Both Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth leave Ultimate Bet

After nearly a decade of promoting fantastic online poker promotions and 30% rakeback deals, both Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth announced that they are leaving Ultimate Bet Poker.

So was it a fiery argument or shocking scandal that forced both Duke and Hellmuth to leave? Not in the slightest since UB is one of the most reputable poker rooms in the industry, and both players left the company amicably.

Earlier this month, we reported that Hellmuth might be leaving Ultimate Bet and those rumors were confirmed last night. The news broke when Hellmuth sent out a Twitter post that read, “Making a BIG move….leaving UB. Truly lots of great memories, but it’s time to move on…..Mutual decision…..Looking forward to BRIGHT future!”

It’s unclear what Hellmuth’s BRIGHT future includes, but ESPN’s senior poker editor Andrew Feldman speculated by writing the following:

“That said, given Hellmuth’s stature and brand, his most likely fit is either his own site, or him joining forces with the online poker site WSOP.com and becoming the official spokesperson of the brand where his name is found on top of the bracelet leaderboard. Hellmuth has too big of a personality to join a company like Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars and just become part of the team. With his ability to market himself, I’d be shocked to see Hellmuth as a No. 2 to another player on a different site.”

Duke’s decision to leave UB was made because she wants to pursue non-poker opportunities. An excerpt from her final blog post on UB read, “I’ve sincerely enjoyed wearing the UB patch, but it’s time for me to move on. So why am I leaving UB? In a nutshell, personal and professional growth. I’m going to explore and pursue other business opportunities on a full-time basis.”

Duke went on to write, “I have nothing but positive things to say about UB and my experiences with the brand, management, and the incredible people who work hard daily to deliver a terrific online poker experience.” Some of Duke’s non-poker ventures include appearing on the NBC shows 1 vs. 100, Deal or No Deal and Celebrity Apprentice. It’s unclear at this time what she plans to do now that she’s left Ultimate Bet.

What is clear is the end of an era in internet poker. Of course, Ultimate Bet is still in good hands with its young stable of pros including Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Joe Sebok, Tiffany Michelle, Eric Baldwin, Bryan Devonshire and Adam Levy. And when you offer some of the highest rakeback in online poker, you don’t need Hellmuth or Duke!

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