The Low-Low on Logos

by , Jul 12, 2008 | 10:25 pm

photo: Wicked Chops Poker
EPT Powergirl Kara Scott proudly representing the “World’s Argest Oker Ite”.

It is no secret that poker tournaments filmed for television have made logos an important part of the game. Online poker websites and companies selling poker-related products are among the most lucrative deals to be had, as they are willing to pay players in front of the cameras to advertise for them. It works – players receive bonus compensation to allow a company rep to strategically place a Full Tilt or PokerStars or All In Energy Drink sticker on their shirts or hats.

Most television production companies involved with the big tournaments now lay out specific guidelines for the number of logos allowed, as well as the size and wording of them. For example, the World Poker Tour allows only one pre-approved logo per player, no bigger than 6 square inches and located on the shirt breast pocket.

The World Series of Poker has taken a different approach, allowing multiple logos for any site or product, with a few exceptions like prohibiting gaming sites that accept U.S. customers. The specific rule about logos at the WSOP is as follows:

Tournament Rule #43:
Tournament participants may wear apparel with multiple logos, patches or promotional language. However, no individual logo, patch or block of promotional language is to be larger than 12 square inches. No single company name is to be represented more than once on any individual article of clothing. For players seated at a table taped for television or broadband video coverage, logos may not be added after the beginning of that day’s session of play.

As the 2008 WSOP hit the money, many players had sponsorship deals of some sort, and there was no shortage of logos in the tournament area. Full Tilt logos were well within the guidelines, while PokerStars pushed the envelope but somehow did not violate the rules. Other sites like UltimateBet played by the rules, except when it came to Phil Hellmuth’s jersey, the entire front of which is a UB symbol.

When I asked a WSOP official about the exception made for Hellmuth, he noted that the ESPN cameras never get the entire logo in the shots. He likened it to a player’s shirt that read “Illinois” across the front, and when I pointed out that Illinois isn’t selling itself like UB is, he said that it would simply be too arduous a task to ask everyone with a word or symbol on their shirt – like University of Michigan or Nike – to change clothes. Understandable, but is it too much to ask that an experienced pro like Hellmuth abide by the fairly clear-cut rules?

The WSOP official did mention that the logo rules will be revisited during the planning of the 2009 WSOP. Now, if someone would just tell Hellmuth…

8 Comments to “The Low-Low on Logos”

  1. DanM

    Jen, what’s your problem with Hellmuth? Who cares what he wears? He is bought and paid for by Ultimate Bet — everyone knows that so what’s the problem with him displaying it? And have we not seen a bazillion Full Tilt jerseys/hockey sweaters for years?

    What if that just happened to be someone’s lucky shirt? And what if someone wanted to wear a similar sized emblem endorsing “Obama ’08”? Does it make a difference if they’re not being paid to wear it? Because that could be his out — that he doesn’t actually have a logo-deal with UB … he just loves them a whole bunch because of other reasons. BTW, Hellmuth’s UB logo is about the same size as the logo on those nifty Pokerati t-shirts. I’m just sayin’ … those weren’t free to make, ya know!

    And as long as I’m picking at you on this one — sorry, I know you’re a little under the weather and not in the mood for hardcore debate, but your opinion is so wrong and built on a faulty premise I see things a little differently — how can you say Michigan isn’t selling itself? The school gets paid in the form of licensing fees for all the apparel it sells, and in doing so gets the added benefit of marketing itself via walking billboard!

    The only reason Michigan doesn’t pay someone to wear its logo is because it doesn’t have to! Well, I mean athletes aside … universities pay tuition so those guys can “advertise” the school every Saturday on TV.

    Do you really want to see Hellmuth wearing something different tomorrow? Would that make you happy? Because if he does that and loses, it’s gonna be your fault, ya know!

  2. California Jen


    You’re right. I’m too sick for this debate. You seem seriously defensive about this issue, and I’m not sure why.

    All I’ll say is that if there is a rule for the size of online poker site logos, then everyone should abide by that rule. That goes for Obama supporters and UB supporters alike.

    If Hellmuth busts out of the tournament, it won’t be my fault. Maybe – just maybe – it will be the fault of his ego getting in the way of his game. He can obviously wear whatever he wants because no one will tell him any different, but his apparel has nothing to do with how he performs in the tournament anyway.


  3. bundas

    see I don’t care what the poker players are wearing…

    I just want to know what Jens Wearing! This info needs to be posted via CSR daily… I should have thought about this earlier

  4. California Jen

    Bundas, it’s really not exciting – mainly jeans, t-shirts, jackets… I’ve been going for comfort, certainly not style!

  5. bundas

    Your being modest… So your saying you look Hot comfortable !! Nothing wrong with that..

  6. DanM

    Jen, you may be right. I was a little WSOP-grumpy … my semi-apologies. I suppose it’s not that hard for WSOP folks to say, hey, Phil, put on some smaller UB stuff. C’mon, man, why you making things difficult?

    At the same time, I’m just thinkin’ NASCAR … I don’t really see a problem with one primary logo on the hood of a car/chest of a player, surrounded by lots of little logos on the fenders/sleeves. Especially when business technicalities around what images are paid for and which aren’t might make any rules a little hard to enforce.

  7. California Jen

    Dan, I might have been a little fighting-the-flu grumpy, resulting in thinner skin than usual. 😉

    Hellmuth has to make everything difficult. It is in his nature.

  8. DanM

    That’s why I chose to beat up on you. It’s much easier to kick you when you are a little down.