Poker News

The annual Aruba Poker Classic will take a leave of absence in 2010, according to officials from the USA-facing online poker site. Instead, plans to increase its presence at other live events and expand its online tournament offering.

In 2009, Brandon “AreTheseUtz” Hall defeated a field of 475 players in the Aruba Poker Classic Main Event to collect a $753,000 first place prize. The $5,500 tournament’s prize pool swelled to well over $2 million and a throng of online poker players flocked to the Radisson Aruba Resort and Casino to partake in the annual pilgrimage. Now, the tournament will be put on the shelf for 2010.

In lieu of the annual gala in paradise, will focus its efforts on expanding its live and online tournament schedules. In the virtual world, a monthly $500,000 Guaranteed is in the works. As it stands now, and its sister site, Absolute Poker, hold a weekly $200,000 Guaranteed that regularly draws over 1,000 entrants. Last week, 2008 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) winner Carter “ckingusc” King took down the contest and earned $48,000.

The Ultimate Bet Online Championship, or UBOC as it’s commonly referred to, will be expanded to run twice per year. It last appeared in January and featured two $1 million prize pool events, the first of which saw its purse grow to $1.5 million. When a second UBOC would occur is not yet clear. Full Tilt runs its Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) four times per year, while PokerStars’ WCOOP and Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) take place in September and May, respectively. The $500,000 guaranteed tournament may ultimately grow to become a $1 million event.

Tokwiro COO Paul Leggett commented in a press release on Wednesday, “It is with great regret that we are announcing that the Aruba event will not run this year, but 2010 is going to be an exciting year for UB and its players. Over the last year, we’ve been redefining the UB brand in every way. We love the Aruba Poker Classic event, but we think we can do a lot more for our players by investing in new events and rewards.” Tokwiro is the parent company of and Absolute Poker. Both sites happily accept customers from the United States. will also continue to qualify players for land-based tournaments on the World Poker Tour (WPT) as well as the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which kicks off in late May from the Rio in Las Vegas. In addition, “major WSOP incentives and additional loyalty benefits for top players” are being planned, according to the same press statement.

In 2002, Juha Helppi defeated Phil Gordon in the first ever running of the Aruba Poker Classic, which appeared as part of the WPT schedule during Season 1 in 2002. One year later, Erick Lindgren took down the $500,000 top prize in a final table that also featured Barry Shulman. During Season 3, Eric Brenes tangled with Layne Flack and came out on top for $1 million, with Mike Matusow and John Juanda also reaching the final table. In 2005, Freddy Deeb took down the Aruba Poker Classic title in the tournament’s final year as a stop on the WPT circuit.

The 2006 installment featured Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy battling heads-up against Devon Miller. The pro ultimately fell short and Miller banked $775,000. In 2007, Travis “TravestyFund” Rice emerged victorious, while Matt Brady took down the 2008 Aruba Poker Classic. Whether the tournament will reappear in 2011 remains to be seen.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on this breaking story.

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