By Wendeen H. Eolis
Poker Player Newspaper
December 10, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: From the Continent to the Isle of Man and across the ocean to North America, word on the street is that the latest round of musical chairs inside Poker Stars has ended with Michael Hazel, Rational Group’s CFO, taking the seat at the head of the table.

According to two PokerStars associates, Hazel who formerly worked for Microsoft Corporation on both sides of the pond has received the nod as new Chief Executive Officer of Rational Group (Poker Stars), a crown jewel in the expanding empire of Amaya Gaming.

Earlier this week, Hazel, who was hired by PokerStars before the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became law in 2006, served as Rational Group’s Chief Financial Officer at the time the Company was acquired by Amaya. He remained in this role in the first months of the acquisition, but was known to be a contender, as was Rafi Ashkenazi, the COO, for the top job at PokerStars.

An alumnus of Microsoft Corporation, Hazel worked on both sides of the pond. Hazel’s knowledge and experience in American business is viewed as a special plus, by one of the investors who notes Amaya’s efforts to penetrate into the online gaming market in America. Another highly placed financial colleague calls Hazel, “a no drama guy, who knows his stuff.” Neither of these two sources was prepared to confirm or deny Hazel’s reported promotion this past week.

Another PokerStars associate compares Hazel’s credentials against the last two non family members at the top of the pyramid of the PokerStars Scheinbergregime, saying, “Hazel’s temperament and fair mindedness as well as his bean counting credentials make him the most ideal choice since Isai Sheinberg stepped away from the operation of PokerStars.

More as this story develops…….