Is the Writing on the Wall for Ultimate Poker?
"If you make sure you're connected. The writing's on the wall. But if your mind's neglected. Stumble you might fall. Stumble you might fall."
Stereo MC's popular song might explain some of the upheaval going on over at Ultimate Gaming in Las Vegas. As we all know, the company pulled out of the New Jersey market last week citing the Trump Taj bankruptcy.
I won't go in depth on my thoughts on that move, but the cliff notes are that the company was dead least in revenue and PokerStars was coming. They couldn't compete with that and abandoned ship.
What's more interesting has been some of the moves made since that pullout. These are the personnel confirmed or rumored to be leaving the company:
Todd Korbin - Chief Marketing Officer
Scott Yeates - Director of Poker Operations
Chris Danek - Poker Product Manager
Jason Sommervile - UP Pro and Host of RunItUP Youtube show
Details are incomplete at this time so we don't know whether they were let go or left the company on their own volition. However, this does bring up the question of "is the writing on the wall for Ultimate Poker?"
I've been through the layoff process with several companies in the IT world and a couple in the poker world. All tend to have a few key similarities. Here are a few:
â¢ Corporate communication drops off noticeably or has a high amount of spin
â¢ Key personnel start to leave the company or transfer to other "safe divisions"
â¢ The best and brightest of the workers start transferring out
When these patterns begin, it is usually just a matter of time before layoffs or a merger occurs within said company. In the terms of IT, that can also mean outsourcing of divisions.
When I worked with OnGame prior to the bwin merger, these signs started popping up and then the merger was announced. My role was safe with the company for a while but as the sale of OnGame approached, the above signs and more started cropping up. I actually called my contract termination date with the company within two weeks of it happening.
Now, I am not saying that Ultimate Poker is getting ready to shut down but I think we can agree something is up. It could be a merger. It could be a significant downsizing to rebound from the NJ loss.
From past experience, I believe that we will find out something one way or another within the next 30 to 60 days. It is amazing the number of times I have seen layoffs or mergers announced around the holidays.
The writing is on the wall. We just have to wait until we can see it a bit clearly.