Woo: "I Woould Not Have Done What Tiffany Michelle Did"

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Jenny Woo

There was much controversy over the past week involving the 2008 World Series of Poker's "last lady standing" - one Tiffany Michelle - and her decision to start donning UltimateBet.com paraphernalia just as things were starting to heat up (translation: just as Tiffany Michelle was starting to get rabid press exposure).  Herein lies the problem - Ms. Michelle was a reporter for PokerNews and presumably was given exposure and the ability to take part in the 2008 WSOP through her affiliation with that website.  PokerNews issued a statement that Tiffany Michelle had not consulted with them prior to her entering into a marketing relationship with UltimateBet.

Pokernews.com Vice President Justin Robert Huxley issued a statement on behalf of the company, claiming that they had sponsored several events for Tiffany at this year's World Series of Poker, including the main event. 

"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."

The next part of the statement reads like this:

"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."

Michelle insisted in a statement issued later in the week that she had done nothing wrong and that Poker News was attempting to slander her

"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."

Gambling911.com posed the question to its own popular reporter, Jenny Woo:  "What would you have done if UltimateBet had offered you a sponsorship deal to promote them at the World Series of Poker after Gambling911 had already paid to send you there and cover the event on their behalf?"

"I would not have done what Tiffany Michelle did," Woo said.  "I would have been loyal to my employer..  These are the types of arrangements that are made prior to an event like the 2008 World Series of Poker and with the consent of the folks who put food on my table, albeit I'm still hungry most of the time."

Gambling911.com knows all too well how confusing these types of multi-brand promotions can be. 

"I once donned a Bluff Magazine shirt and participated as a host at one of their World Series of Poker parties a few years back," Woo disclosed.  "Following that appearance I received incredible amounts of angry emails claiming I was a 'traitor' and 'How could I disrespect Gambling911.com like that?'.  Readers did not understand that I had been approached by Gambling911 asking if I would like to work this party since we had a good relationship with Bluff.  It turned into a complete disaster.  And I am certain that PokerNews is feeling the same way right now.

"Tiffany - Sweetie - from what I can tell, unless there is something that has not yet been disclosed - you were wrong to turn your back on your employer like you did.  Publishers work hard and are not the cash cows that online poker rooms are.  You claim to have been wearing the Poker News garb at the start of the event when nobody was even paying any mind to you.  WOOpie!  Surely you understand that ESPN's coverage of your play would occur on those final days when you were no longer wearing the Poker News hats and other clothing. 

"You are young and probably weren't thinking straight - should I say naive - but I am here to tell you that you were dead wrong in your decision.  Never bite the hand that feeds you Young'em.  I trust without Poker News in your corner, you would never have even found yourself at the World Series of Poker, let alone playing in it."

Woo - who has been a familiar centerpiece in the online gambling world for over five years now - knows this cutthroat industry inside and out and provided some helpful advise to Miss Michelle.

"These companies will spit you out like a wad of bubble gum that has lost its taste and, just as you did with Poker News, they won't consult you about it.  Just look at Jamie Gold." He was the 2006 World Series of Poker winner fired by Bodog and has received zero press since.  "You are dispensable, Sweetie, just remember that.  I doubt Poker News would get rid of you if your poker career fails to blossom."

Woo's dire warning to Tiffany Michelle:  "UltimateBet will have no need for you if you're not producing on the poker circuit.  They already have two proven stars with exception followings in Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth.  Ultimately, you may become the cut out portion of UltimateBet's hole cards."


Payton O'Brien, Gambling911.com Senior Editor POBrien@CostiganMedia.com

Originally published July 20, 2008 7:54 pm EST