With the fallout of Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth’s exodus from the Mac-friendly UB.com just starting to alter the landscape of the online poker industry, I couldn’t help but begin to think that there’s a real opportunity for UB.com to grab a handful of players for their roster. Invariably, I am sure I’ll miss some names on this list, but here are some of the people I thought UB.com would be interested in.
Tom Marchese – This is the first name that popped into my mind. How often does a CardPlayer Player of the Year winner go un-sponsored even after getting the award? You would have thought that PokerStars would have nabbed him already, but he’s pretty much the top free agent in terms of a player deserving of a sponsorship. He’s a great player, on the rise, and is definitely marketable. He really should be priority number one on UB.com’s list.
Dwyte Pilgrim – It wasn’t hard to think of Pilgrim’s name right after Marchese since he finished in second in the CardPlayer Player of the Year point totals for 2010. He’s a good player who has paid his dues and finally broke through for a very successful 2010 on the live tournament circuit. The issue here is that he’s not known in the world of online poker, but if UB.com is looking to sign a guy who could go deep in live televised tournaments, Pilgrim might be someone you could get cheaply now and receive a great ROI from in the future.
Johnny Chan – He’s had his own site that is now gone, but we’re not totally sure what his status is at the moment. Chan is a poker icon who could fill the shoes of Duke or Hellmuth in terms of being “the face” of the site. There’s the question about him playing online poker (he isn’t known for it) as well as his desire for the publicity.
Daniel Alaei – Another great live poker pro who has three WSOP bracelets and a WPT title to his name, he could be one of the big names if UB.com invested in him. He’s a solid cash game and tournament player, which makes him a good investment.
Shawn Buchanan – Here’s a guy who did very well in the live tournament scene and also has online roots. Buchanan is a great “Everyday Joe” who a lot of people admire for his combination of poker skills and friendly demeanor. He’ll remind you a lot of Jason Senti and is someone who we expect to have more deep runs in 2011.
Aaron Jones – Jones is a bit of a legend in online cash game circles and has invested a lot of his time with LeggoPoker, one of the top training sites in the business. It seems like a great marriage here for UB.com to team up with Jones to add a huge cash game player to their roster and potentially tie in a training site, much like Full Tilt Poker has done with CardRunners.
Jay Rosenkrantz – Although we haven’t seen Rosenkrantz at the tables as much as we used to, he is a big name in the world of online poker and, for the most part, is universally respected. He has a huge following thanks to his various efforts in movie and television productions as well as his work at DeucesCracked. He’s a good guy who would be similar to Joe Sebok.
Faraz Jaka – He was a finalist to be one of the DoylesRoom Brunson 10 and fell short, but regardless, Jaka is definitely one of the breakout stars of 2010. He’s a great guy who is young and a lot of fun on camera, meaning that he could be a solid player with a friendly demeanor for the site to grab.