Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Open Letter to Daniel Negreanu and PokerStars



(EDIT - If people are still reading this, you guys should really take the poll.)

So I woke up this morning, checked into to all things social media and was disappointed to read this quote from Daniel Negreanu regarding Annie Duke.

Listen, I'm a lawyer and pretty much fight for a living.  Believe me, it gets old. And it's been my experience that the side with the weakest position, the weakest arguments, the weakest facts nearly always resorts to ad hominem attack when they have nothing else on which to rely.  An ad hominem attack is just a fancy way to describe what we did in kindergarten (i.e., name calling or attempting to win support for an otherwise weak position by obscuring the real issues involved). 

As a woman, his comment just pissed me off.  Make your argument, Daniel.  Explain why you think she's wrong.  Agree to disagree, whatever.  In using the word "cunt" to describe Annie Duke, however, you didn't just disrespect her, you disrespected all women.  As a spokesperson for PokerStars and poker in general, that's just not acceptable.

Like I said in a tweet - I'm not trying to censor anyone and I am the last to play PC police.  Nor do I believe I'm being overly sensitive about a simple word - I've heard worse and been called worse, I'm not gonna wither and die from an insult. I highly doubt Annie Duke will either.

But here's the thing...when you use that kind of language, your multitude of male fans think it's ok and so the next person who's at the end of such an insult might be your assistant playing in a nice live game where she gives some guy a bad break and his final retort to her before leaving the table is "Nice hand, cunt."  Acceptable? No. It happens, dude.  Believe it. (because of my avatar on-line, I often get the nice "bitch" in chat from the now-observer I just busted)

So for all your talk about about being on the side of women, you just negated your position by your reprehensible comment regarding Duke.  I hope you can see that.  And I hope you'll make a comment, maybe, hopefully apologizing.  If not, oh well, that's your right and I know you won't miss me as your one-time fan.

But if you really believe in your position (what exactly is the beef between you two poker players anyway?  If anyone knows, please do tell.), then man up and articulate it intelligently and in such a manner that you don't alienate half the population.  If you can't do that, then please shut the hell up about Annie Duke.

Dang, I really got worked up writing this.  As for the open letter to PokerStars, I just really felt the need to voice my disappointment and anger about Daniel's comments.  If you feel the same, and I hope you do, I think PokerStars needs to know and I hope you'll express your opinion by contacting them (just send an email to support@pokerstars.com).  Here's what I sent them:

My email to PokerStars:

Hi guys, I know I'm just one of your many, many, MANY players. And I know I'm just one of your female players, of which I'm sure you have plenty.

I really appreciate the Women's League and the LIPS satellites you've been running recently.

As soon as I got started playing online seriously, I've made PokerStars my online poker home. While I've dabbled at Bodog, Cake and FullTilt, I am a loyalist and want PokerStars to be my gaming choice when I can't play live.

I know I'm not your best customer, but I've deposited plenty over the years and support you guys every chance I get (see my PS twibbon on my twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/PokerLawyer).

That's why I really hope you all will be coming out with a statement very soon about Daniel Negreanu's extremely offensive comments toward Annie Duke.

If none is forthcoming, please just let me know. While I feel I've got my routine and my 'home' with PokerStars and would hate to go elsewhere, his comment was offensive, insulting, and just plain wrong and I can't, in good conscience, support a site that would condone or remain silent about his actions.

The thing is, not only do I love PokerStars, I've always been a big fan of Daniel. That's why his comment was so disappointing.

So, with that said, I really hope to hear something from you guys soon - hopefully very publicly. It'll go a long way.
 Well, that's all for tonight gang.  Good luck at the tables.

28 comments:

  1. Well said me Lady. Out of Negreanu's own mouth, he has triumphed again and again his ability to immediately admit when he's wrong, if it by chance ever happens. If ability to come cleanly forth from his frothy mouth fail, then action of my meager means will follow. His actions simply must speak louder than those obnoxiously loud words! His PR team has <24 hours to convince me of ANY sincerity of his sheepish tail wag, or to hold that ground, with justification.

    P.S. I STILL want my $4 dollars that you won from me during our 90 minutes of play KidP. I'm in the casting pool baby for your show, so MAN UP, put up, or simply SHUT UP!

    P.P.S. To reflect many sentiments made, what the hell gives and where do you get off? Again, MAN UP! Enough said here, and looking forward to my 5yr old Audrey slow-playing your Heaven on earth bankroll to $0. Right thing coming in how many hours? That clock ticks...

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  2. The beef with them is rooted deep in Daniel's hatred of UB, which Annie Duke has more of a stake in than just a sponsored player. She's been a part of it from the start. Daniel does not have a great history dealing with UB, either as a prospective sponsored pro or his current role as a pro for a competing site.

    It wouldn't be a stretch to see other personal issues between them. It's not like Annie Duke has ever shied away from confrontation.

    Daniel's friendship with both Kathy Liebert and Jennifer Harman also plays here. Her outright statement on her personal webpage about her superiority to those two women offends him.

    Truth be told, it offends me too. However, I don't think you have much to worry about since I am neither a fan of Daniel Negreanu or Annie Duke or her position defending my rights, regardless of my gender. I'm not taking my queues on etiquette or decorum on or off the felt from these two pieces of work.

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  3. Admirable position and well articulated Counselor. I agree with each of your points.

    That being said, who gets extremely offended when called an "asshole" ? OK, maybe that's cause we ALL have one and not just half of the population. How about when we're called "MFkrs"...do we take it as actually being accused of "doing" our mothers ? Or being called a "dick" ?

    Now that you've "spewed" just a little bit, maybe lightening up a tad would be healthier ? :-)

    tommyc@airmail.net

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  4. I'm a woman poker player and decided a long time ago it's best to "no chat". I got tired of the b-word, c-word, and just all the blather directed at women in general. I don't get it, is that supposed to intimidate you into some kind of tilt or word fight? There are lots of great guys out there, lots of good people play on line, but the guys who hate women have ruined chatting for me.

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  5. Dear PokerLaywer, has pokerstars responded to you? I play on bodog which has some pretty rank chat from time to time, but I quit pokerstars a long time ago because it is the worst for that kind of stuff toward women.

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  6. Lighten up Frances. DN is just another turd who got a little money and all of a sudden he's smarter than the rest of us pukes, as is AD. None of it is worth the time to read it. Just keep playing and have fun. Payback is coming.

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  7. Thanks, Dad ("lighten up, Frances"). Love you.

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  8. Jonathan Geery (London)August 21, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    What are you getting worked up about? Cunt is heavily used word in the UK/Europe/Australia, males even use the word on each other.

    Not to mention he used it on Annie Duke, not you or any other woman! Amazing a "poker player" has such thin skin. I'd love to sit with you online or live, just to put you on uber tilt, and take your money.

    Respect to Daniel for speaking his mind. He says what he means, and means what he says. It's not like he is lying. Go read some of the stories about her from various sources. Annie Duke is a cunt. Plain and simple.

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  9. Jonathan Geery (London)August 21, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    BTW. You're not going to get a comment from Pokerstars or Daniel, so don't hold your breath. It's not a big deal.

    So move to Ultimate Bet now, maybe Annie and Russ Hamilton will turn the super user account off if you happen to play them. ;)

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  10. Hi Jonathan. Yes, I've been learning that you guys use the word often in Europe. And indeed I think the interview was for an international mag or something, right?

    I don't believe I'm "tilted" by what he's said. The fact that I blogged about it is simply my right to express my opinion. I find it so interesting that most of the men I know who've responded have all said things along the lines of "lighten up" (even my Dad, lol) and all the women have said things along the lines of "I agree." By your comments, I guess any woman who agrees is a tilty, emotional cunt. Ok. Thanks for your comment.

    As for loving to play me - I'd really love that too.

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  11. Well said girl. I am going to "try" and not play on pokerstars for 2 weeks. I am locking me/them out. Withdrew all my money so I am at Zero for now. Thanks for your post and for standing up for yourself and all women. =)

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  12. why don't you do something constructive like fix my blog...mom

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  13. What is the deal with a comment about one woman being targeted at all women? Come on, Counselor, you're obviously more intelligent than that... show that you're too honest to allow yourself to sink to using such a cheap ploy, as well.

    "Cunt" or any other word is nothing more than a collection of letters used to express an idea, in this case an idea of vehement contempt for a particular person. Painting the usage of said word as a slur against all women is not only intellectually dishonest, it's irresponsible for a person such as yourself, one who has a following (however modest).

    Shame on you.

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  14. Anonymous 3:34 – So if Negreanu had strung the letters comprising the “n” word together to express “an idea of vehement contempt for [Annie Duke],” you wouldn’t take it as a slur against Black people?

    Would you be surprised if others, especially Black people, did?

    It's my opinion that one “ism” is not more or less severe than any other – it’s all a hatred/oppression of something (gays, women, people of color).

    A very interesting discussion about racism and misogyny can be found here: http://bit.ly/cOBdz5 . Some highlights: “…[g]enerally, people who think they are progressive are far more accepting of sexism then they are of racism. I had numerous discussions with liberal male students who argued that racism was so very much worse while I and my female friends contended it wasn’t a competition. There is a seminal 9th circuit sexual harassment case (Ellison v. Grey) that recognized that women, because they are subject to sexual violence whereas men generally are not, perceive the actions of men differently than men do. In the case both parties worked at the IRS. Grey followed Ellison around to the point where she felt uncomfortable talking to him She finally said hello one day and he responded with a multi-page letter stating “ I couldn’t bear your hatred for another day…I have watched you from so far away” etc. I used this case as a teaching tool for several years stating the facts and then asking the class to vote on whether or not it was a case of sexual harassment. For several years the women got it while the men did not. But the court did too stating that women who understand that they may be stalked and attacked legitimately and correctly interpreted the conduct as creepy and threatening. That case is almost 20 years old!”

    You talk about me "sink[ing] to using such a cheap ploy"? What ploy? I created this blog to talk about poker. I also twitter. I have opinions. I voice them. Accordingly, I'm often disagreed with and disliked. But, sometimes not.


    I'm not, however, a spokesperson for anything nor do I have any kind of public platform from which I make part of my living. In fact, in about 5 minutes or so (maybe less), the “modest following” of which you speak will likely go back to being me and my folks, and that’s just fine with me.

    Seriously, I'm confused. Did you even watch the interview Negreanu gave to Kimberly Lansing of the WPT (http://bit.ly/brHIE0)? Lansing clearly indicates "women don't like that word;" Negreanu clearly indicates an understanding of the same. If you think Negreanu sat down to talk to WPT because of one person (me), then I find *that* intellectually dishonest.

    Do I think Negreanu’s an evil, bad person? No. Do I want him to lose sponsorships or get "fired" from PokerStars because of all this? No. I've always been a big fan of his, which is why I was disappointed by his unfortunate choice of words.

    Do I speak for all women? No. Did I think my “Open Letter” post would lead me to "meet" someone like you? No (but I should've thought about that before I published my post).

    Did I think a poker entity like PokerStars and a poker star like Negreanu had a little more class and marketing savvy? Yes.

    Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and post your comments.

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  15. You are the typical Lawyer. Trying to start a fire where their isn't any.

    So Negreanu used a vulgar term? It happens all day every day. I am sure some bad words have come out of your mouth from time to time.

    People only care because DN is on TV. I personally think you are looking for your 15 minutes. Good Luck, be looking for you on Good Morning America any day now.

    Baduu

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  16. So as to keep on topic, let's make more generalizations. People who think all lawyers are fame whores must wear depends undergarments.

    How's that for logic? Damn you for making me stoop to your level, Baduu. Many like PokerLawyer, male and female, are offended by anyone saying the C word. Why would PokerLawyer express her opinions if Joe Schmoe called Mary Smith a cunt? Inevitably someone would comment that we don't care, we don't know Mary Smith and why is PokerLawyer blogging about it? Your answer: probably to get her 15 minutes.

    Get over yourself and your biased opinion of lawyers. Try to understand the real message about her rant. It's not about 15 minutes.

    You know why lawyers charge so much? Part of the fee is to put up with certain annoying clients. |||read|||

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  17. Here in Britain,cunt has changed its meaning.Now you 'spoke to some c***' or, 'this c*** walks up to me' or 'Annie Duke is a 'c***'. Maybe it was a case of'when in Rome,do as the Romans do'?

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  18. It's my opinion that one “ism” is not more or less severe than any other – it’s all a hatred/oppression of something (gays, women, people of color).

    like the oppression of free speech? or men? oh wait, men can't be oppressed. I see.

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  19. Hey m4rkyboy - maybe, I guess. I don't know. I don't think, over time, that the n-word is going to change its meaning and I find the c-word to be the gender equivalent of the n-word. But, I will say that since my post I've heard many, many opinions on the topic and have read numerous articles and posts about just what you mention - how words and meanings of words can change over time. In this instance with Negreanu, though, I don't think anyone could disagree that he used the ugliest word he could think of to hurl at Duke in an effort to convey his feelings for her, which apparently border on or equate to hate. No one can really say because other than his quick interview with Lansing for the WPT, he's yet to address the issue. You'd have to take it up with him as to whether it was a case of "when in Rome...."

    Anonymous 3:23 - what the hell are you talking about? Who's free speech is being infringed? And what men are being oppressed? Unclear (and not the point of my post(s) at all). But thanks for commenting.

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  20. why are people offended?daniel was only talking to one person and HIS name is Annie Duke!he wasnt talking about your mom,grandma,wife,niece,sister(...unless you are howard lederer)only annie duke.Also there are alot worse words than the C-word,like the B-word,H-word,S-word,etc..maybe daniel shouldnt of say it but c'mon annie duke is no saint either.when people dont like each other they say mean things,right? so dont stress over it girl and let them fight it out....... 1 more thing,Annie Duke...u r a B****!!!!!!!!!!!

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  21. Anonymous 8:12 - In the words of Bon Qui Qui: Rude. http://bit.ly/RS0l

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  22. To be quite honest and I am sorry that I am rehashing this but I just stumbled on this. A word is just a word until someone gives it a meaning. Or in some cases multiple meanings. I could say that so&so is gay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I am calling them homosexual. Point is that the only reason words like cunt and n***** exist is because someone thought them up and other people went along with them. Hell I could call you a flaborial and unless other people thought it was something wouldnt mean a damn thing. So if you want to blame someone, dont blame Daniel since he didnt create the word. Would you have been happier if he called her a fucking bitch instead? I am a huge fan of both of theirs and while he could have said other things he obviously chose wrong.

    Final point: Don't blame Webster for the words in his dictionary.

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  23. nice post you have...keep it up...love it..


    poker francais

    regards,
    badloi

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  24. Can't help but laugh at this. Women are always banging on about equality and whatnot, but as soon as one of you gets called a bad word, you suddenly want special treatment. Nobody would've batted an eyelid if he called another guy a cunt, or if a woman called him a cunt, or indeed if a woman called another woman a cunt.
    People call each other far worse every day in poker and in real life.
    If you want to be treated equally, you have to take the good and the bad, and accept it as it comes. You can't just expect all the benefits of being treated equally and then start complaining when you experience some of the bad stuff.
    At the end of the day, Daniel made an off-hand comment about a fellow poker player. The fact that it's been taken as more than that simply because it was directed at a woman is just kinda sad.

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  25. Wow. People are still reading this? WHY?? Sigh.

    Interesting perspective, and I see you are from the United Kingdom, where I've learned (as a result of having written this post) the word "cunt" is used fairly regularly.

    I've been to Europe and have traveled a fair amount, but I've only lived in the US. I've never heard the word "cunt" uttered during any of my travels abroad and here in the states, the word is considered by many (certainly not everyone, and I'm not even trying to speak for anyone but myself) to be derogatory, insulting and misogynistic.

    To me, misogyny (which is defined as the hatred, dislike, mistrust of women) is as abhorrent as racism (which is defined as the hatred of another race). But hey, that's just me. Might have something to do with the fact that I'm a woman.

    You said - "people call each other far worse every day in poker and in real life."

    You're absolutely right. I wasn't complaining, however, about "people" calling each other names. I was questioning one of my heroes, an icon in the poker community, the face of PokerStars, Daniel Negreanu, using such a degrading word toward a female poker player, who's also quite well known. As a female, as a lover of poker, and as a fan of Daniel, I was disappointed.

    You're right. At the end of the day, Daniel made an off-hand comment about a fellow poker player. I'm guessing - but I don't really know because I don't know him - that he doesn't feel hatred, dislike or mistrust of all women. Instead, he just obviously has a serious dislike (if not outright hatred) for Annie Duke.

    I wonder, though, if you would use the same logic to defend this issue if Daniel had used similar language against a person of color (i.e., instead of "effin' cunt", which is what he called Annie Duke, if Daniel had called a black person an "effin' n*****"?).

    If so, I'm guessing your argument would be as follows?:

    "Can't help but laugh at this. Black people are always banging on about equality and whatnot, but as soon as one of you gets called the n-word, you suddenly want special treatment...."

    I don't want any special treatment. I just didn't want to know that one of my poker heroes might be a misogynist.

    What I really want is for people to stop being misogynistic and racist, among a lot of things. But, if they're not going to (which, they're not), then I guess I have the right to make dumb posts about it and people have the right to make their comments.

    As always, this is just my opinion. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  26. Maybe it is just a cultural thing, I don't consider cunt to be derogatory to women at all, in fact I don't think I've ever even said it in reference to a woman.

    Of course I wouldn't defend such racist comments, and it's hardly the same thing. Calling someone a cunt due to a personal disliking for that person is quite different to attacking someone purely based on their race. You can't help the colour of skin, you can help acting like a cunt! Nice lawyer move though, twisting my words to accuse me of something completely unrelated to the issue.

    You're right though, it's all just a matter of opinion, I just think it was blown out of proportion. Personally if I was gonna take issue with anything people say to each other in the world of poker, it'd be the sick fucks who tell people to "go get cancer" or AIDS every day just for being bad at cards. Now that shit's offensive.

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  27. The great thing about communication, UK, is that it can help us see different perspectives if we're open to it. It rarely seems to change minds, though, and I doubt that's going to happen here for me and you.

    You say you wouldn't defend racist comments and that a man calling a woman a fucking cunt is not the same thing - that I made a nice lawyer move comparing racist language to misogynistic language. I say it's disingenuous not to see the similarities. Maybe that's hard for a man to do.

    We disagree. I'm not going to change your mind, you're not going to change mine. Not sure what else there is to say...

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  28. Apparently "cunt" is not that taboo, as seen in this Gwyneth Paltrow vid on the Chelsea Handler show (~4:20 is mark), but maybe it's safe to say that it's often used (at least by Americans?) by someone toward a person they just don't like. 

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