Sunday, November 05, 2006

Wicked Chops Poker Forgets to Mention Something Newsworthy...

Let it be known, one and all, that the "entities that comprise Wicked Chops Poker" are among my favorite reads in all of Pokerdom. They're irreverent, they're damned funny, and they'll do the digging into stories that most other poker sites and writers just aren't good enough to uncover. That said, Wicked Chops Poker has one consistent, glaring flaw --- they tend to forget to mention when they're a compromised party.

Case in point, and I mean Big Fucking Case In Point... Bodog. Now, WCP has been all assy-kissy towards Bodog for some time, which is fine in and of itself --- Bodog throws a lot of money around, and there's absolutely no reason why a saucy, attitude-heavy site like WCP wouldn't be a logical fit to Bodog's needs. I figured out many months back, well before last year's WSOP, that there was at least an informal relationship between WCP and Bodog, and it became way obvious during the WSOP when WCP's Bodog pimpage climbed to new heights. No biggee; despite my own run-ins with Bodog, what's cool is cool.

However, it was only today that I stumbled across a rather more structured tidbit that appeared on the All In Magazine site... and pretty much nowhere else except a few of those obscure Net-spidering pages that pirate other people's content. Dating from October 26, the piece is so brief that I'll repost it here in its entirety:

Bodog Names Wicked As Publicity Partner
Author: Lena Katz

Bodog named Atlanta-based Wicked PR as their full-time poker PR partner, following on the success of Wicked's non-stop Team Bodog promotion at the World Series of Poker. The poker-loving publicists were an ubiquitous presence at the WSOP, where they gave just as much love to their unknown online qualifiers as to the Bodog pros (David Williams, Josh Arieh, Evelyn Ng and a meek up-and-comer by the name of Jamie Gold).

Wicked [PR] kicked off its campaign with a press release on October 24th, where they announced the 11 players that are repping Team Bodog at the North American Poker Championship, held in Niagara this week.

For more information, visit:

So I visited, and I checked into the press archives --- and there was no mention whatsoever of Wicked PR's now-formal involvement, which was intriguing; usually, the signing on of a new firm dealing with press and media relations itself means the issuance of a press release. The October 24th press release mentioned above was there, of course, lending proof to what I already knew was true. Nor was there any mention of the formalizing of the Bodog/Wicked Chops agreement anywhere on the WCP site, which is even more intriguing, given that WCP has never had a problem with blatant self-promotion, something we've shared a chuckle or two about on previous occasions.

I hate having to call out good peoples, but I must do so here. Even good peoples need to know where the line is drawn between huckstering and journalism, and in this instance WCP is willfully blurring the line. If you need proof, check out this recent post, pimping one of the latest Bodog girls:

Nowhere is there a mention that the "entities that comprise Wicked Chops Poker" now have a vested interest in seeing that Bodog gets plenty of pimpage. Given that there's a financial relationship between the two, posts such as the above need a disclaimer to the effect that Wicked Chops' irreverent butt currently receives a Calvin-funded financial lubing. It's called journalistic ethics, and the fact that it's a website and not in print changes this not one iota.

I’m not going to bother posting the internet information that confirms that Wicked PR, Wicked Group, and Wicked Chops Poker are all one and the same. Brian registered the site, should you really need to know. (Brian, Colin and Steve are the three who write as “Chops,” “Snake” and “Addict,” specifically not in that exact order, because I choose to respect at least a little bit of their nom de plumage.)

One of the three WCP guys --- I won’t tell you which one --- and I have had an e-mail discussion where we talked to the exact same point that this point addresses. The response from that person was that “we don’t take ourselves that seriously”... and by extension, neither should I.

Sadly, it’s time to call “bullshit” on Wicked Chops Poker. If one is writing for one’s self, writing for free, then their argument applies. But when one mixes news with blatant, paid-for pimpage and one can’t be bothered to distinguish between the two, it’s time to take some names. Giving them a free ride on this would cheapen what I do when I write about poker, as it cheapens the efforts of every writer who still believes in that journalistic-integrity thing I mentioned above.

I highly respect the talent of the Wicked Chops guys. But on this stuff, they need to grow the fuck up.

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