It’s been several months now since both the online poker rooms, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, scandals broke around the same time. The scandals involving situations where certain players could read the hole cards of others gave both sites a bad name in the online poker world. Plus it forever tarnished the reputation of former UB owner and 1994 WSOP champion Russ Hamilton.
With the scandals in the past, both sites will look to move forward tomorrow when their new network – CEREUS – launches tomorrow. CEREUS will merge the players from both sites together in attempt to help the two rooms grow and also to help restore the names of both places. But the question for anyone who has been paying attention to the situation has to be: will the move really change the views people have of these rooms?
Now sure there will be some players getting reimbursed for what happened before – especially on the UB side where Excapsa is supposed to pay the new UB owners in Tokwiro $15 million so they can refund the affected players. But really, how exactly will they know who all was affected by the hole card scandal and who should really get their money back? What’s more, will anyone who’s heard about the scandal feel safe depositing their money with either room – even if they are joined by a fancy network?
In my opinion, the move may help both rooms with people who were oblivious to the scandals, but it is unlikely to draw people in who’ve heard about the scandals. It is especially unlikely to draw anyone back who was actually affected by the scandals. I just don’t think that you can merge two losers together and create a winner. But the people at CEREUS are certainly hoping you can and are banking the future of two sites that you can.