Both UB Poker and Absolute Poker have been embroiled in scandal ever since 2007 when “super user” incidents on both sites permanently damaged their reputations. Former WSOP champion-turned-villain Russ Hamilton was at the center of the UB scandal, as he could reportedly see other players’ hole cards while he was playing. Since the scandal, Hamilton has been ostracized from the poker community, including an incident where he was mercilessly taunted at a live tournament until he broke down and left.
As far as Absolute goes, numerous members started getting suspicion when they were losing massive amounts of money to certain players like eventual super user “Potripper.” Nate Arem was one of the members, and he managed to break the file encryption, only to discover that frat boys/Absolute founders Scott Tom and A.J. Green were cheating with super use accounts right from the Costa Rica office!
Since these disturbing events, where the perpetrators escaped into the Costa Rican sunset, both sites have combined into the CEREUS networks, and have worked to put the incidents behind them under new management. Things were going well for a while, until the bankruptcy scare earlier this week when chief shareholder Madeira Fjord tried to file for bankruptcy protection in Norway. Was this the third and final crushing scandal at UB/Absolute, where those who had trusted the parent company, Blanca Gaming, were burned one more time in the form of non-refunded deposits?
Thank god this isn’t the case yet, as Blanca Gaming released a statement the other day that said they are both restructuring the company, and working with the US government to pay players. Apparently, the whole bankrupt fallacy arose when Fjord filed for bankruptcy because Blanca told her that there were “terminating debt payments” and the company’s relationship with her. From what I gather, she got mad after the relationship deteriorated, and filed bankruptcy protection. But you can make your own conclusions by reading the letter below:
As previously stated, Absolute Poker and UB ceased their U.S.-facing operations due to recent legal developments in the United States. The company is currently restructuring and is focusing its resources on consolidating its non-U.S., rest-of-the-world operation and software business. In order to have a more efficient and successful future business, an immediate need to downsize and streamline operations significantly at both online poker rooms has been required. Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S.-facing business.
This decision comes after considerable review and analysis of the impact that ‘Black Friday’ has had on the business as a whole. The workforce has been liquidated, and the process of rehiring approximately 20% of staff in key positions has commenced. All affected employees have been informed of this necessary restructure.
A company spokesperson said: ”We regret that we have been compelled to take these actions. We have worked tirelessly to create a truly amazing company that is filled with extraordinary people. We have always been and still remain fully committed to our employees and players. At the same time, we are confident that this restructuring will strengthen the company and its future.”
The Company spokesperson also addressed erroneous reports that Blanca has filed for bankruptcy. The apparent confusion over this issue stems from the fact that Blanca recently informed a debt holder, Madeira Fjord, that it was terminating debt payments to, and its relationship with them. As a result, Madeira Fjord apparently filed a notice of bankruptcy in Norway. This notice has no negative impact upon Blanca, the operating company, or its brands. As stated previously, Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business around the world.
For non-U.S. players, Absolute Poker and UB have increased their maximum withdrawal limits to $1000 for Visa withdrawals and $500 for all other methods. The number of transactions being processed per day has been significantly increased as well. Players are still restricted to one transaction per week, but we are working to return non-U.S. withdrawals to
normal service levels as quickly as possible.
As confirmed earlier this week, the company’s legal counsel is in continuing discussions this week with the U.S. Attorney’s office to formalize an agreement that would facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.