World Series of Poker commissioner leaving post

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2009 2:47 PM

The commissioner of the World Series of Poker is leaving his post days after the series crowned its latest main event champion.

Jeffrey Pollack told The Associated Press that Friday was his last day working for the series and private casino operator Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

He had led the series since 2005, after Harrah's bought the series and moved it from Binion's Horseshoe to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino near the Las Vegas Strip.

"It's bittersweet but I'm leaving with just great memories and a really nice sense of it being a great run," Pollack said. "More than anything else, I'm just appreciative of the opportunity to have been part of the WSOP."

Under Pollack's tenure, the series added the World Series of Poker Europe and expanded its tournament offerings in Las Vegas, benefiting as the game became more popular among international players.

Series spokesman Seth Palansky said there were no immediate intentions to replace Pollack.

"We appreciate Jeffrey's contributions over the past four years and wish him the best in the future," Palansky said in a statement.

This year's world series had 57 gold bracelet events and included a Tournament of Champions, an invitational that brought together past main event winners. It was also the second year that the series delayed the main event's final table, to allow edited tape-delayed television coverage to air before the finale of the tournament unfolded.

Pollack leaves nearly six months after Harrah's announced it was forming Harrah's Interactive Entertainment, a Montreal-based subsidiary that is exploring online gambling outside the United States and managing the series. Its chief executive is Mitch Garber, a former Party Gaming CEO. Pollack was announced as the subsidiary's president in May.

Pollack, a former NASCAR managing director for broadcasting and new media and NBA vice president of marketing and communications, said he hasn't yet decided on his next move.

"I really wanted to see this year through, see this series through," Pollack said. "I'm leaving on an absolute high note."

The series finished its 40th year this week when 21-year-old Joe Cada became its youngest main event champion in history, winning $8.55 million for beating 6,493 opponents in a no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament that cost $10,000 to enter.