In a thread on TwoPlusTwo, one pro Isaac Haxton described the signing of Joe Sebok by the WPT as “bullshit” and “mind-blowing.” Haxton writes, “It’s not like he was an investigative journalist who tried his best to dig up a story and failed. He was a paid representative of UB, spun that role as some sort of “I’m gonna get to the bottom of this!” bull****, learned nothing, and then turned around and assured people that it was safe to play on UB.” “The people who believed him lost every dime they had on the site when the **** hit the fan. He continues to tweet about his awesome life and his sweet house on Hermosa Beach that he pays for with money UB stole and gave to him to tell people they weren’t crooks. He’s never even made a proper public apology or admitted his role in helping UB rob more people.” “If anything, he doesn’t get enough hate. The fact that poker related businesses continue to pay him money to use his name in association with their products is mind-blowing.”
The reality is that many other poker pros were somehow associated to sites like UB and Full Tilt for long periods of time. Prominent players such as Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and countless others who religiously endorsed these poker sites before they went under or became distressed. Does this mean that they cannot leverage their fame and popularity without public outcry? Or that companies should not hire them to represent their brands? Not likely going to happen as long as there is a financial gain to be had.
Joe Sebok has been operating a poker radio show called PokerRoad in partnership with his stepfather, poker pro, Barry Greenstein. Joe has over 1 million followers on Twitter so likely the WPT’s decision to bring Sebok on board is to capitalize on Joe’s audience and popularity.
With the diminishing number of sponsorships by online poker sites diminishing, many of the pros will associate themselves with other poker and non-poker related entities who stand to benefit from their fame while they are still hot commodities.