Jason Somerville has become one of poker’s most popular online personalities, with his “Run It Up” series dishing out entertainment and poker education in equal parts. But while that series will continue for as long as Somerville wants, he won’t be doing it under the Ultimate Poker banner anymore.
Somerville has confirmed that he will no longer be affiliated with Ultimate Poker, saying that Ultimate’s exit from New Jersey has changed the situation for the company and led to his split from the online poker brand. The announcement came on Sunday during a live “Sunday Sweat” episode of “Run It Up” (RIU), during which he said that the decision was strictly a financial one.
“There was no animosity, there was no screaming, yelling,” Somerville said. “I’m not a cheap date…I didn’t want to take whatever, so we had to do what we had to do.”
During his stream, Somerville made sure to emphasize that he was still on good terms with Ultimate Poker, and said that it’s even possible he could work with them again in the future. The planned live RIU events at the Reno Peppermill, for instance, will still feature support from Ultimate Poker.
“I’m very grateful to Ultimate Poker for everything we’ve ever done together,” Somerville said.
Rumors began to circulate late last week that the relationship between Somerville and Ultimate Poker was likely to come to an end due to the financial situation the company found itself in, particularly after their forced withdrawal from the New Jersey market. While Ultimate Poker was never successful in New Jersey, Ultimate Gaming’s casino site there did bring in significant revenue.
Run It Up to Continue as Normal
According to Somerville, the split will not cause any trouble for RIU, and Season 2 will continue as scheduled. However, Season 2 episodes are now available on Somerville’s personal YouTube channel, rather than being exclusively found on Ultimate Poker’s channel.
Somerville has been a successful tournament poker professional, having earned $3.9 million over the course of his career. That includes a World Series of Poker bracelet and a World Poker Tour final table, as well as a $1.3 million cash this summer at a $100,000 Super High Roller tournament in Las Vegas. Somerville is also well-known for being one of the first openly gay high-stakes professional poker players. He also has a long history of producing poker videos, including instructional material for the PokerVT website.
Future Uncertain for Ultimate Poker
The split between Somerville and Ultimate Poker comes at a time when the future of Ultimate Gaming is uncertain. Many key figures within Ultimate are no longer with the company, including quite a few based in Nevada. Reportedly, most of the poker operations team has left, including Chief Marketing Officer Todd Kobrin and Director of Poker Operations Scott Yeates.
Ultimate Poker was the first regulated online poker site in America, launching in Nevada in April 2013. It was also one of the first sites to launch in New Jersey when that state opened its regulated Internet gambling market in November 2013. It’s unclear if the company plans to continue long-term with a leaner staff, or if Ultimate Gaming is heading towards a shutdown, a merger, or other future possibilities.