Epic, Heartland poker league companies in bankruptcy

Epic Poker League

The Epic Poker League at the Palms.

The company that owns the Epic Poker League, an alternative to the World Series of Poker, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization on Tuesday in Maryland.

Also filing for bankruptcy was a sister company that owns the Heartland Poker Tour.

The initial court filings by Epic owner Federated Sports & Gaming Inc. and Heartland owner Federated Heartland Inc., both of Chevy Chase, Md., didn’t include detailed financial information.

The filings did say the firm’s estimated assets and liabilities are in the $1 million to $10 million range.

Federated Executive Chairman Jeffrey Pollack said in a note on the Epic Poker website that the company needs a new start.

He said the company intends to complete the league’s Season One, though the timing of some events hasn’t been nailed down.

Poker pro Annie Duke and Pollack, a former World Series of Poker commissioner, said they started the Epic league in hopes that it would attract big-name card players and turn into poker’s version of the PGA Tour.

Epic launched its tournaments last year at the Palms in Las Vegas.

In papers filed Tuesday in bankruptcy court in Greenbelt, Md., attorneys for Federated Sports and Federated Heartland said they had 22 employees, about $15,000 in cash on hand and receivables of about $115,000.

Records show a key creditor is casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., of Las Vegas, owed $2 million for a loan to the companies.

Another $1.966 million is owed to a company called All In Production LLP, of Fargo, N.D.

The Federated companies said in court papers that besides its Epic Poker League that features televised tournaments, Federated Sports has interactive digital programming and social media gaming.

Heartland’s website indicates it’s been holding events in casinos and poker rooms around the country and has an event scheduled at the Palms in April.

Attorneys for the companies said in court papers the bankruptcies were filed "to prevent the potential piecemeal liquidation of debtors’ assets."

"The debtors anticipate selling substantially all of their assets, or an equity interest, in order to reorganize. Prior to the (bankruptcy) petition date, the debtors engaged in substantial negotiations with several prospective purchasers,'' the attorneys said in the papers. "These efforts are continuing."



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