Zynga executive overseeing key poker game departs

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Zynga Inc'sexecutive overseeing its key poker game has quit, hitting thegamemaker in a particularly vulnerable spot as it struggles witha steady employee exodus and falling revenue.

The exit of former Zynga Poker General Manager Laurence "Lo"Toney, announced on Toney's LinkedIn profile on Monday andconfirmed by AllThingsD, comes as the company has been talkingup real-money gambling as a growth opportunity worth billions ofdollars in annual revenue.

Zynga still boasts the world's most popular poker game, evenas its revenue has drooped with the flight of users from casualFacebook games such as FarmVille and CityVille.

The poker game features virtual chips and generates afraction of the revenue for Zynga that a real-money versionwould make, but laws prohibiting interstate gambling and U.S.regulatory hurdles have bogged down the company's efforts to tapinto a revenue stream it badly needs.

Zynga's stock has fallen more than 70 percent this year fromits December IPO price of $10. It closed at $2.43 on Monday.

Toney, a Zynga employee since March 2010, told AllThingsDthat he has no immediate plans after Zynga.

Other recent Zynga departures include Chief OperatingOfficer John Schappert, Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu andChief Marketing Officer Jeff Karp.

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

((Gerry.Shih@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 415 515 1698))