Poker news | Apr 30, 2021
GGPoker Sparks Controversy with Dan Bilzerian Signing
By RTR Dennis
GGPoker pulled a controversial move towards the end of last year after signing Dan Bilzerian to an ambassadorship deal. They see plenty of potential considering Bilzerian’s massive social media following.
Not everybody is a fan of the ‘The King of Instagram,’ though. Canadian poker pro Vanessa Kade publicly complained about the signing at the time, blasting both GGPoker and Bilzerian.
Sponsoring a sleazy, sexist tool with toxic followers as poker’s biggest ambassador lends validity to the idea that he’s an accurate representation of our sport.— Vanessa Kade (@VanessaKade) December 3, 2020
Not unlike supporting a president with similar traits because he would benefit our bottom line.
Not worth the price. https://t.co/890sSmMSl1
The comments got back to Bilzerian, who was quick to respond and questioned Kade’s relevancy.
Yeah I saw :(— Vanessa Kade (@VanessaKade) December 3, 2020
I dunno why this has disappointed me so much. I think because the site has clearly been all about trying to be the best version of itself, I think in my mind it was the future of poker in a lot of ways.
Then this is just a huge step backwards.
More recently, Kade found out that her GGPoker affiliate account would be closed. She promoted GG through her Twitch channel up until the account closure.
Vanessa shared a message between her and a GGPoker rep on the situation:
“I’m sure you were expecting this message to come at some point, I need to close out your affiliate account,” the rep wrote. “Affiliates are partners and you clearly terminated that partnership a few months back, I’m simply finalizing it by closing the account.”
Offended that Kade publicly blasted them, the rep commented, “To call us out as misogynist is completely inaccurate and offensive to everyone that works here, especially the women.”
Well,@GGPoker finally responded to the Bilzerian mess, by terminating my residual affiliate account from way back (idgaf) - a day after International Women’s Day, and not acknowledging any wrongdoing or anything remotely close to an apology.— Vanessa Kade (@VanessaKade) March 9, 2021
Seems about right. pic.twitter.com/f9TMKBoVrc
GGPoker Apologizes for the “Multiple Controversies”
If GGPoker were trying to drum up attention with the Bilzerian signing, then they’ve certainly accomplished their mission. What initially became a series of Twitter complaints has now become a huge issue in the poker community.
GG have chosen not to backtrack on their decision to close Kade’s account. What they did do, though, is apologize for this issue blowing up.
“First, GGPoker would like to apologize to our community for the recent series of events that has led to multiple controversies,” they tweeted. “We want our community to have the same pride playing at GGPoker as we do in creating a great product that, we hope, provides a fun and safe platform for everyone.”
GGPoker Statement on Recent Issue: pic.twitter.com/kCR72dvNp3— GGPoker - HOME OF ONLINE POKER'S LARGEST PRIZEPOOL (@GGPoker) March 12, 2021
The poker site followed up by explaining why they felt the need to close Kade’s affiliate account after her comments regarding Bilzerian.
“GGPoker recently ended an affiliate relationship with a former partner due to their violation of our terms & conditions. These were on-going actions over three months.
“While the timing of our ending of the agreement was poor, we could not continue that partnership when there are over 1,000 affiliates who are following our rules and continuing to work hard with us to grow the game.”
No Chance of GGPoker and Bilzerian Splitting Any Time Soon
GG have risen to become one of the top-three poker sites in terms of traffic. According to PokerScout, they draw an average of 5,400 cash players per hour, ranking just behind IDNPoker (6,000) and PokerStars (7,800).
Their rise has come as a result of clever marketing and a focus on poker—something that’s rare as many sites now push casino games and sports betting.
The move to link up with Bilzerian was no doubt calculated. GGPoker didn’t sign one of the most-controversial Instagram celebrities without thinking of the implications.
Bilzerian brings a social media presence that nobody in the poker world can match. He’s amassed 32.7 million Instagram followers and over 13.4 million Facebook followers. ‘Blitz’ has done so by posting pictures of himself with guns, luxury cars, and scantily clad women.
It was inevitable that one or more poker personalities would be angered by the signing. However, GGPoker defends their position and looks to continue the relationship with Bilzerian into the unforeseeable future.