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Poker News: January 15th, 2011

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HEADLINE: PBR exec bets big on pro poker league

Professional Bull Riders boss Jeffrey Pollack, a former World Series of Poker commissioner, plans to keep his hand in the game.

This week, a company co-founded by him, Federated Sports & Gaming, Inc., detailed plans to create a Las Vegas-based professional poker league.

Pollack, who resides in California, will act as the poker league's chairman.

The new venture is separate from his work for Pueblo-based PBR, Pollack said.

The poker league is "a venture I've been working on for over a year — and before I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the PBR, " Pollack said in a statement released by the PBR.

"Federated is run day-to-day by two very talented co-CEOs and that fact allows me to continue my work with the PBR."

Pollack was named executive chairman of PBR's board of directors in June at the same time Sean Gleason, the PBR's chief operating officer, was elevated to the dual role of PBR president.

Gleason is based in Pueblo.

The twin management moves came after the tour's founding chief executive Randy Bernard left to become CEO of the Indy Racing League.

The yet-to-be-named poker league is planning four televised regular-season events plus a $1 million championship freeroll at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas this year, league executives said.

‘‘Membership in our league will signify standing as a true professional in poker,’’ Pollack told The Associated Press. ‘‘We’re going to apply a little more rigor to that definition.’’

Prior to taking charge of the World Series of Poker, Pollack won two sports Emmys in his role as managing director of broadcasting and new media for NASCAR Digital Entertainment. He also worked as vice president of marketing and corporate communications for the NBA.

Card professional Annie Duke will be the commissioner of a new poker league that is hoping to become the PGA of poker, defining the game’s best players and hosting invitational tournaments for only its biggest stars.

Pollack told the AP he doesn’t see the league as competition to the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour or other big poker tournaments. He said the league is about creating a new tradition — where players have to do well in many major tournaments just to get in.

‘‘There are scores of perspectives on this, and we’re trying to clarify a new perspective on professionalism in this game,’’ he said.

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on January 15th, 2011

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