The holidays have been anything but slow for the online poker world. During the week in between Christmas and New Years, UB.com saw its two highest profile pros, reigning National Heads-Up Championship winner Annie Duke and 11-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, part ways with the site. Now, just a week later, poker bad boy and bracelet winner Prahlad Friedman has joined Team UB.com.
The reaction has been mixed from the poker community since Friedman’s signing was announced on Thursday. The 32 year old responded via Twitter, “Many of you have tough and fair questions. I understand and you’ll get many answers in the coming interviews I’m doing. Peace.” One poster on the TwoPlusTwo online poker forum asserted, “I always liked Prahald and still do. But he had to know that he would be crucified for this. Must be a lot of money.”
Friedman was a victim of the Russ Hamilton-led cheating scandal that stole millions of dollars from UB.com players. Therefore, Friedman signing with the site that wronged him seemingly speaks volumes about its new management. A TwoPlusTwo member explained, “It makes sense in a way from a PR point of view. If the guy who got cheated the most can forgive and forget, then why can’t others? That’s the message UB is trying to get across.”
Fellow UB.com pro and former “Amazing Race” contestant Maria Ho, who was in Fiji on Thursday, welcomed Friedman to the UB.com family via Twitter: “Happy and excited to welcome @PrahladFriedman with open arms as the latest member of Team UB! Nothing but love for the guy.” Friedman responded, “Thanks Maria! Great to be part of a team. Poker is so individual, but not anymore! Let’s get up on a track soon.” Friedman joins a stable of sponsored pros that includes Ho, Tiffany Michelle, Joe Sebok, Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin, and Adam “Roothlus” Levy.
Friedman is known for his cash game prowess and has also solidified his name on the live tournament circuit. His lone WSOP bracelet came in 2003, when he took down a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament whose in the money finishers included the likes of John Juanda, Mel Judah, Bill Gazes, and Chris Bjorin.
He wasn’t done there, however. In 2005, Friedman was the runner-up to Chris Ferguson in the WSOP Circuit Championship at Harrah’s Rincon, where he banked $363,000. One year later, he made a splash in the WSOP Main Event, driving deep to a 20th place finish for another $494,000. Along the way in that event, Friedman sparred with Jeffrey Lisandro over a missed ante bet, a run-in that ended with violence being threatened.
Friedman is perhaps known for winning the Legends of Poker, a World Poker Tour (WPT) event, in late 2009. He banked over $1 million for his impressive finish in the $10,000 buy-in tournament and outlasted WSOP November Nine member Kevin Schaffel heads-up. All told, he’s made the money in seven WPT tournaments during his career, but has only cracked the top 10 once.
UB.com is gearing up for the sixth cycle of its popular UB.com Online Championship, or UBOC. The festivities begin on January 16th with the first three of 29 events. Two weeks later, the $1,050 buy-in Championship Event will pan out and distribute a prize pool of at least $1 million. Also running on UB.com is a smaller version of the UBOC series dubbed Mini UBOC, which offers the same slate of events at smaller buy-ins.
Click over to UB.com today for more details and to play with Prahlad Friedman.