After three successful years at the helm of the poker’s most prestigious event, Jeffery Pollack has announced that he is stepping down as the Commissioner of the World Series of Poker. Under his aegis the WSOP has grown dramatically and Pollack has become a popular figure in the poker community. His departure from Harrah’s appears to have been amicable, with the experienced sports mogul set to “explore new business challenges.”
Over Pollack’s 4 series, the WSOP has undergone some huge changes. Almost all of his gambles have paid off; even the controversial introduction of the November Nine has proven to be a good move for the game. Among the other innovations Pollack has overseen are, the invention of the Player’s Advisory Council, the $50,0000 H.O.R.S.E. event, the WSOP Europe, and the growth of Ante Up For Africa. He also turned his media-savvy hand to increasing the TV presence of the WSOP. One of his last acts as Commissioner was to ink a 7-year broadcast deal with ESPN.
Although he had never played a poker tournament before taking on the role, Pollack had an impressive sporting CV. He is the former NASCAR Managing Director and NBA Vice President. Although he originally joined Harrah’s as Marketing Vice President in 2006, he was quickly promoted to the role he has made his own. So much his own in fact, that Harrah’s have announced that they have “no intention at this time to replace the Commissioner role.” Some had picked Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment head and former PartyGaming CEO Mitch Garber as a likely replacement, but it seems like it will be some time before anyone arrives to fill Jeffery’s shoes.
Pollack was a firm believer in the power of modern social media and was active on Twitter, blogs, and vlogs. Many poker fans first heard of his departure via their twitter feeds. “It’s true…..Today is my last day as your #WSOP Commissioner….,” he wrote earlier today. Sadly, the account now appears to have been deactivated. Twitter has also been the medium for a general outpouring of affection for Pollack. Both seasoned pros and media-types have been united in their praise for the outgoing Commissioner. “Jeffrey Pollack was a terrific WSOP Comissioner, and he is a fair and reasonable man,” tweeted Phil Hellmuth just moments ago. “I’d like to publicly thank him for allowing me the artistic freedom to cover the WSOP in my way,” said talented poker blogger Dr. Pauly, adding that, “There will only be one Commish in poker and that’s Jeffrey Pollack.”
Some people have speculated that a more lucrative offer provided the motive for his departure. However, he has claimed that, “I’ve achieved everything I set out to do and more.” Pollack publicly stated that he would always be a, “friend to poker,” and hinted that, “maybe [he’ll] even play the main event next year.” The WSOP released their own statement, in which they echoed the glowing praise arriving from all corners of the poker world. “We appreciate Jeffrey’s contributions over the past four years and wish him the best in the future. The World Series of Poker remains the market leader with this year’s tournament exceeding all expectations, and we are well positioned for the future.”