Subject:Poker uses Rumor and Fear Mongering in their Report on th

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on Sep 13, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed, Poker Gossip | 7 Comments »

This past Thursday, the website Subject:Poker put out a piece on where they claim that the US Department of Justice will take action against the Merge Gaming Network sometime during September.  I would like to take a few moments to address the assumptions made in the article and share my thoughts.

Where Are the Facts?

First, I want to point out that I did not misspeak when I said they were making assumptions.  There is nothing in their article that equates, or even comes close, to being hard facts.

They point to supposed “sources within the Department of Justice” but refuse to point who those sources are.  How come it is nearly impossible for the CIA to pass information to the FBI without a dozen or so hoops to jump through, yet these guys can get information so easily from the DOJ?

My sources within the Merge Gaming Network have told me that they have heard nothing regarding these so called “charges.”  See what I did there Subject:Poker?  Does my sources sound any more credible than yours?

Next, did you notice that nobody has bothered to attach their name to the post.  Neither Karak, not Brian Horton, not Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, or even the so-called “Diamond Flush” has bothered to put their name on the article.  Takes a “real man” to present sources for news and won’t even put his name on it.  Let the coward that put the article together actually cop to writing it, or are you afraid to be exposed for the phony that you know you are.

PokerNews, Bluff Magazine, ESPN, and all other major news outlets that would normally report on this have noticeably stayed away from this story.  Why?  There are no facts.  They are probably waiting for either someone to collaborate with Subject:Poker or the indictments to actually come out.

Fear Mongering

Next, it seems that Subject:Poker spends a decent amount of the article hinting to players that their funds are in danger.  They say that it is unlikely that players will get funds from their accounts because current withdrawals are taking over a month to reach customers.

Also, you have to love their “source” on that one.  The lovely TwoPlusTwo forums.  Yes, 2+2 has been helpful in the past, but at the same time, they produce an inordinate amount of rubbish, including those that troll, post on fake accounts, etc.

I went through the thread they post on, and while it is true that some are reporting taking over a month to get money, there are others that are getting money in a few days.  Got to love the fact that they failed to report this fact.  Also, based on reports from others on the thread, that is much fast than some of the other U.S. facing networks.  (And obviously a helluva lot better than Full Tilt and UB.  Hey Howard, where’s our damn money.)

And what about the vagueness of it all?  At some point in September, it may be mid-September and it may be late-September.  However, things could change and it could be later.  Sounds like they are going with Homeland Securities’ releases about terrorism.  They have some reports.  They don’t know when or where, but there are rumors that terrorists are going to strike.

Vague reports coupled with trying to scare people that already play on the site does not appear to be responsible journalism to me.

Merge Not Worried

The Merge Gaming Network does not appear all that worried over the supposed “charges” that Subject:Poker has apparently created out of thin air.  Carbon Poker, Lock Poker, Poker Host, Hero Poker, and all the other sites on the network continue to operate “business as usual.”

In addition, Lock Poker continues to sign new pros to their roster.  If they were concerned that there was any truth to this, don’t you think they would slow down promotion?

What’s Their Real Agenda?

So, what is the real agenda behind Subject:Poker’s posting of this article?  They claim they are doing it because it is the “right thing to do.”  At least that is what Noah Stephens-Davidowitz claimed in his comments.

He also claims that he has withheld information because it would harm the poker community.  What do you think that releasing a vague article that clearly will stir fear and panic among the poker players still playing in the U.S will do?  It will harm people.  It will scare people playing at the site and they may withdraw their funds now.  Those on the fence on whether to play at the site will now pull back and not play.  Affiliate sites will lose out on money made.  Even those at the site will lose out because they will not get more money coming into the site.

How does Subject:Poker benefit? Increased traffic.  They get more eyeballs looking at a site that is currently a money pit.  The site does not make money.  They have no advertising, and except for articles like this, they are barely mentioned by other outlets.

The site needs some reason to draw people to it, so they release an article where they claim they are helping the poker community while spreading vague “so-called facts” that equal to nothing but rumor.  They are doing this to hopefully get themselves noticed and to make money.  That is what is seems to me.

In the end, the report on Subject:Poker should be treated as pure conjecture and guesswork based on the work of whichever coward at the site decided that it was good to drum up traffic with a scare piece.

A real journalist provides some type of verifiable facts when they release a report such as this, not just a bunch of rumors.  At some point, I hope that Subject:Poker will actually prove that they are legitimate journalists and not just provide the facts but also the identity of the so called “reporter.”  Otherwise, many of us will continue to consider it pure rumor and speculation on par with that you find in the TwoPlusTwo gossip boards.

For those playing at sites on the Merge Gaming Network, or really any other U.S. facing site, there is no verifiable reason to think that your money is in any more danger than it has been since the time you deposited it.  Don’t let vague reports such as those at Subject:Poker influence you.  Do your own research and continue to play the game that many of us love.

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7 Responses to “Subject:Poker uses Rumor and Fear Mongering in their Report on the Merge Gaming Network”

  1. NoahSD says:

    Please don’t put a false quote in your article. The article does not contain the phrase “sources within the Department of Justice.”

  2. Ryan says:

    “They are doing this to hopefully get themselves noticed and to make money. That is what is seems to me.”

    So a site that publicly refuses to take ads or monetize itself is releasing news to make money?

    Please let us know how Subject Poker plans to make money off of this and lets revisit this story in a month or two and see if you turn out to be correct.

    If you truly believe what you wrote above, you should reexamine a lot of the things you say about Subject Poker.

    Things like a poker site continuing to hire pros is not a reflection of a lack of danger, how you draw that conclusion is beyond me.

    Another issue is that you somehow conclude that because two notoriously stubborn and powerful orgs (FBI, CIA) cannot communicate together that there’s no way a DOJ source would leak. What? Have you looked at standard articles in newspapers before? The DOJ has plenty of leaks that absolutely do not benefit their work on cases. So does the FBI, CIA, US military, White House and virtually any large visual org.

    All Noah’s article says (and he takes full responsibility for it publicly, both on his site and on 2p2), is that a source he deems reliable enough to post about says that the DOJ is currently planning to target the Merge Network’s processors and maybe other parts of their business. He doesn’t say this means they will be indicted tomorrow, if ever, he actually says that is not clear in the article.

    Instead of responding inflammatory, just as Merge has, why not just acknowledge that Noah and SP has a stronger track record on the Full Tilt issue than the LA Times or Forbes or any other poker media does, and that the story doesn’t mean Merge funds are in danger because Merge protects player funds and keeps them away from operational funds and takes precautions to process player cashouts in a responsible manner? That looks like a very serious, truthful and reasonable response. Instead, they try to paint Noah and SP as something they are completely the opposite of: speculation, attention whoring and misreported stories.

    This doesn’t have to be a Merge vs SP story, nor does it have to be a “if you believe it we’re all screwed, so lets lie about things, exaggerate other things and pretend Noah doesn’t have an excellent track record as a poker journalist.” Unfortunately, that’s the route some skins and affiliates have taken in response to this story.

  3. Turb0 says:

    Why are you so upset?

    Your article isn’t even informative, it’s just you bashing S:P for their article, and doing it in poor fashion.

    Clearly, I see some tension between you and S:P, but only you and they would know the better half of that, if it in fact so exsist, I don’t know.

    FWIW, It’s not impossible to have a “source” anywhere, rememeber that. There is always someone out there, who has a relative, cousin, in-law of someone who knows someone, etc. Highly doubt they made a “DOJ Source” up.

    You’re surprised they won’t release their source? What sane person would? especailly a federal level source, with viable information possibly in the future in future regards to online poker.

  4. Steve Ruddock says:

    First, to all of the people blasting the article for being too hard on S:P, the article is an Op-Ed, not a news story (it says that in the category tag at the top).

    Second, I believe the criticism S:P has recieved has to do with the tremendous amounts of conjecture in the original article. If their “source” states that payment processors are being investigated, why bring up the segragation of funds and other issues that have nothing to do with the payment processors? Or say “It is not immediately clear what will happen next and how players should react to this news.”

    When you write an article and call it “straight news” you can’t fill it with possibilities and worst case scenarios. the reporting may be spot on about the processors, but all people see in that article is ‘Merge Gaming is going down’ –whether it explicitly says so, or is implied, is a moot point. Most people are simply going to panic after everything else they have been through since April 15.

  5. john davis says:

    I’m glad someone else took issue with the sp article. The guy that wrote it is a attention whore and he obviously has a personal issue with merge. It’s a classsic case of abusing the blind trust people have in his writing.

    Congrats for having the guts to write this. If nothing else, it will make people at least make people think twice before believing everything that sp or noah himself writes.

  6. poorbooy9 says:

    Subject Poker is a complete joke, there is not a chance in hell that the doj would leak information that is vital to its case and to leak it to a noname poker website that most of us never even heard of before this. To the point of Subject Poker doing this to make money and get noticed, whoever says this is not true take a look at the top right hand corner at Subject Poker there is a donation tab which i am sure Noah wants every1 to see. With new poker rooms and new poker pros joining merge as we speak ,that should speak volumes to all players about how serious Merge is taking this, Merge is taking this bull crap article for what it is a complete load of crap

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