GGPoker is planning to reach out to female poker players, after its controversial brand ambassador, Dan Bilzerian, called Canadian poker player Vanessa Kade a “hoe” on Twitter. The colorful and opinionated Bilzerian has also been critical of the #metoo movement, and most alarming, Bilzerian was banned from a Miami nightclub for allegedly kicking a woman in the face.
Regarding the nightclub incident, Bilzerian had this to say;
“Actually, two girls attacked a girl I was with giving her a black eye and throwing her off the table. They went after her because they wanted to get close to me. I know girls never fight over you if you’re a loser and everyone hates you, and nobody wants to f**k you. Get your facts straight instead of publishing nonsense on your garbage website.”
Outreach to Female Poker Players
GGPoker plans to “balance out” the female audience that Bilzerian does not appeal to. The move comes after backlash from the poker community following the controversial playboy poker player signed on board as a brand ambassador.
“One of GGPoker’s goals is to bring the game of poker to a wider audience, making it more inclusive,” a GGPoker spokesperson said. “Dan Bilzerian has helped us accomplish that goal. In just a few days, he’s brought in tens of thousands of new GGPoker players.”
“But, part of making the game of poker more inclusive is to actively balance out the audience that Dan does not reach,” continued the GGPoker spokesperson. “Over the next few weeks and months, we will make a concerted effort to outreach to female poker players.”
“Poker doesn’t discriminate,” the GGPoker spokesperson said. “Every player should have a welcoming seat at the table. Our central focus remains on bringing everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, beliefs, or other personal or social characteristics, together to play the game we all love.”
Did GGPoker Make a Mis-step?
After the signing of Bilzerian was announced, both prominent men and women in the poker community raised concerns that Bilzerian joining GGPoker was a step in the wrong direction. They were worried that it could undo the hard work done by the poker community to make the game more inclusive.
Undoubtedly, GGPoker wanted to reach Bilzerian’s 1.7 million Twitter followers and 32 million Instagram followers. While many people these days value the goals of social justice, obviously, millions of people also envy the lifestyle of an unabashed high-rolling playboy. Apparently, GGPoker’s controversial move worked, with tens of thousands of new players signing up, after signing Bilzerian.
Unfortunately, Bilzerian can be divisive, having achieved fame with his high-rolling, over-the-top lifestyle. There is controversy concerning how he made his millions as well as from his failed business venture and lawsuits. Moreover, Bilzerian has a history of contentious behavior, including allegations of violence towards women.
Dan Bilzerian as a Brand Ambassador
So far, Bilzerian has remained low-key when it comes to his role as a GGPoker ambassador. Bilzerian used his Instagram fame to promote his $100,000 Birthday Freeroll, hosted by GGPoker to celebrate his signing. Other than that, the social media influencer hasn’t put much effort into promoting the brand.
That $100,000 Birthday Freeroll occurred on December 7, and was ironically won by an amateur female poker player named Alex O’Brien.
Bilzerian did engage his social media following concerning poker, was posting a nasty tweet, responding to a comment made by female Twitch streamer and poker pro Vanessa Kade.
What is GGPoker’s Next Move?
Currently, it’s unclear what type of outreach to female poker players GGPoker will do.
possibly, GGPoker could seek the endorsement of a female celebrity that appeals to the #metoo movement, which is definitely outside the core poker demographic.
In the past, partypoker and PokerStars have also leveraged mainstream celebrity “influencers”, but GGPoker signing Bilzerian is the first time that a celebrity so polarizing has been signed on to promote a poker website.
While some in the poker community are shocked at the decision to sign Bilzerian, in the end, it could prove to be a stroke of genius, especially if GGPoker signs on a female poker player to act as the opposition.