I was reading the other day about how PokerStars has banned its players from playing on Poker After Dark. I guess the argument goes that outside of the US Full Tilt Poker is all over this program and even markets it in some countries as a Full Tilt Poker production. Well, good for them. Not because I used to be associated with Full Tilt but that’s just how media and advertising work.
It seems petty for Stars to pull their players from the show. I can’t help but wonder had the UIGEA never happened would Stars been as bold when they were a distant number two in the market. I don’t mean to single Stars out but even going back several years I remember that there was a top name pro who was told that she could not play at certain live events because her online sponsor (not Stars) didn’t like something about those other events.
Obviously, the pros have the right to sign with anybody they want and the rooms have the right to ask for any sort of restrictions that they want but is it really any good for the game if we start to have televised poker that only features players from a specific online poker room? Okay, maybe Full Tilt might get away with it because of its deep roster of pro players but how interesting of a lineup can most rooms put up? Yes, Stars has a few big names but other than Daniel how many could you watch week in and week out? Nothing negative against many of the other pros on Stars list but many of them don’t make for great television and last I checked most games need 9 or 10 players unless you’re going to specialize in televising short-handed matches.
I wrote about something similar when the UB / Poker News / Tiffany Michelle thing broke. All of this wheeling and dealing just to get your logo on television is really going to start having a negative impact on the game unless someone steps up and establishes some industry guidelines. Yes, it’s a competitive market but sometimes you have to take one on the chin, dust yourself off, and do what’s best for the entire industry. Not because it’s the honorable thing to do but because winning a petty pissing contest often costs you more than you gain.