Daiva Byrne has a tightrope to walk in new role with GGPoker

Jon Pill
Posted on: February 15, 2021 07:38 PST

GGPoker has hired Daiva Byrne as an Outreach & Community Advocate. The move follows the backlash GG suffered after paying infamous misogynist Dan Bilzerian to join their team.

The poker site didn't want to give up Bilzerian's Instagram following, nor to breach his contract. But this puts it in the awkward spot of having to convince the poker community that Bilzerian may represent GG's brand, but he doesn't represent GG's values.

Daiva Byrne, and her organization Fantastic Ladies In Poker, are the solution they've settled on. GG is counting on her being the tall drink of water we need to wash the taste of the small Bilzerian out of our collective, nauseated mouths.

In a press release on the partnership, GGPoker wrote: "GGPoker is committed to ensuring that all poker players feel welcome at the tables, and look forward to welcoming many new players, particularly FLIP members, over the coming weeks."

The motivation for the partnership might be to weave a corporate illusion, but the upshot of the FLIP partnership could be, well, fantastic. FLIP is an organization that focuses on providing a space for women in poker, and Byrne is a vocal and effective advocate for women in poker.

However, her prominence as a spokesperson for poker's women puts her in a tough position. By lending her name and support to GGPoker there is a risk of her being seen as tacitly endorsing Bilzerian. She will undoubtedly find her actions raked over the coals by both sides as a result.

She is also likely to be somewhat hamstrung in bringing criticism against her paymasters. Any good she can do in the role will be complicated by these factors. That's life though complicated.

Already she has tweeted describing GGPoker as a "brand that shares [her] vision."

The little man in the room

Vanessa Kade was one of the first to call out GGPoker on their hiring of Bilzerian and came after the Byrne hiring with similar alacrity.

"Davia is a wonderful representative for women," Kade tweeted. "But @GGPoker is buying her good faith with the female community after hiring and keeping a massive misogynist who openly says women can’t play poker."

That compromise is the price Byrne has paid for getting into a position where she may be able to execute some good works. GGPoker is one of the biggest movers in the industry now, and she would have been doing herself a disservice to turn the opportunity down.

Much depends on how willing GGPoker's team are to treat their outreach program as more than just a publicity stunt. They hired Byrne either for altruistic reasons or as activism-marketing. One of those is rather more likely. However, GG's motives will matter far less in the end than whether they let Byrne be effective or not.

It's going to take time before we know which way things will pan out.

Image source: Flickr