Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet decides to start over

Mo Afdhal
Posted on: February 27, 2023 12:13 PST

When Jonathan Van Fleet (AKA "apestyles") returned to grinding the Enjoy Poker Series Uruguay last week, he was still reeling from the recent, unexplained deletion of his YouTube channel. To Van Fleet, this was a “kick in the stomach and one of the worst bad beats I’ve had in a while."

Now, after enduring weeks of silence from YouTube, Van Fleet has made the tough decision to start from scratch.

The move comes after he spent years cobbling together a strong subscriber base on YouTube only to see the channel disappear for reasons he still doesn't understand.

In an attempt to recover the account, Van Fleet reached out via Twitter to the Team YouTube account. After some back and forth about the issue, Van Fleet was given some standard account recovery instructions, but after following these steps, he was still unable to gain access to the account.

The problem: the humans wouldn't talk to him.

The problem with automated response bots

The difficulty that Van Fleet experienced in trying to communicate with a living, breathing human being, is becoming more and more common. He said, “It makes me angry that these massive content corporations don’t scale their customer service teams as they grow.”

Frustration aside, Van Fleet said he was surprised at how much he cared about losing the channel, but mostly he was thinking something along the lines of “well, what the f-ck?”

He couldn’t understand why his largely educational channel would be deleted.

Van Fleet's philosophy of "you get what you put out” is being challenged by the fact that what he put out... simply disappeared. 

Targeted attack or simple mistake?

This is the crux of why Van Fleet is so upset about the loss of the account. He can't figure out whether he got caught up in an automated blunder or if YouTube singled him out.

The timing of this loss could not have been worse for Van Fleet. There were plans to ramp up the content on YouTube to add more online gameplay, more coaching content, as well as mixing in some vlog episodes from various tournament stops throughout the year.

Van Fleet is free to start a new channel for his content, but he said doing that feels like accepting defeat. The prospect of having to restart the channel and rebuild from the ground up is no easy feat. It will take months and months of grinding out content, and even then there is no guarantee that the new channel will see the same level of success as the first. Van Fleet estimates there were roughly 40 to 50 videos posted on the channel including hundreds of hours of content. 

Mr. No Brightside

With no other solid recourse, Van Fleet is losing out on the hope that the account can be recovered, saying “there’s no bright side to this."

So, with a stockpile of the videos that were up on the channel still sitting on an offline hard drive, Van Fleet made the tough decision to start over.

Today, Van Fleet announced the creation of a new YouTube channel. To celebrate the start of the new channel, Van Fleet is running a giveaway for a 2% freeroll on his upcoming trip to the Triton Super High Roller Series in Vietnam. For more details on how to enter, see Van Fleet's Twitter.