a ‘majority skill’ game, i.e. obviously the math, bluff, et al.).

If poker is federally legalized in the next 1 to 20 years, then more sponsers like Miller Brewing Co. and Jack Links will jump on board [i.e., U.S. citizens will not be legally scared like they were from 2006 to present] and a ‘EP League concept’ will be able to thrive with corporate money for decades or more (even having publically traded poker sites and brands, the same as Partypoker being traded in the UK stock market; possibility even having an NBA style poker league with the difference being a shorter season or a PGA style league where advertisers paying most of the prizepool: the only thing missing for poker is arena-style-marketing). It’s just a matter of time in the next 50 years before we get a president that will federally legalize interstate Poker (similar to the multi-state Powerball lottery in the 1980’s) it will just be a matter of getting money hungry evangelists and money hungry state lotteries out of the way.

However, when poker is federally legalized an ‘EP League concept’ will be integral in keeping double digit IQ fools away from the thought that blackjack and poker are one in the same. Therefore, of course online poker will eventually be federally legal (just as regular casinos started in Nevada, California, and New Jersey, then moved to Indian reservations in the 90’s and are now in every state except the evangelist state of Utah).

Until poker has a “Non-Monetary Entrance: Only Statistical Performance Earnable Entrance and Expiring Entrance Card League” poker will continue to be equated with blackjack and other casino games: thus not viewed by the public and law makers as the majority skill game that it is. Yet, poker will always be gambling for those with a double digit IQ (due to their inability to grasp math, inability to achieve higher level thinking skills/concepts, and inability to separate the term ‘gamble’ from poker because blackjack is a card game and it is gambling, therefore why can’t Poker be called gambling as well [esp. due to the fact that poker is also played in a casino where of-all-things roulette exists: gasp!!!]), yet the majority of the population is double digit IQ (esp. exposed in our Jerry Springer/Kim Kardashian epoch).

 
 

bparmalee
over 5 years ago

@Dave112 As far as "Until poker has a “Non-Monetary Entrance: Only Statistical Performance Earnable Entrance and Expiring Entrance Card League” poker will continue to be equated with blackjack and other casino games: thus not viewed by the public and law makers as the majority skill game that it is." You can achieve that model but you cant enter for FREE and win a MILLION DOLLARS. So if the best players want to start a league where they compete for the "glory of seeing who the best player is" they can... they just cant expect to get paid for it. People who consider themselves "pro players" should have more respect for the people that fill up the prize pools. Without these people poker dies. Next time a really successful guy... with a real job and good life drops 5 or 10k in a poker and you hear some "reg" talking about "how terrible that guy was" or "how could he think he was good there"... think to yourself.. why chase away the very people that keep the game solvent? These people are the benefactors of poker. So you can have a tourney series that excludes these "donks" but you cant exclude them and have million dollar prize pools. The only reason people even care about poker is because they feel like they can go play with the "pros" and have a chance to win. No Moneymaker... no poker boom. RIP EPL