Last week, online poker room UB.com announced that its signature live poker tournament, the Aruba Poker Classic, will not be held this year.  It is not necessarily gone for good, but rather put “on hold,” according to a statement released on UB.com’s website.
The Aruba Poker Classic had run for eight years, with Finland’s Juha Helppi winning the first one in 2002.  Other past winners include Erick Lindgren, Eric Brenes, Freddy Deeb, Devon Miller, Travis “TravestyFund” Rice, Matt Brady and Brandon “AreTheseUtz” Hall.  Originally called the Ultimate Bet Poker Classic and then the UltimateBet.com Poker Classic before changing its name to the UltimateBet Aruba Poker Classic, the competition was a part of the World Poker Tour from 2002 through 2005.  Its popularity peaked in 2005, its final year on the World Poker Tour, when 647 players participated in the $5,000 + $200 No-Limit Hold’em Championship event.  Freddy Deeb placed first, winning $1 million.
In the UB.com statement, Paul Leggett, Chief Operating Officer of Tokwiro, the owner of both UB.com Absolute Poker, said, “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.”
One of the new events in the works is not really new at all.  Instead, UB.com plans to run the UB Online Championship (UBOC) twice per year instead of just once.  UBOC4 was held in January and featured 18 events with close to $4 million in guaranteed prize pools.  The UBOC was designed to compete with PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), which runs once a year, which will be in its 9th year this year, and Full Tilt’s quarterly Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS), which just held its 15th running.
UB.com also plans on creating a monthly $500,000 guaranteed prize pool tournament with the goal of building it into a $1 million tourney, creating more “pro-related competitions,” and strengthening the site’s presence at live events.
The online poker room has already gotten its new offerings rolling with Second Sundays, a tournament held on the second Sunday of each month designed to benefit charity.  The first $10 buy-in tournament was held yesterday, with the proceeds going directly to the San Antonio AIDS Foundation.  The prize pool for the event consisted of $1,075 in tournament entries, as well as a bonus prize of Monster Jamz earphones for the winner.  Everyone who finished out of the money will get to compete in freeroll today in which the top five finishers will all receive a $200 + $15 entry into next Sunday’s $200,000 guaranteed tourney at UB.com.
Annie Duke, a member of Team UB and one of the poker community’s foremost proponents of charitable giving, said of Second Sundays, “UB is a global community. Its members have been very generous and supportive of charitable efforts in the past. This grassroots movement could mobilize more people to join our community in order to effectively make a difference.”

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