Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UltimateBet and Absolute Poker to Launch CEREUS in Attempt to Bring Back Credibility To Cheat-Victimized Sites and Bad-Beat Jackpots

The long-awaited CEREUS network will officially launch on Tuesday, combining the player bases of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker into one large pool. Members will likely remain playing on each individual online poker room. However, when they log on, patrons of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker will experience inflated traffic and an increased Bad Beat Jackpot. The launch of CEREUS was officially announced in July, just before the investigation into the cheating scandal at UltimateBet was completed. In addition, Tokwiro, which is the parent company of both UB and AP, recently won a $15 million judgment against the former owners of UB and used the money to refund players.

The July press release from UltimateBet explains why its customers will look forward to the launch of CEREUS: “CEREUS is the result of more than 12 months innovation and development. What does it mean for UB players? As part of the network, UltimateBet will retain all the unique assets that create the ultimate poker experience, but we will share more players, more action, more tournaments, and add incredible new features.”

In addition to increased player traffic as a result of customers from each site merging into one network, CEREUS will offer a much larger Bad Beat Jackpot for its poker customers. On Ultimate Bet, it currently stands at just over $287,000 and is growing minute by minute. It was last hit on November 17th for $200,000. On Absolute Poker, it was last hit on November 10th by MOKIEHUSKY, whose quad tens went down in flames, triggering the jackpot of $44,389. PocketFives.com has learned that the Bad Beat Jackpot may actually double in size when the CEREUS network is launched on Tuesday.

Ultimate Bet’s team of Star Players includes PocketFiver Cliff JohnnyBax Josephy, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and 27th player on the PocketFives.com Online Poker Rankings. Also a member of the Star Players Team is Jim P0KERPR033 Campbell, the number eight ranked player on PocketFives.com. His second place finish in a $300 rebuy event during the ninth Full Tilt Online Poker Series was worth $157,000. Joining the squad in October was Adam Roothlus Levy, who made a deep run and finished 48th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event for $135,100.

It’s unknown exactly how the development of CEREUS will affect the guaranteed tournament schedule on UltimateBet and Absolute. PocketFivers went 1-2 in the UB $200,000 Guaranteed tournament this weekend, as irishgirl08 emerged victorious from the pack of 873 entrants en route to a $45,000 payday. Heads-up, irishgirl08 defeated yellowhat, who pocketed $27,000 for second place. Coming in sixth was mgerman23, who won $9,000, and rounding out the PocketFives.com contingent in the $200K Guaranteed on UB was ultimatekaos, who finished in eighth place for $5,000. The tournament has a $215 buy-in.

World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup IV winner Mike SirWatts Watson took fourth in the $150,000 Guaranteed on Absolute Poker, which is a $530 buy-in tournament that takes place every Saturday. Watson pocketed $12,000 for his efforts. Also reaching the final table of the $150K Guaranteed was o11pokerdr, who took sixth place and cashed for $6,750. The tournament is one of the few major events held on Saturday, as opposed to a Sunday affair like the $200K Guaranteed on UltimateBet and the Sunday Million on PokerStars.

Absolute Poker is also in the midst of running Gizmo freerolls, which are 2,500 point buy-in events that give away prizes like a Touchsmart PC, a Sony Portable DVD Player, poker chipsets, and Absolute Poker gear. The next Main Event takes place this Friday, November 28th at 8:00pm ET and a full satellite system is in place.

Three weeks ago, Ultimate Bet’s parent company, Tokwiro, won a judgment against the online poker room’s former owners, Excapsa, in the amount of $15 million. A press release available on UB’s site states, “Excapsa will pay US$15 million to Blast-Off Ltd., the Tokwiro-controlled company that originally acquired UltimateBet. This payment will be used immediately to refund players who were affected by the cheating scandal that Tokwiro inherited when it purchased the business from Excapsa.” It appears that the delay in launching CEREUS after its announcement in July may have been due to the ongoing legal proceedings, which were conducted in a Canadian court room.

UltimateBet is slated to distribute a press release about the launch of CEREUS this afternoon and we’ll bring you more details as we get them.