Dan Bilzerian may be one of the most popular and controversial poker pros in the world. However, the poker player’s professional relationship with well-known poker brand GGPoker just continues to worsen. Recently, Bilzerian hinted that his relationship with GGPoker may be over for good after several years of successful partnerships.
Bilzerian confessed during an interview on the Youtube channel No Jumper that his partnership with GGPoker had been less than stellar. GGPoker announced that it had appointed Bilzerian as its brand ambassador in December 2020. He joined an already impressive lineup of existing brand ambassadors who consist of well-known names like Felipe Ramos, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Fedor Holz, and of course Daniel Negreanu.
When he was appointed, GGPoker announced that Bilzerian would help promote the GGPoker brand in online and offline events and poker tournaments. During the pandemic, GGPoker emerged as the number one choice for people stuck in lockdown to get their poker fix. As such, Bilzerian and other brand ambassadors were tasked with making the cash games, which ranged in size from $2 to $200,000 buy-ins, better for the average poker player.
To commemorate his appointment as a brand ambassador, GGPoker even went as far as organizing a tournament during Bilzerian’s 40th birthday. The tournament organized was a $100,000 Birthday Freeroll designed to attract new customers to the platform. In addition to offering participants a $100,000 guarantee with a $10,000 first-place prize, poker lovers were also invited to pick select prizes that included a once-in-a-lifetime heads-up match against Bilzerian.
GGPoker’s appointment of Bilzerian was an instant hit owing to Bilzerian’s massive social media reach. Apart from playing poker professionally, Bilzerian is best known for amassing more than 30 million Instagram followers by providing fans with a look into his excessive playboy lifestyle. Bilzerian, however, first gained fame in online poker circles in 2009 when he was featured alongside his brother during ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP Main Event that year.
Soon after this coverage, Bilzerian signed on as a professional poker player for the short-lived poker site known as Victory Poker. According to Bilzerian, however, his main ties to the poker world stem from his playing activity, which is what allowed him to amass his fortune by taking part in nosebleed stakes in some of the most exclusive private poker games in the world.
GGPoker fires Bilzerian a year later
So, when GGPoker announced that it had joined forces with the poker pro, not many were surprised. His relationship with GGPoker lasted for a year and appeared to be quite fruitful until GGPoker announced in March 2022 that it would be axing Bilzerian as its ambassador 15 months after first signing him.
Up until the end of the partnership, Bilzerian’s name and image were both prominently displayed on GGPoker’s website. However, on International Women’s’ Day, GGPoker announced that Bilzerian would no longer serve in the brand ambassador capacity. It is said that Bilzerian’s divisive character, as well as his womanizing, was part of the reason the relationship with GGPoker was terminated.
When GGpoker announced that it had signed Bilzerian as its ambassador, the news was not very well received especially within poker’s very vocal community. A lot of poker professionals felt that his appointment was a step in the wrong direction, especially as the industry looks toward increasing the participation of women in poker.
Following the negative press that came with Bilzerian’s signing, GGPoker pledged to make a determined effort to spread its outreach to female poker players. At first, the brand did so by teaming up with Daiva Byrne, the creator of the biggest female-only poker community on Facebook, known as FLIP. GGPoker appointed Byrne as its outreach and community advocate but maintained Bilzerian as its brand ambassador.
Even though GGPoker maintained Bilzerian as brand ambassador for more than a year, Bilzerian remained relatively quiet during his tenure. Apart from creating a few Instagram posts and playing in a live event, Bilzerian did not do much to promote the GGPoker site.
Interview on Youtube Channel reveals why
When asked by the interviewer of the No Jumper YouTube channel to elaborate on his relationship with the online poker brand, Bilzerian explained that the relationship had not worked out as initially intended. Bilzerian claims that he was unable to promote GGPoker on his social media because it seemed inauthentic.
Bilzerian also claimed that his expectations of how the partnership would evolve were not aligned with GGPoker’s ideas and content, which made it harder for the relationship between the 2 to improve. According to Bilzerian, the whole premise of the collaboration was that GGPoker would out the poker player in several high-stake cash games, which is where Bilzerian would generate content from.
As such, when the deal regressed, Bilzerian found himself unable to keep up with his end of the deal. Bilzerian also noted that he also faced several issues surrounding his affiliate fees. Bilzerian claims that at the start of their partnership, the playboy and poker player attracted at least 100,000 new signees.
However, he claims that GGPoker never renumerated the promised affiliate fees. Since the poker player was not receiving his affiliate revenue, the 2 brands decided to end their partnership. In a bid to handle the backlash that came with Bilzerian’s appointment and negative perception of women, GGPoker in conjunction with FLIP did organize a women’s day poker tournament.
However, it is not yet clear whether this tournament successfully squashed the alienation that came with signing him in the first place. To confirm the end of their relationship with Bilzerian, the popular online poker brand has wiped his likeness and name from all GGPoker websites.
Over the years, Bilzerian has developed a reputation as one of the most lavish poker players. This persona has helped him attract millions of followers but it has come with a tainted reputation characterized by the ill-treatment of women as well as various controversial lawsuits. Many poker players stepped up to express their offense at GGPoker’s decision to appoint Bilzerian as brand ambassador. But with this decision to ax Bilzerian, GGPoker might just mitigate the effects of Bilzerian’s appointment successfully.