After maintaining a “radio silence” after the signing of a new ambassador and the resulting controversies that has resulted from it, GGPoker has finally responded on a multitude of issues. In one situation, it blames the female in the case for the issues that have arisen and, in another, it continues to back their ambassador despite comments that would get someone dismissed from any position in the normal world.
GGPoker Upholds Kade Affiliate Dismissal as “Not Abiding By T&Cs”
One of the controversies was the move by GGPoker itself in dismissing Vanessa Kade from their roster of affiliates for the site. Kade is a longtime advocate for women’s rights in the poker community and she had been unabashedly against many of the actions of GGPoker. Kade stated that the affiliate revenue was bringing in a “couple thousand” a month, the type of money that you notice when it is not there anymore.
In a statement on the issue released to Twitter, GGPoker stated that Kade (they never mention her name, simply rudely referring to her as “a former partner”) “violated our terms and conditions” without actually saying WHAT “terms and conditions” were violated. GGPoker also says that these violations occurred over a three-month period and that “we have 1000 affiliates who are following our rules.” They also do not indicate whether there was any attempt at discussing the situation with Kade before terminating her affiliate deal.
After that, the GGPoker statement becomes more ludicrous. The statement says that GGPoker is “doing our best” to address “inclusivity in poker…(and) these efforts are genuine.” The site recently announced the addition of a female Omaha player, Sasha Liu, to their roster, in fact the first woman they have added to their GGPoker “ambassadors” roster. But, even with this addition (Liu is not prominently featured on anything other than being with the “Omaha Squad“), GGPoker’s outreach to female players has been nonexistent.
GGPoker then addresses, rather lamely, the addition of Dan Bilzerian to the roster of “ambassadors.” They excused his statement towards Kade as a “response to being attacked” and that they could not control such statements from someone who hasn’t even performed an “ambassadorial” act for the site. “We have tried to move forward in positive ways since then. We will continue to do so,” their statement said.
Controversy Opens Old Wounds on Misogyny in Poker
To say the least, GGPoker has opened the old wounds on misogyny in poker. In the last World Series of Poker in 2019, it was revealed that only 3% of the playing field was female. Online, it is basically a 50/50 split between men and women. So why are women staying away from the game? The precise misogyny that GGPoker continues to allow to reign.
For decades if not more than a century, women were not “accepted” at the tables. Women who did venture to the felt had to change their demeanors – becoming more “manly” to be able to “hang with the boys” – rather than the men adjusting their behaviors to accommodate women. It is a base fact that the World Series of Poker’s Ladies’ Championship was developed so that the wives of players would “have something to do” while their men played in the “real game.”
As poker exploded in the late 1990s/early 2000s, this misogyny was carried on by many in the poker industry. Bodog promoted their “Bodog Girls” (strangely enough, there were no “Bodog Men”) to entice people to their site. Poker forums were rampant with the “Hottest Woman in Poker” polls and the WSOP has routinely made a major deal out of the “Last Woman Standing” (strange they do not do this for “Last British Person Standing” or some other qualifier) at the Championship Event.
The World Poker Tour was just as guilty of this misogynistic approach. For years, the WPT had the “Royal Flush Girls,” who were routinely paraded out in tight dresses and swimwear to “promote” the tournaments at their sites around the world. They were a prominent feature on many broadcasts for years, eventually joined by a “Royal Flush Guy” that at least gave the impression that they were not pushing the objectification of women theme (the WPT also changed the name of the group to the “Royal Flush Crew”).
Suggestion for Kade/Bilzerian Battle? Dump Them Both…
GGPoker would be well advised to continue their dismissal track. They have already ended their affiliate association with Kade, for dubious reasonings (WHAT was the violation?) but, if they are going to go that route, they should go the rest of the way by terminating their “ambassadorial” relationship with Bilzerian. It is not like he is recognized as a “real” poker player – he is known for putting women around him in various stages of undress, demonstrating his ammosexual prowess, and burning through unfathomable amounts of money obtained under dubious circumstances – and he has brought more “bad” press to GGPoker than advantages…that is, unless GGPoker enjoys the “bad press” because of that old axiom.