While Bodog's signing of young phenom Justin Bonomo made headlines this week, another change in the works was Bodog's decision to end its long-running endorsement deal with Atlanta native Josh Arieh, the two-time WSOP bracelet winner who had long been associated with the site. Though Bodog's decision to head in a new direction was sudden and unexpected, the parting was amicable.
Arieh's deal with Bodog concluded at the end of last month, and a spokesperson for Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, the Bodog brand licensee in North America, had this to say on the matter: "Bodog and Josh have mutually decided to part ways at the end of April. Josh had a great run as a member of Team Bodog over the past four years that included finishing third at the 2004 WSOP Main Event, winning his second WSOP bracelet in 2005 and a number of final-table appearances at high profile tournaments. We sincerely enjoyed our association with Josh and appreciate all that he brought to Team Bodog. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors, both at and away from the poker table."
Arieh also had fond comments about his relationship with Bodog when contacted by PokerNews. According to Josh, he has several plans in the works even if another site deal isn't immediately on the horizon. "So who knows what's next for me?" he pondered. "I feel like I am playing better than I have ever played, and I'm really not all that worried about anything other than this year's WSOP, my family and my struggling golf game! Luckily I have been smart with the money I've earned in the last five years in poker and not being sponsored won't keep me away from the tables. It was a great three-year run with Bodog. Angela (Josh's wife) and I have met a few of our closest friends through Bodog and it probably wouldn't have been possible if I weren't with them. I won the Calvin Ayre Wildcard Poker event because of my affiliation with them. I've got nothing but kind words to say about them... they were a stepping stone in my life and now I'm ready to move on to bigger and better things that I know will present themselves to me."
Josh also noted that his own new website at www.josharieh.com will be up and running before the WSOP, where he promises "a daily blog about what's going on in my life," a "good laugh" and "lots of cool poker hand breakdowns." Josh will also be competing in next week's World Series of Golf, which is scheduled to air on CBS later this summer.