Targeting his social media following
Online poker room GGPoker has announced that Dan Bilzerian is its newest brand ambassador. The “King of Instagram” has over 32 million followers on the social media site. GGPoker hopes Bilzerian’s status as an “influencer” will bring with it fleets of fans attracted to his machismo to pump up its cash games.
hey cater to the recreational players and that’s the future of poker”
Bilzerian took the opportunity to offend a portion of the poker world, though it is mild compared to his usual prose. “In these crazy times, GGPoker is the best option to get my poker on,” he said. “They cater to the recreational players and that’s the future of poker, not a bunch of math nerds.”
In the Twitter reveal, GGPoker said that there will be “something for everyone” at the poker room following Bilzerian’s introduction:
One of those “somethings” is a $100,000 freeroll for new players on December 7 to celebrate Bilzerian’s birthday. New players who use a special deposit code and deposit $10 get a ticket into the tournament. At least 50% of the field will cash and the player who knocks Bilzerian out of the tourney will get to party with him in Las Vegas.
The news of GGPoker’s choice of representation has not gone over particularly well in much of the poker world. Bilzerian’s brand is built on misogyny and a flaunting of an in-your-face lifestyle brimming with excess. He fills his social media posts with guns and nearly-nude women, who some say he treats as “props.” His claims of the wealth he has built through poker cash games have also drawn skepticism.
sleazy, sexist tool with toxic followers”
Poker player and Twitch streamer Vanessa Kade criticized GGPoker on Twitter, calling Bilzerian a “sleazy, sexist tool with toxic followers,” lamenting that he will be viewed as an “accurate representation of our sport.”
Kade added that Bilzerian’s selection as an ambassador is a “huge step backwards” for GGPoker. Bilzerian stayed true to his brand, proving Kade’s point:
Doug Polk, who is in the midst of a heads-up challenge with GGPoker’s star ambassador Daniel Negreanu, said: “Dan Bilzerian becoming a GG poker ambassador is the equivalent of me becoming an ambassador for GQ.”
One Twitter poster even brought back one of Negreanu’s tweets from five years ago when he asked: “Question of the day: what do you think is the #1 key reason that only about 5% of poker players in tournament poker are women?”
GGPoker climbing the charts
GGPoker is the flagship site of the GGNetwork, an online poker network that has traditionally been Asia-facing. It has made a serious push in the last couple years, however, to become a major player in most of the rest of the world. It is now the third ranked network in terms of cash game traffic, according to PokerScout, behind PokerStars and IDNPoker.
The surge is primarily the doing of GGPoker itself, starting with its efforts to sign some poker’s biggest names as ambassadors. It’s biggest coup was getting Negreanu after the Poker Hall of Famer spent more than a decade with PokerStars. It has also added Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Fedor Holz, and Felipe Ramos.
GGPoker has also partnered with the World Series of Poker to become arguably the center of the tournament poker world since this summer. It hosted the international portion of the 2020 WSOP Online, setting the Guinness World Record for the largest online poker tournament prize pool. The $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event drew 5,802 entries, generating total prizes of $27,559,500.