Tiffany Michelle vs. Poker News "Slanderous Accusations...."

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Tiffany Michelle

The lone lady standing at this year's World Series of Poker, Tiffany Michelle, has lashed out at the popular poker news portal website Poker News, which has accused her of essentially "selling out" and failing to promote the website she was representing by changing into new garb the final (and most publicized) days of the event.  That new garb featured sponsor

So what exactly happened?

Sources close to the situation are claiming that she approached Jeff Lisandro before the Main Event to get staked. He got her in touch with Australian poker player and part owner of Poker News, Tony G, who duly obliged and staked her for the event along with 34 others. He was hoping to raise the profile of the brand during the Main Event and is understandably unhappy with the conflict of interest that arose. It is alleged Poker News staked her in a deal that would see Michelle receive 33% of the winnings and raising her public profile for a possible move to Hollywood.

True, Ms. Michelle did where the Poker News logo on her clothing the first few days of the main event.....when nobody was paying any attention to her.

Tiffany Michelle released a statement via the website Thursday, addressing a statement released by Poker News this week :

"It is with great sadness that I've had to see my accomplishment of finishing 17th in the WSOP Main Event clouded by slanderous accusations and inaccurate information. I have been humbled by the overwhelming support from friends, fans and the media and for their sake as well as mine I feel as if I must respond and bring clarity to the situation.

"There is no denying the positive press and exposure I brought Pokernews by wearing their logo and being their representative during the 2008 World Series of Poker main event. After such a successful series, I am greatly dismayed by Pokernews' subsequent actions. No one has ever questioned my integrity before this and I am so distressed that Pokernews is using their powerful public forum to spin such a negative recounting of the facts of what occurred during the final two days of the main event.

"As we all know, it is standard practice for players to wear multiple logos during the main event. Pokernews was aware of this, having placed their logos on a number of players with sponsorship deals with other companies. Throughout the World Series I saw several players wear the Pokernews logo alongside the logos of online card rooms such as Pokerstars and T6. This makes it very clear that Pokernews supported this practice as a rule and were not against players wearing their logo in conjunction with the logo of an online card room. Like many other people, I wore multiple logos but in no way diminished the presence of Pokernews in doing so."

PokerNews Ltd Vice President, Mr. Justin Huxley, had this to say in a statement regarding the Tiffany Michelle alleged missteps

"It was later confirmed that without any consultation with PokerNews, Tiffany went ahead and signed a sponsorship deal with Ultimate Bet. While we welcome such sponsorship deals between online gaming operators and players, as a company we could see no reason as to why we were left out of such negotiations, especially considering the relationships that PokerNews has with all such entities. Tiffany was bought into the event by PokerNews and had a signed player contract with PokerNews Ltd. We believe, that based on advice from her agent that the contract may have loopholes; she went and made a deal with an online gaming operator that completely contradicted the trust that we had put in her, both as an employee and as a sponsored player. As an organization we felt completely sabotaged by Tiffany, her agent and Ultimate Bet.

"In fact, PokerNews was looking forward to and expected a large number of sponsorship offers from the world's biggest poker rooms - Tiffany's career was about to explode and we could not have been more proud for her. Therefore, we are incredibly disappointed with Tiffany and her agent's lack of respect and professionalism. We are currently seeking legal council on this entire situation and potential damages to PokerNews."

Some members of the PokerNews forum community were slightly sympathetic towards Ms. Michelle's plight while acknowledging she may have acted in a "less than professional manner".

"Tough situation for a young person to be in," wrote one gentleman.  "Peer pressure's a bitch at that age. She really needed to think about long term and who got her there."

Tiffany Michelle - in addition to being one of the most storied players at this year's World Series of Poker - is also an aspiring singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitar player.


Christopher Costigan, Publisher

Originally published July 17, 2008 10:15 pm EST