Poker news website Subject:Poker calls it a day

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 29, 2012 Posted in Online Poker News, Poker Site News | 4 Comments »

I’ve been meaning to get to this article for a couple of weeks now, but with everything else going on in the poker world I simply kept putting it off, but I’ve finally gotten around to the topic of the end of the poker news website Subject: Poker.

On February 4th the website published a farewell statement, saying that the two principle owners of the site, Noah Stephens-Davidowitz and Thomas Bakker, were moving on to a new poker project (starting a poker security consulting company) and one of the main contributors on the site “Diamond Flush” would be moving as well, creating his own eponymously named news website,

The creation of Subject: Poker came about after Black Friday shook the poker world to its core, with the founders of the site looking to create a new type of poker news outlet that steered clear of affiliate marketing, thus making the news relatively unfiltered and unbiased. The site was integral in breaking a number of stories regarding Full Tilt poker in the aftermath of Black Friday, utilizing inside sources and verifying their facts before publishing.

However, as good as Subject: Poker was on the Full Tilt Poker (and to a lesser extent on UB and Absolute Poker), the site did misfire on a number of other stories, including a very damaging story they ran about the Merge Gaming Network that drew the ire of many poker affiliates, and of course the Merge Gaming Network.

With the overwhelming majority of poker affiliates utterly disgusted with Subject: poker’s Merge Gaming story (which turned out to be incorrect) the site’s reputation took a bit of hit – Affiliates bemoaned the fact their Merge Gaming signups and player-base took a hit due to Subject: Poker’s warnings that the network would soon run afoul of the DOJ, and questioned Subject: Poker’s intentions in writing the piece.

Overall, Subject: Poker did an excellent job of verifying facts and conducting real investigative journalism (something that is sorely lacking in the world of poker), unfortunately, the site proved that this type of news is not as interesting to the general poker playing population, and that at this point in time, a non-affiliate-model news site is difficult to maintain.

It will be interesting to see how Diamond Flush carries on at his new website, but it already appears that the site will continue to be as focused as Subject: Poker was, with little content other than news pertaining to Black Friday and its fallout.

Here is a look at part of the final post at Subject: Poker:

“Currently, Thomas Bakker and I are starting a poker security consulting company.1 As a result, I can no longer guarantee my independence as editor-in-chief. Subject: Poker‘s founding principle is independence, so it would be inappropriate for me to continue Subject: Poker.

“The website will stay up with all articles intact for the foreseeable future, but it will naturally become a bit of a relic as time passes and no new articles are added. I hope that it will continue to prove a useful resource for the poker community.

“Diamond Flush has decided to start a new poker news site, Diamond Flush Poker. Diamond has been an incredible member of our team who’s written many of our most important articles, including the first story to mention Full Tilt’s french investor; our story correcting the AGCC’s false numbers; all stories related to the pending deal between GBT, FTP, and the DOJ; our recent story exposing Chris Ferguson’s secret bank accounts; and many others. DFP will be inheriting much of our data, sources, and research as well. We look forward to getting our news from there, and we recommend that our readers do the same.”

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4 Responses to “Poker news website Subject:Poker calls it a day”

  1. NoahSD says:

    “Unfortunately, the site proved that this type of news is not as interesting to the general poker playing population”

    How so?

  2. Steve Ruddock says:

    Hi Noah,

    To put it bluntly: If it was worthwhile finacially you would have continued doing it, no? The average poker fan could care less about the fiancial details of Full Tilt; the hardcore players and players with money on Full Tilt definitely found your site a worthwhile read.

    Investigative journalism (which I applaud you for doing, Haley Hintze as well) is time-consuming and difficult, not to mention it limits your content to a narrow space of the poker world.

  3. NoahSD says:

    We didn’t set out to make money. We made no effort to make money. Therefore we didn’t make money.

    That’s certainly not evidence that the news wasn’t interesting to the poker community. We got tons of traffic.

  4. Steve Ruddock says:

    That was my point. The news was extremely interesting to the hardcore poker community, which is a fairly small group in the grand scheme of things. The news you provided was uninteresting to the causal poker player/fan. Probably shouldn’t waste any more time on a small throwaway line in the middle of the article 🙂 I do appreciate what you did at S:P especially knowing it wasn’t likely to be profitable

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