SBD/January 18, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Duke, Pollack Pair With The Palms To Launch New Pro Poker League

Duke (l) touts opportunity for poker pros to play only against other pros
Federated Sports & Gaming (FSG) today announced an alliance with the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to showcase a new professional poker league in '11 with an initial schedule of four tournaments and one championship event. Poker player Annie Duke will serve as Commissioner of the league, which will be comprised of the world's top 200 players. The events will be rake-free and feature prize pool overlays. A proprietary ranking system will rank the top players with guidelines similar to those in golf and tennis. FSG was formed last year by PBR Exec Chair and former World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and Michael Brodsky, David Goldberg and Jeffrey Grosman, who together recently ran Youbet.com (FSG). The AP's Oskar Garcia reports the yet-to-be-named league will have television plans for its regular-season events as well as its $1M "championship freeroll at the Palms Casino Resort." Duke said, "This is the one piece that's kind of missing from the poker landscape right now, which is something for the best players in the world to compete against the best players in the world." Garcia notes other tournaments, including the WSOP, are "open events with anyone able to play if they're willing to put up pricey entry fees." Growing tournament fields "have made it impossible to guarantee showdowns between star players," and Duke said that she "hopes this league will change that by defining what it takes to become a card-carrying pro." Duke added that most league memberships "will have two-, three-, or five-year terms, with fewer than 10 lifetime cards being granted to living players who have had unparalleled success in poker." Pollack, who will serve as Chair of the league, said, "Membership in our league will signify standing as a true professional in poker. We're going to apply a little more rigor to that definition." Pollack added that he "will stay in his current post" as PBR Exec Chair (AP, 1/18).
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