American poker pro Doug Polk receives a lot of attention on social media and his voice holds a lot of water in the global poker industry. Polk has criticised the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) which recently called on donors to help keep the Alliance alive due to financial difficulties. Polk said the PPA was really a supporter of PokerStars and not of poker players.
Doug Polk Not Going To Support PPA
After PPA Executive Director John Pappas stepped down from his post in February, new PPA President Rich Muny came out and said that the organization needs to raise at least $25,000 by the end of March to continue operating. Polk made it very clear that he will not be supporting the organization and argued in a tweet that PPA was working for PokerStars more than it was lobbying to support poker players.
In a statement, Polk said:
“I’d feel better trying to help if these weren’t some of the same people who lobbied against online poker in California 2 years ago. Why’d they do that? It would’ve shut out PokerStars from the market if passed… Even the lobby for online poker, is against online poker if it hurts PokerStars business.”
There is truth in Polk’s claims as a few years ago the PPA joined hands with PokerStars against tribal casino owners who wanted to keep PokerStars out of the California market. The provision in question was the bad actor clause of the online poker bill in California, where if passed would have prevented PokerStars from obtaining a license in the state for five years. The fault of PPA lies in their strong push to drop the bad actor clause, which many believe was the reason why the iGaming bill was dropped completely.
Polk Continues To Go After PokerStars
Many poker players like Todd Witteles agreed with Polk and said that PPA has represented PokerStars for a long time. However other players believe that Polk’s statement alleging that the PPA was “against online poker in California” was not entirely true since the PPA pumped in a lot of finances to support a pro-online poker bill in California to allow PokerStars to secure a license.
The bigger question is how “indebted” was the PPA to PokerStars since the operator is the PPA’s biggest funding source. The PPA responded to Polk’s claims and said that the bad actor clause that wanted PokerStars out of the field was “obstructionist.”
Polk has been a strong dissenter of PokerStars after a falling out with the brand when they changed their player rewards program to benefit recreational players more than the pros. Since then, he has attacked anything remotely connected to PokerStars, including former PokerStars Team Pro member Jason Mercier, who Polk called a “bad reg” and PokerStars ambassador Daniel Negreanu, who Polk recently called as an “embarrassment to poker.”