News emerged yesterday morning that would have had Daniel Negreanu jumping for joy as he munched on his cornflakes. A statement was issued by “Federated Sports and Gaming” that the company had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Federated Sports and Gaming is the Epic Poker League’s parent company – run by Annie Duke among others – and as the announcement indicates, they are broke. Now I don’t claim to fully understand Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The word “bankruptcy” suggests “mortally wounded” to me but their Executive Chairman Geoffrey Pollack was trying to claim that the company wasn’t kaput just yet:
“The headline here is that we’re reorganizing, not liquidating”, he said. “We need a new start, and we’re going to hit the reset button and come at it again.”
Suffice to say they aren’t very flush right now. The last sentence in the following flannel tells you all you need to know:
“Our company needs a new start. This reorganization filing is an important first step in that direction and our goal is to keep the Epic Poker League and all of our key initiatives moving forward with a continued spirit of innovation. 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.”
So basically they are begging to be rescued in some sort of takeover.
When the Epic Poker League was launched last year, Black Friday hadn’t yet happened so they probably assumed they could rely on money from the big online sites to fund their generous overlays (up to $400k in their main events). Alas, no such luck post Black Friday.
Negreanu said from the start that this would happen. He told us on day 1 that the League wasn’t financially viable and he wouldn’t be taking part in their tournaments. Although it looked an awful lot like sour grapes because of his hatred for Annie Duke it turns out he was right all along. And I find myself 100% behind Negreanu and anyone else who has panned the League.
There’s just so much to dislike about the Epic Poker League, right down to the grandiose choice of name.
First there was the Chino Rheem incident when they got all righteous and starting making pronouncements about integrity via their Ethics Committee. Whatever – this is a company run by Annie Duke!
Then there is their Global Poker Index” ranking system, which they proclaim is so great even though there are loads of other player of the year races. Come to think there’s loads of other tours (WPT, EPT, WSOP) so there was hardly any need for the Epic Poker Tour in the first place.
And then there was the unseemly business with the disqualification of Michael Divita, whom they wrongly tried to disqualify and refuse his entry on the basis he had a 20 year old criminal conviction. Basically this is a company that tried to take the moral high ground against a convicted sex offender and ended up coming off second best.
If I was being facetious I might say that this could explain why the Epic Poker League tried to welch on paying up Michael Divitia his $18,500. Well now I can say it without any fear of sounding facetious. It’s probably true!
I just get the impression they are so up their own derrieres that even someone did come along offering to bail them out they would show no class or gratitude and fight tooth and nail to keep all their brand names.
So “ta-dah” Epic poker League and I really hope you don’t emerge in better shape after your Chapter 11. Thanks for spoiling us this past year with your “Epic-ness”. But no thanks.
I am a great believer that companies with poor managements will eventually fail. And so it has come to pass with the Epic Poker League, within a whole year.
This particular organisation asked Annie Duke to be their Commissioner, their public face. This woman took money from Ultimate Bet for years after she was aware that one of their directors was stealing money from their players (I will never tire of repeating this simple fact). And as for her brother Howard Lederer and his antics with Full Tilt, well the less said about him the better. Negreanu was right – their’s is a family of scoundrels and I bet he is boogying gleefully right now on the graves of Full Tilt and the EPL.
One final point. Apparently the reason there was no fourth main event with the EPL (as had previously been envisaged for the end of January or early February) was because players had asked for it to be postponed because it conflicted with other events. That they admit to this just confirms that their brand is less than “Epic” really.
Of course a more plausible explanation is that they didn’t have the cash. But if Annie Duke came out and announced that the company did have sufficient funds, that there was no need to worry, and that their schedule was on track.
If she came out and said all of that tomorrow….
Would you believe her?