On International Women’s Day, news broke that GGPoker had quietly removed references to Dan Bilzerian from their website. This may also have merely been a part of negotiating Bilzerian’s contract renewal, or an attempt to quietly put Bilzerian into cold storage. But the story made headlines.
Now, a little over two weeks later, GGPoker has officially responded. According to their announcement, Bilzerian remains on board.
The Tweet reads: “GGPoker would like to confirm that Dan Bilzerian remains a partner. We will continue to work closely with Dan to engage with new player communities and grow our favorite game. Expect to hear about some new and exciting partnership activities in the coming months.”
Where a typical GGPoker tweet comes with promotional graphics and far too many emojis. This one is plain text. The almost legalistic tone does not suggest much in the way of enthusiasm. GGPoker also disabled replies, never a sign of confidence.
At the time of writing, Bilzerian still does not appear on the GGPoker website and is still not listed under their ambassadors. This suggests that GGPoker’s announcement may not have been the company’s first choice.
When dealing with a previous embarrassing ambassador GGPoker did something similar, cutting references to Henri Buhler on their site and refusing to comment to the press. That time around they largely avoided scrutiny. This time, not so much.
Context is for kings
When they first hired Bilzerian, GGPoker initially hoped to use his huge Instagram following to promote their brand and expand their player base. However, from the get-go, Bilzerian caused the company issues.
Almost as soon as he was hired, his reputation for misogyny became a problem. When confronted by Vanessa Kade on Twitter about his attitude towards women, Bilzerian fanned the flamed by calling her a “hoe [sic].”
GGPoker did their best to defend the Bilzerian hire, but it wasn’t long before it became clear that the partnership was largely a one-way deal. Bilzerian’s social media barely mentioned GGPoker in the year he’s been serving them as an ambassador. In fact, for the last few months, the “King of Instagram” has stepped away from the “post” button to take a break from the limelight.
The most blatant example of Bilzerian abandoning his post was when science writer Alex O’Brien won a promotional tournament held on Bilzerian’s birthday. This victory was supposed to earn O’Brien a chance to play Blitz heads-up. He never showed. Eventually, ACR made O’Brien whole, by setting up a charity game for O’Brien with Vanessa Kade.
In the wake of Bilzerian’s absenteeism, someone at GGPoker seems to have decided enough was enough. With no public announcement, on March 8 (a date significant in this story for being International Women’s Day), GGPoker seemed to be done with Bilzerian, axing him from the site’s listings of ambassadors. The timing — possibly an attempt to align the company with the feminists they had upset — was viewed as cynical and insincere, reigniting the debate over GGPoker’s misogyny problem.
Two weeks later, GGPoker has issued a clarifying statement that only really serves to muddy the waters further. Whether this means Bilzerian will actually do much more than cash a paycheque remains to be seen.
Featured image source: YouTube