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An Epic Letdown?

Epic Poker Failure, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a lack of success.” Well, the Epic Poker League hosted three very successful events -- just ask the players, the staff, and the media members present -- prior to Wednesday’s news that Federated Sports + Gaming filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Do those three events alone make the venture successful? No, two events are still to be played, but we shouldn’t label the EPL a failure just yet. While the vast majority of the poker world is certain that the EPL will never run another event, Matt Glantz -- who recently told players...

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Regardless of intent, a lie is a lie. Duke, Pollack and others should offer up every cent they personally pocketed in this venture to the players who trusted them. They should at least get their buy-ins back if and when EPL fails.


Great post Ryan. Couldn't agree more.


Very well written, Rich. I agree with everything you say and couldn't have said it any better than myself.


Epic was an organization oriented towards the top players only, dependent on sponsorship to survive. It did not have a grass roots component to include regular poker players in its business model. Epic could not get that sponsorship. The blame is not completely Epic but can be laid squarely at the doorstep of the U.S. DOJ for creating a poisonous poker sponsorship environment.

Epic reorganizing buys time and the smartest result will be a strategic alliance with a serious poker organization outside of the U.S. where Epic has a chance of flourishing. The term "Poker Prohibition" seems out of line but think about the events for the past few years. Objectively that is precisely what is happening in the U.S. and Epic should reorganize out of the U.S. and run the next few slated events in Europe.

I sincerely hope that B&M poker numbers will not start slipping in the U.S. but if the DOJ keeps up this crusade against poker players, a year from now it could well happen while the rest of the world basks in the glow of the Poker Boom that started in the United States.

While not "blaming" Epic for failure, nevertheless the "responsibility" for launching a sustainable and successful business belongs to the founders.

Would top-tier golf or tennis tournaments with deep sponsorship occur if the DOJ was closing tennis or golf organizations in the U.S. to such an extent that the top tennis stars or golfing pros emigrated out of the U.S. to play tennis or golf? Of course not and yet this is exactly what is happening to poker in the U.S.

This is why I feel that Epic should reorganize in Malta and partner with a strong European poker partner that does not have to deal with the U.S. DOJ "Poker Prohibition". There is no significant poker sponsorship cash in the U.S. while the DOJ is out determined to turn the U.S. - the birthplace of poker - into a poker backwater.

"The lucky player is usually the player that knows how much to leave to chance."


100% agree. Well said.


jdb74 wrote

Regardless of intent, a lie is a lie. Duke, Pollack and others should offer up every cent they personally pocketed in this venture to the players who trusted them. They should at least get their buy-ins back if and when EPL fails.

You might want to re-check the definition of "lie."


That's an interesting take on the EPIC bankruptcy filing and situation Rich. But I couldn't disagree with you more.

"We should be rooting for the EPL, not against it. ...Was the business plan flawed? Absolutely. ...if the EPL fails, we all lose." - Rich Ryan

This is bass ackwards reasoning, and a disappointing POKERnews editorial.

First, Chapter 11 was intended as an aid, or rescue net, to help proven businesses that have lost their way due to changing market conditions, and unforeseen circumstances. That EPIC files Chapter 11 during it's very first year is a testament to poor, and/or arrogant planning and mismanagement. Your argument in support of EPIC, was absent of any stipulation involving the replacement of EPIC's management, that brought the company to this point. Are you saying, EPIC deserves support without meaningful (or any) management change, and if you feel change should occur, why didn't you offer that in your opinion?

"When the public sees that another poker company has filed for bankruptcy, they become wearier of accepting our game." - Rich Ryan So you're saying we should support EPIC if we want to make poker look good? C'mon man. If an Annie Duke's business fails, that's on her - not all of Poker, as your argument implies. true that all poker players are stakeholders in the industry. But you're jumping the gun in presuming that EPIC has already established itself as a cornerstone, or institution in Poker - this is just NOT the case.

The fact is, EPIC could have thrived if it started more slowly and grew at a nominal rate, and as the market demanded. But Annie Duke and Co. took a 'ROCK STAR' approach to starting this business, and made promises that it had to know would be difficult to keep. In fact, isn't this the same (leveraging) approach that FullTilt took in it's business? Now you're cheerleading for a company that started at an awkward time, that demonstrated arrogance and mismanagement in it's activities, that continues making promises it can't keep, who's ethical standards have been challenged from day one, ...should I go on?

"...before we start bashing (Annie) because she was on Celebrity Apprentice or because she has a beef with Daniel Negreanu, let’s ask ourselves this: Did she and Jeffrey Pollack form the EPL with malicious intent"? -Rich Ryan
It doesn't matter if it was malicious intent, arrogance, or stupidity. Bailouts aren't justifiable in any industry based on speculation. And so far, that's all EPIC has offered - a speculative proposition managed by a controversial personality. And POKERnews is encouraging readers to get behind EPIC?

I'm not a pessimist or a troll. But I'm not a sellout either. I believe that those in positions of influence in Poker should be very careful when taking stances on things that can shape the Industry. Such a responsibility taken lightly, can hurt poker far more than allowing one, new company, to find it's own way out of the corner it painted itself into.


Interesting thoughts, Percival.

I agree with R. Ryan that poker as a whole should be rooting for the EPL to succeed. I'm not necessarily saying we should root for the current EPL, but the idea behind the EPL is exactly something poker needs. It needs a league similar to that of the PGA in golf and will really help our industry if something like could take off. Of course, the EPL has failed to do that so far, but there is still hope for recovery (albeit slim).

In your second response, I think you're failing to think about the common poker fan. Common fans don't know everything we do, they simply know what's on the surface. Right now, the surface of poker is a very rough and rocky one. Seeing another big poker venture collapse looks extremely bad for poker. The common poker fan may know about the EPL, watch it on TV, recognize the faces in the game, but when they hear it fell through and the company filed for bankruptcy, it's going to fall under a dark light. Yes, they may be the cause of bad management and very, very lofty expectations for a start-up venture, but common fans of the game (and the regular person for that matter) only see this as another thing that poker can't get right.

I 100% agree with you that the EPL should have started much slower and grow over time. Probably the biggest mistake was diving into this thing full force as if they have been in business for years and years with plenty of top investing companies and sponsors behind it. That wasn't the case and should have called for growth year upon year. It's sad to see that this decision wasn't made and unfortunately the EPL is now paying for it, as our many others affected.

You make excellent points and rebuttals and I'm not going to side one way or another. Personally, I'm behind the EPL as an idea. Yes, the business plan was flawed from the start without major sponsors pumping money to cover the costs and guarantees. Yes, poor decisions were made in year one of the league. And yes, poker needs a PGA-like league where the best of the best are forced to qualify in order to take place in these prestigious events and reap the benefits.

All in all, maybe the current demise of the EPL turns out to be a good thing for poker in the long haul. Another venture can see exactly what was done wrong and what not to do when former a league like this before taking the appropriate steps to move towards fulfilling the idea the EPL brings to the table.

From a player's perspective, I, too, would have played every event in order to get my hands on everything the EPL was given out as "freebies" and that includes the $400,000 in added money to each event. I'm surprised that given all the chatter going around since day one about the EPL being unable to sustain itself that the players didn't bring this up, especially the more business-minded ones. Sure, it's in their benefit to be quiet and get all they can, but it's also better for this to happen long term, which may mean talking some sense into the EPL during its first season.



If the EPL fails, what do we gain?


I think Flintsword hit the nail on the head for the most part Epic Poker was geared to the top 1% of the poker world , did not have grassroots support from the bottom up. Epic Poker while an intriguing idea was implemented at a bad time right around the time the United States Government through both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security started waging its war on poker and poker players. But if Epic fails it cannot be totally blamed on the US Government. True we have Poker Prohibition going on which is sure to scare off more and more players in the long run and yes brick and mortar casinos will start seeing diminishing returns and poker rooms and the jobs associated with it will start to disappear and be replaced by slot machines. Part of the blame will have to go to the players especially the big name pros who have not rallied for grass roots support to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. I do not see the Poker Players Alliance pushing for repeal and I am very surprised that the poker community has not harvested the Political will or energy of the Occupy Movement when Occupy of all things fits into the Poker Prohibition narrative very well. I believe we ought to have an Occupy Poker Movement which will would be an organization of poker players built from the ground up of ordinary poker players not poker pros or stars who will fight to end Poker Prohibition by fighting to repeal the UIGEA and legalization and licensing of internet poker as well as recognition of poker as sport like it is in many European countries. The and perhaps after that we can work to rebuild the poker community from the ground up and create Professional Poker Federation and a business model that will be successful for years to come fighting one small battle in the Governments War on the American people)

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SantanaBandana wrote


If the EPL fails, what do we gain?

I'm not cheering about the EPL's predicament - good on them if they do bounce back. But there are things about the EPL that just didn't add up from the start. It's a for-profit business who's founder, half of the poker world doesn't even trust. And that FS&G is filing for bankruptcy protection within it's first year makes me less supportive of it, not more.

and this:
"All in all, maybe the current demise of the EPL turns out to be a good thing for poker in the long haul. Another venture can see exactly what was done wrong and what not to do when former a league like this before taking the appropriate steps to move towards fulfilling the idea the EPL brings to the table". - Don Peters

Yes, this ^^^ !!


Epic was a joke. Let's face it. It's just Annie Duke trying to get famous but, this time Matt Glantz has jumped on her coat-tails which, is not shocking because he is doing the samething to Daniel. Now, Glantz, after giving his two cents worth everywhere seems to be backing out of Epic (when it goes down)..saying, that he had nothing to do with it except trying to make it good for poker??? What? He has shoved this down our throats about epic and FTP. In both cases of his intrusion he has no authority of any kind at any company. I don't think a there is a poker player alive that cares about Matt Glantz imput at this point. Where is Annie Duke on this? Where is her blog?


Maybe the Tapie group will buy


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