Three months ago, 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Champion Jamie Gold signed with Merge Gaming Network site ACED Poker. Now, Poker News Daily can confirm that the two parties have severed ties.
In February, a press release hit the wires announcing that Gold, one of the most visible figures in the poker industry, had signed with the site on the USA-friendly Merge Gaming Network. Together with Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh, who is a sponsored pro of IronDuke, Gold became the main fixture of the Network, which also includes Poker Nordica, Reefer Poker, Rumble Poker, and spin32 Poker. Lisa Wheeler, who handled the public relations for the announcement of Gold’s arrival, told Poker News Daily, “It seemed more like a publicity stunt. ACED representatives were unreachable after that point. This went on for about eight weeks. We kept writing them. They came back and said they weren’t sure if they wanted to continue, so I advised Gold to pull out.”
Wheeler’s firm, GreasieWheels, which also coordinates the public relations efforts for some of the industry’s top charity poker tournaments, was hired by ACED for six months. Wheeler and company created a marketing plan for use during that time period and, when it came time to collect, Wheeler claimed the process proved difficult: “We saw nothing. They couldn’t pull themselves together financially. They made a lot of promises and jerked us around.” ACED received an eight-page spread in Bluff Magazine along with at least three press releases. The site also sponsored a special fundraiser benefiting Children Uniting Nations featuring Gold that was held after the Oscar festivities in Los Angeles. The event was co-sponsored by the Hollywood Reporter.
ACED officials turned out for the Oscar party and met with Wheeler, the last time the two parties allegedly interacted for several weeks. Recently, ACED and Jamie Gold elected to sever ties altogether. As to whether the brief stint with the Merge Gaming site would cast a dark cloud over Gold, Wheeler explained, “I’m doing everything I can personally to make sure it doesn’t. I don’t want that to happen to Jamie again, especially under these circumstances.” Wheeler told Poker News Daily that she received an e-mail from ACED over the weekend that threatened a lawsuit for slander. She then wrote on her Twitter feed, “Great. Another online poker room that makes promises and doesn’t follow up. Thanks a lot, ACED.”
According to traffic ranking site PokerScout.com, the Merge Gaming Network is the 17th largest worldwide with a seven day running average of 340 real money ring game players. It is the sixth largest site or network that accepts customers from the United States, trailing PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, the CEREUS Network, the Cake Poker Network, and Bodog. Wheeler explained that her involvement with the up and coming site was primarily due to Gold’s enthusiasm. She told Poker News Daily, “Jamie is always good for his word. I wouldn’t have jumped onboard so quickly if it wouldn’t have been for him.”
ACED Poker Room Manager Brandon Berndt told Poker News Daily, “This whole situation is really getting blown out of proportion. It is true that unfortunately things didn’t work out with Jamie, but that’s about the only thing that has been reported correctly. A lot of things are being said by one person, who happens not to be Jamie Gold, that carry no water.” In terms of allegedly inaccurate statements, Berndt explained, “We never once said that we didn’t want to continue; that came from Jamie’s camp first. I am going to refrain from going into anything more at this time, as we would like to settle this in-house with Jamie, as it should be.”
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest.