WPA: Destination Unknown

Wendeen Departs, Jones Returns

by , Jun 12, 2008 | 3:35 pm

The WPA announced today that Jesse Jones has returned to his status as Chairman of the Board of the organization in the wake of the resignation of Wendeen Eolis.

It came on strong. Jesse Jones started the World Poker Association with the best of intentions, and using his solid reputation in the industry and a goal-laden pitch about developing uniformity in tournament poker rules globally, the WPA energized the poker community. Integrity, worldwide, rules – all words that appealed to tournament players. Membership grew, especially with the WPA’s strong presence at the 2007 WSOP. Joseph Hachem joined the board, players anted up to become founding members, and a solid base was built.

Time went by. More time went by.

Wendeen Eolis took over as Chairperson and Jones semi-retired as Chairman Emeritus. Updates from the WPA were sporadic, not-exactly-monthly newsletters came without much news, and interest waned. Certain active members of the poker community stayed involved and helped with a code of ethics and set of tournament rules, only one of which was implemented at the 2008 WSOP (albeit only in the WPA-sponsored mega satellite), and a new board was elected. Still, many in poker awaited something tangible, something to show for their membership dollars.

The lack of public interest carried over to the WPA booth at the 2008 WSOP. The set-up has been right next to the Poker Players Alliance booth outside the Amazon Room, and the PPA has been getting significantly more traffic, likely due to the importance of the PPA in this highly-charged political season and its role in trying to change U.S. laws in poker’s favor. And the WPA booth was empty quite often… until a few days ago. Suddenly, a dapper Jesse Jones appeared and manned the area. He seemed to have a renewed energy about him, despite the oxygen tubes he wore around his face.

As it turns out, the day Jones appeared was the day Eolis submitted her resignation. And when she left, eight members of the recently-elected Board of Directors also left. (I would’ve expected to see more cohesiveness with Jones at the helm again, but that is my opinion from the outside.) Eolis is said to have been offered a role in the upcoming presidential campaign – best guess from this writer is with the McCain campaign. Jones took over in an attempt to fill empty Board positions and reignite the lost excitement about the WPA.

With nearly 1,400 members, many hope to see the WPA rebound with fresh ideas and the reputation that it began upon. Time will tell.

9 Comments to “WPA: Destination Unknown ”

  1. Poker Shrink

    Again, as with Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet and at times the WSOP and the WPT, we get stonewalling and cover-up. Did Richard Nixon teach us nothing? If WPA wants its members back then it is time for full disclosure.

  2. Kevin Mathers

    An attempt to get players organized failing? Stop the presses!

  3. DanM

    Ooh, sounds like some fun-little infighting going on?

    The WPA was one of the true winners of the 2007 WSOP. This year they look so alone and directionless.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    Maybe Louis Asmo will come back, and they can have the WPAA all over again.

    Seems weird that most of the Board would bail at the same time Wendeen did. I thought people thought highly of Jesse and would stick around to help him out.

  5. olivert

    I am trying to figure out why Wendeen and 8 board members were purged from the WPA (reading the press release between the lines, it should be clear to the reader that Wendeen did NOT leave by choice.)

    I have two uneducated guesses:

    Abuse of power?

    Misuse of WPA funds?

  6. DanM

    Almost certainly not the latter — Wendeen’s no stealer. (Right?)

    But there has to be an interesting rise-and-fall story in play here. The WPA were clear “winners” last year. And somewhere after that they seemed to lose their way.

  7. California Jen

    The story goes that the 8 board members left when Eolis left, in a follow-the-leader sort of way. But whether she was ousted or left voluntarily will probably remain a secret.

    My guess? There may have been some abuse of power but more likely an inability to take the organization in a positive direction. I don’t really know her, but from what I hear, she can be pushy instead of encouraging, and pushy – to an uncomfortable point – doesn’t work in this poker biz. On more than one occasion at the beginning of this WSOP, I encountered people actively avoiding her.

  8. juan bando

    I always thought it odd that the woman responsible for closing the poker clubs in NY had the nerve to act as a Poker advocate.

  9. Jesse Jones

    Fellow poker players,

    Below is the WPA Press Release that was distributed on June 12th. I am pleased to be back at the helm of the World Poker Association which I founded with a substantial amount of personal funds. I will be issuing another press next week to let you know about the immediate and future plans of the WPA. Please visit the WPA booth at the WSOP across from the VIP room, visit the website at http://www.wpapoker.org, or send your comments & questions to [email protected].

    Warm Regards,

    Jesse Jones
    Founder & Chairman
    World Poker Association

    World Poker Association: Changes at the Top

    On Tuesday, June 10, Wendeen Eolis announced her resignation as World Poker Association board chairman. Immediately following her announcement, Jesse Jones, Chairman Emeritus, who is also the WPA Founder and former board chairman, was unanimously reinstated. Eight board members elected two weeks ago, advocates of Eolis, have also relinquished their positions.

    Eolis facilitated the development of the WPA Code of Ethics, revision of the organization’s internal affairs, produced the first WPA Annual Meeting & Educational Conference, and helped redesigned the wpapoker.org website during her one-year term. She has been offered a role in the forthcoming U.S. presidential campaign.

    “We thank Wendeen for her valuable contributions,” said Jones. “Her resignation is warmly accepted and we wish her success in her new role.

    Jones will oversee the task of assembling additional poker industry representatives for the WPA board. “Discussions between outgoing board members and other key contacts within the poker community will now begin,” said Jones. “Our primary goal is to invite additional talent to represent and advance the interests of poker players around the globe.

    “We have a unique opportunity to form a strong board with a united vision, to promote poker as a sport by advocating professionalism and uniform rules and standards of conduct, and help to create increased economic opportunities for players worldwide.

    “We thank our members for their continued support and look forward to an exciting year in shaping the policies and practices of international poker.”

    About Jesse Jones

    Jesse Jones is a popular poker community staple who founded the WPA on November 7, 2005. When not playing in major tournaments, the retired financial planner and commercial real estate investor splits his time between homes in Las Vegas and Honolulu. Married for 20 years, Jones is a three-time throat cancer survivor. His goal is to have the WPA become the PGA of poker.

    Contact WPA

    For more information on the WPA, visit http://www.wpapoker.org or contact Jesse Jones at (702) 952-2460 to become involved.


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