Why Do I Do This to Myself?

You know when you have a mosquito bite and you know you’re not supposed to scratch it but you do it anyway? Or when you know you’re not supposed to take those hot irons from the fire and seer your eyeballs out and you do it anyway? Yeah, for me reading Gambling911 is a lot like that. I guess it’s like that scene from Howard Stern’s Private Parts:

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes a day. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – an hour and twenty minutes.

Pig Vomit: How could this be?

Researcher: Answer most commonly given: “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

Pig Vomit: All right, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?

Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.

Pig Vomit: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?

Researcher: Most common answer: “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

The thing about Gambling911 is that is seems like they don’t even make an attempt at being reputable. They enjoy Bat Boy headlines on their front page.

For example, here’s a recent story titled, “Taliban Dan” Negreanu: Blasts Poker Pro Prahlad Friedman. In a nutshell, Daniel Negreanu (who Gambling911 is now referring to as “Taliban Dan”) tweeted a message expressing his disappointment that Prahlad Friedman might be signing to represent UB.

Blasting Friedman seems to be a rather harsh way at looking at the following tweet:

“So disappointed in @prahladfriedman signing with the devil who stole millions from him. He was so ‘anti-sellout’ and then he did the unthinkable… They must have paid him a lot to join the dark side and endorse the exact same people who ruined him. So sad and so mind-boggling… The current owners of AP/UB are spending Prahlad’s money. They must be mocking him at this point. Cheat the dude and watch him endorse us!”

Sounds more like disappointment but I’m sure that wasn’t tabloid enough for Gambling911 so they whipped into a blasting. If anything the “blasting” is aimed at AP/UB. And considering what’s known about the history behind Friedman and Ultimate Bet, Daniel’s comments seem pretty much what a lot of people are asking.

Appearing on the Hardcore Poker Show in February of 2009, Matusow dished on his losses to Hamilton, most of which occurred in late 2005.

“This man would call me to play him head-up. I would ship $50,000, $50,000, $50,000. All the money I won when I won the ‘05 World Series Main Event, when I got to the final table and when I won the Tournament of Champions, I gave all to Russ to put on UB while he was playing me head-up and stealing it from me…” Matusow continued, “The two people that got beat the most was Prahlad Friedman and me…What [Russ] did to him was just brutal.”

Prahlad Friedman was “durrrr” before Tom Dwan. He was isildur1 before Viktor Blom–if isildur1 was actually a winning player, that is.

Prahlad was the first online poker God.

And then Russ Hamilton cleaned him out.

What happened to Prahlad fits pattern number two–where Russ had anonymous accounts created for him, which he’d then use to eviscerate the bankroll of people like Friedman–known online at the time as “Spirit Rock” and “Mahatma.”

From WickedChops Poker

I don’t know. If I knew Prahlad and gave a rat’s ass about the guy I would be having the same doubts and feeling the same disappointment if the rumors about Friedman representing UB turn out to be true. I mean, here’s a site where some of the main principals of the company conspired to rip you off for millions by putting a backdoor in the software and a few years later you’re going to smile and promote the company?

It’s Friedman’s choice obviously but I’m sure Daniel isn’t the only person scratching their head on this one.

Gambling911 goes on to say:

The 3rd largest online poker site has been trying to make amends ever since, reimbursing those who were negatively affected during the scandal.

Where in the world are they getting that number? According to Poker Scout they’re #7.

That’s not a simple mistake. That’s an outright fabrication. Maybe they meant to say that UB/AP is Gambling911’s 3rd largest source of affiliate income.

But to make matters even worse, the author quotes another Gambling911 writer as if that person’s opinion means anything.

“Daniel (Negreanu) is hardly someone to judge another person’s decisions since he makes some of the worst one’s out there,” observed Gambling911.com reporter Jagajeet Chiba. “Just because PokerStars has ‘Taliban Dan’ as one of its reps doesn’t mean we should necessarily boycott that poker room.”

The Taliban are noted for their mistreatment of women.

“Negreanu has yet to apologize for his verbal abuse of Annie Duke and more vicious attack on the female species by using the virulent “f*cking c*nt” comment, no worse than calling an African American the “N” word,” Chiba noted.

So, Daniel Negreanu who has had a longstanding feud with Annie Duke gets the Taliban Dan moniker be calling her a f*cking c*nt? This is on par with the Taliban’s treatment of women? And Chiba is some sort of expert on this, why?

How insulting is this to the women who have actually been mistreated by the Taliban? According to Wikipedia (a source considerably more reputable than Gambling911, IMHO) this is the kind of mistreatment that women suffer under the Taliban:

An Afghan girl named Bibi Aisha was promised to a new family through a tribal method of solving disputes known as baad. When she fled the violence girls often suffer under baad, her new family found her and a Taliban commander ordered her punished as an example, “lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing”. Her ears and nose were cut off and she was left for dead in the mountains, but survived.

In 1999, a mother of seven was executed in front of 30,000 spectators in Kabul’s Ghazi Sport stadium for allegedly murdering her abusive husband (see right). She was imprisoned for three years and extensively tortured prior to the execution, yet she refused to plead her innocence in a bid to protect her daughter (reportedly the actual culprit).

When a Taliban raid discovered a woman running an informal school in her apartment, they beat the children and threw the woman down a flight of stairs (breaking her leg), and then imprisoned her. They threatened to stone her family publicly if she refused to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Taliban and their laws.

Some people simply have no shame. Really. It’s truly amazing. This is really an all time low in poker journalism and even though it will take everything I have not to watch this train wreck this time they’re coming off my RSS feed list for good.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

4 thoughts on “Why Do I Do This to Myself?”

  1. I’ve noticed a lot of poker media outlets refer to UB/AP as #3, and the most likely reason is they are the 3rd largest US-friendly poker network/room. However, the more reputable news outlets state this, and places like Gambling911 see it written on another site and rehash it minus the US-friendly bit.

    That site has it in for Negreanu, from his African-American rant, to Annie Duke, to the treatment of Andrew Robl on the Big Game, and now this. Daniel does deserve a bit of criticism on all fronts, but not to the point of calling him Taliban Dan, or sensationalizing headlines.

    Love your blog by the way :)

  2. You cracked me, with the Howard Stern’s analogy. So True, so sad.
    It’s obvious that they (gambling911) have some sort of personal vendetta against the “Poker Kid”. But it descended now to new sewer depths of nick naming him “Taliban Dan”?! ‘cmon!?
    I guess it still true what they, there is no such thing as bad publicity (or in their case bad poker journalism). All they need to do is make sure their spelling is correct…

    Stay Strong dude

  3. @robin: I still don’t think that is accurate. The cash game players, if I understand Poker Scout’s stats correctly is a snapshot. At this moment such and such site has X number of players. Since UB/AP target US players taking a snapshot at US peak times is not equal to a 24 hour peak number.

    UB/AP’s numbers are so out of class with iPoker and Party that I can’t imagine their cash game players are so radically stronger than their overall numbers.

  4. I think they meant to say that they are the 3rd biggest site with CASH game players. on that pokerscout list they are 3rd with that.

    But the point you make about that Gambling911 are camparing Daniel with the Taliban is indeed a shame. They should think more instead of just making “cool/screaming” headlines. Guess they are the Fox news of pokernews…

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