Former PokerStars Employee Starts Smear Campaign Claiming Poker is a Luck Game

Written By James Guill on September 7, 2015
A former employee is claiming PokerStars' parent company Amaya is in fault.

A former employee of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker is claiming that the Amaya held companies are perpetuating online gambling addiction. In addition, he is spouting some wild claims, including that the game of poker is actually a luck game rather than a game of skill.

This all started on August 27 when published a press release entitled, “Ex SEO Manager of PokerStars and Full Tilt Launches Campaign to Warn People About the Dangers of Online Gambling and the Devious Marketing Campaigns Launched.”

Serge Pon, claiming to be a former SEO Manager for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, issued the press release and issued several charges against the Amaya held companies.

Search Engine Manipulation and Operating Without a License Among Charges

Pon begins the presser with information on recent figures involving online gambling addiction and then claims that online poker is a game of luck rather than skill.

He claims that he is going to expose the following about the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker:

• How PokerStars and Full Tilt manipulated search engines
• How PokerStars and Full Tilt hid gambling advertising behind editorial content
• How PokerStars and Full Tilt are operating in countries even where they have no license and their domains are constantly blocked
• How PokerStars uses celebrities and other influential people to create a myth that poker is game of skill

Pon then said that he launched to further expose the companies. However, Amaya quickly launched a lawsuit against Pon and got his site blocked.

Google Cache Revealed Some Information on Claims

While the site is currently blocked, that didn’t stop some resourceful reporters from digging further. Several pages of the website are available in Google’s cache and we were able to look at a few allegations.

We were able to access Part I, II and III of his report and it appears that Pon merely was showing a list of certain sites that Full Tilt and PokerStars had spent money to advertise on.

These sites showed the sites solicited the target websites for either PokerStars or Full Tilt, the keywords used and how much money each site received in Euros.

Part III makes a vague claim that PokerStars bought other domains to get around Russia blocking them but when going to his “examples,” again all it appeared to be is another list of sites used to advertise for PokerStars.

There was nothing particularly earth shattering about any of his allegations. In fact, much of what he showed is standard practice for most any online poker site or even online poker news site.

Disgruntled Former Employees Starting Smear Campaign

From the looks of things, this appears to be no more than a disgruntled employee attempting to start a smear campaign against his former employer.

The only problem is that he is releasing proprietary information on his company and that explains why Amaya is going after his site and pursuing legal action.

Unless a company is performing illegal activities, a non-disclosure agreement is enforceable even after a person leaves the company. If Pon has some actual hard proof of illegal activities, then he needs to present it.

Otherwise, he is merely someone trying to hurt PokerStars and their attempts to enter the legalized online poker market in California and other areas of the United States.

James Guill Avatar
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James Guill

Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

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