Daiva Byrne’s Fantastic Ladies in Poker (FLIP) has announced its first three international poker ambassadors, who will join Byrne’s FLIP community in working to grow women’s participation in the game. Byrne welcomed Ann-Roos Callens, Emilia Riot, and Suzie Williamson to their new roles via social media on Wednesday.
The three new ambassadors will represent FLIP at various tourneys and promotional events in Europe and around the globe. Each of the three hails from a different northern European country. Williamson will represent the United Kingdom, while Callens is a veteran Belgian player. Riot will represent her native Poland, though she has spent much of her life in England as well.
Byrne describes all three ambassadors as avid but recreational players. Each works full-time outside of poker, and each was chosen for supporting and participating in the FLIP Facebook group founded by Byrne in 2017.
Lithuania-born Byrne leads FLIP community
Byrne’s group is open to female poker players around the world, though its membership is decidedly European. The group shares its general mission of improving and expanding women’s roles and participation in poker with the older and U.S.-dominated Women’s Poker Association.
Byrne herself is a native of Lithuania, though the “Baltic Blonde” now calls London home as well. She’s also a full-time poker pro, sponsored by the World Series of Poker’s international online partner, GGPoker.
“There is much more to come,” Byrne recently stated. “GGPoker continues to be a brilliant partner in supporting our initiatives. FLIP remains as dedicated as ever to promoting and supporting women across all areas of poker.”
GGPoker supports group through Byrne’s efforts
GGPoker hired Byrne in February to serve as its Outreach and Community advocate, which has been more complicated than it seems. The growing online site earned the scorn of a large swath of the women’s poker world by hiring Dan Bilzerian as a brand ambassador in late 2020.
Bilzerian, the wealthy playboy son of a convicted white-collar fraudster, is known as the “King of Instagram”. He gave GGPoker access to his seven-figure social-media following, but it was a double-edged sword. Bilzerian was widely known for his outrageously sexist antics and quickly cemented that reputation with his infamous “Quiet, ho” comment directed at one of GGPoker’s pros, Vanessa Kade. Kade had spoken openly about her distaste for Bilzerian’s antics and she was soon fired by GGPoker. Amid the uproar, Kade quickly landed a similar role at rival site America’s Cardroom.
The furor over Bilzerian left GGPoker with a bruised public image and its hiring of Byrne was part of the site’s response. GGPoker has attempted in some ways to rebuild its bridges with the global women’s poker community. Its continuing support of Byrne’s FLIP community is a part of that effort.
Featured image source: Facebook / Fantastic Ladies in Poker