Pros lose sponsorship from online sites

Antonio Esfandiari

There will be some poker pros looking for new online homes after Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet decided to dump some of its high-profile team members.

The two poker sites are owned by Absolute Entertainment which is shifting its market plan. As a result Michael Mizrachi, Antonio Esfandiari (pictured) and Mark Seif will no longer be used to promote the sites.

"There has been a decision to reevaluate which poker professionals we work with on each brand in the future," a company official who asked not to be identified said to Casino City Times.

"But that decision was made purely on the basis of trying to protect our ability to continue to be able to offer U.S. customers the very best in online poker."

Staying on at Ultimate Bet are Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke who have been a part of the poker site since it opened. They will continue to promote the brand internationally.

Ultimate Bet will also continue to promote the Aruba Poker Classic in the United States, and Absolute Poker will focus on the Canadian market with its new spokesperson, model Serinda Swan.

The changes free up the sites to market without putting as much risk to the business, said the spokesperson. It also relieves some of the chance of pro players becoming targets for "aiding and abetting" Internet gambling in the United States.

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