Shenanigans at Texas Charity Tourney?

by , Feb 8, 2010 | 11:29 am

We know little because we’re thousands of miles away, but why am I not shocked that what coulda been the greatest thing ever — poker that helps a bunch of kids on Super Bowl Sunday — has left at least a few people with a sour taste in their mouths?

I sent an email trying to find out how many people played, how much money was raised, and what celebs if any may have gone deep in the biggest freeroll in Texas history … but instead learned from Dallas CAN!, the charity who helped make it happen:

Went ok the poker company we partnered with did some things that were not right to help our charity and although we packed the place and paid up front for everything, we never saw a dime last night.

35 Comments to “Shenanigans at Texas Charity Tourney?”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Is this really shocking news?

    EDIT: Guess you weren’t shocked either, what I get for not reading your first sentence again.

  2. DanM

    So not … I don’t even know who ran it or how it was put together, let alone any game-day details, but it’s just so damn disheartening to hear for those of us who actually wanna believe poker can be a good thing for good people.

  3. Justin


    That sucks man, can you get Eric Celeste or Tim Rodgers from D Magazine (your Dallas poker buddies right?) look into and find out how the charity got screwed over? This would probably be a good story for them too.

  4. Sanbob

    I was there for a total of an 1hr. It wasn’t ran very well. Looked and felt like a giant amateur league tournament at a bar. We had to deal to ourselves and we used round banquet tables. The tables where probably furnished by Gilley’s. My guess the people who put the poker tournament on only brought the chips. I know at my table there was 6 VIP people and two of them paid $50 more for a Trulucks bounty chip….sooo that means at my table there was a total of $400 in donations for the charity. I think the number of table was around 80 or 90. So lets figure that on average the donations at each table was $250 x 90 tables = $22500 conservative figure. So where did all the money go…..there was only one seat given away and that’s $10000. SO WHERE IS THE OVER $12000 that was left over???????

  5. Sanbob

    “It wasn’t ran very well. Looked and felt like a giant amateur league tournament at a bar.”
    No offense to the LODGE amateur tourny from back in the day….Dan I have to say you ran a great tournament the few times I had a chance to play at the Lodge….

  6. DanM

    no offense taken, sanbob … and thanks for filling us in. Dallas CAN! tells me they will run poker tournaments in the future, but will go with another company.

    just get dismayed when people (get paid to) run bad poker events and behave shadily in the process. hurts all of us.

  7. Harris

    I agree. It’s one thing to run a bad tourny but to do it in a shady way also. Screwing the charity that’s paying you, how low do you have to be to do something like that. Next time they want to run one we should go down there and help them run it.

  8. scott diamond

    I wish I could pack the house at my Charity Event. As you all know it is at the Bicycle casino. It’s a $120..0 buy in for 1500 chips an extra $30.00 add on will get you 500 more chips. $60.00 rebuys for first 3 levels and ALL money goes to Charity.

    It will be run by the Bicycles casino Tournament Staff using their dealers in the New Event Center.

    We have to pay for the dealers and food and a few prizes but the rest goes to Fallen Heroes.

    We use about 5% of the money for marketing the following years tournament but we have over 350 raffle prizes, Full Tilt is on Board again donating tables and chip sets and several pro’s will be attending.

    I do not want to sound bias, but ask anyone who has been to out last 3 events.

    You will not only have a shoy at winning many great prizes you will have alot of fun too1 Charity Events are a dime a dozen anymore, but this one here in LA I promise you will enjoy and if anyone ever wants to see our books your welcome to!
    got ot look at some of the pictures from past events.

  9. DanM

    deputy, hope your tourney goes well. i know it’s coming up, but what i don’t know is the DATE!

  10. Marvin C

    I was going to play since I didn’t care who won the Super Bowl. However, when they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me who was running the tournament, I stayed home; good thing. I wanted to know if they had ever run a tournament of that size. From experience I know that the bigger it is, the hader it is.

    It appears I made the right decision not to play; that this was the “Peter Principle” in action.

    With Texas trying to get legalized poker, this makes it harder. This gives poker a bad name. It’s a good thing Joan Rivers wasn’t here.

  11. scott diamond

    February 19th, Dinner and registration is 5pm-7pm. Tourney starts at 7pm after introductions and thank you’s.

    Bicycle Casinos New Event Center, there should be an ad in All-In Magazines new edition also.

  12. zachdealer

    I’ve delt a few charity tournaments in Dallas. They are all wack!

  13. Johnny Hughes

    In the Texas music business, there have been benefit ripoffs a long time, but not every time. I’d sue somebody stealing, or worse. One time this rip off group did a benefit for C.B. Stubblefield aka Stubbs, from the Lubbock and Austin bar-b-q joints. The organizer was going to steal the money, but Joe Ely and Terry Allen stole it and gave it to the IRS, whom is was intended for. Anytime there is a benefit, start asking up front about controls, and keeping slicks from going south with the long green.

  14. DanM

    well to be fair (and there’s another post coming), there are two sides to every story. i’ve spoken with the chief of the poker operations company. and they swear it was a disagreement over terms of the contract — not someone just running off with someone else’s cash.

    anything is possible. what i’ll conclude at this point is that this was a matter of the someone not-so-big in the poker world not being able to play nice with someone in the more established charity world.

  15. Snapperhead

    TD Pro and Drop N Aces “Entertainment” were “co-sponsors” Is anyone suprised at the results?????

    Of course it was like this because it always is…..Who do you think runs all the amateur poker tournaments at local bars?????

    These guys are one giant SCAM!!! A couple of them say they are “pros” when in fact no one has seen them win anything…..

    every one of their events is the same thing – you qualify for this qualifier to qualify for another qualifier, etc. etc. etc.

    And they say its for a seat at the WSOP ?? are they sanctioned by the WSOP??? May be something the WSOP would like to know

  16. Drop N Aces

    Let me set some things straight. I am the owner of Drop N Aces Entertainment. I was approached by the to run this event, i.e. tournament direct and use my equipment. I placed a bid for running the event which was too much for the WFRPT. At that time I pulled out and DID NOT RUN THIS EVENT. The APL or Amateur Poker League and the World FreeRoll Poker Tour are the ones that ran this event. Now I admit and agree that the event was not ran well, I was there as a player. I also agree that this is horrible for Texas POker that they would screw the charity. By the way, Snapperhead, what you are saying about my company and TDPro is Slander, and we can take action against you. So to set this straight, Drop N Aces and TDPro had no involvement in this event, and we are embarassed that our company names were attached to it.

  17. John J. Gately


    TDPro and Drop N Aces had nothing to do with this event. Yes, our name was on their website saying we were sponsors. We did not promote, nor did we run this event. So your facts are wrong! You might be facing a Slander law suit from my company in the coming weeks. For the event it self, the people that ran this event was Carlos Vielma from the WFRPT and WPT/APL! I feel sorry for the Charity that did not receive the donation they should have.

    So if anyone would like to speak with me about this, my number is below my name, feel free to call me anytime!

    John J. Gately
    VP of Technology
    TDPro, LLC

  18. Gene House


    I am the President and CEO of TDPro.

    I highly recommend you write a retraction and contact me by phone at 660-672-1080 within 72 hours. I want to know if this slander is a concoction of yours or if there are others involved. If you choose not to cooperate, I will have a slander case placed against you and have you in deposition to get the answers I am seeking.

    Your slanderous statements have already made there way into our community and have our customers and friends questioning what this is about. We have worked very hard to build a credible reputation both as a company and as individuals and we have zero tolerance for slanderous lies.

    We are a very reputable company with thousands that will attest to the quality of the tournaments that we manage. We also are big supporters of charity organizations, which will also attest to our charitable support efforts. For example, at our last charitable effort we raised over 2,500 pounds of food for the North Texas Food Bank and it cost them nothing for our efforts. We do this type of effort as often as possible each year.

    If it comes to our attention that anyone else is spreading this slander, they too will become a party to this action and the cost for damages will increase.

    I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your retraction.

    Gene House

  19. DanM

    Thanks for clarifying JJG and DNA. With all due respect, I’m not taking it on myself to “solve” this case. I tried to do the event a favor by giving it some “big time” press, and it turned out to not be worth the effort.

    Carlos Vielma contacted me to give his side of the misunderstanding, but to be honest, I tend not to trust people who address me as “buddy” when we’ve never before met. Still, his story seemed plausible.

    I did, however, do some checking, and as far as I can tell, TDPro had nothing to do with this event, nor did Drop ‘N’ Aces. Where do you get your info, Snapperhead? I’m loathe to take down comments, but we may have to lose yours if it is potentially libelous.

    This event was a World Freeroll Poker Tour – Dallas CAN joint. That much we know. Dallas CAN believes they got screwed, and WFRPT believes they are being slandered. This is where I make no call. Coinflip for the courts. .

    However, DNA and JJG I can see where the reader might think you guys are all connected:

    WFRPT makes it seem like you are close, platinum-level partners in all that you do. Can’t find a connection with Drop N Aces. I also am not sure what the WPT/APL really had to do with it beyond having their logo (mis?)appropriated.

    Re-reading the original problematic comment, it seems that Snapperhead thinks you guys are connected to this event via sponsorial relationship with WFRPT. I can see why that could be a problem when your biggest offense may have been at some point getting in bed with someone who may or may not at a later date have been on the wrong side of a contractual disagreement.

  20. Snapperhead

    Your last paragraph is exactly my point Dan, your name sure is on it. A reasonable person would sure assume you had something to do with it.

    I got my information directly from the website for the tourney which has been pasted below. Perhaps if you dont want yourself associated with such “shenanigans” as this blog states this event was, you may want to remove yourselves from being “supporting sponsors” as the below info suggests. And again that was copy and pasted directly from the event website. Furthermore if you go to the website for the company that ran the event, again, your company is associated. Perception is reality. Sure after some “looking into it” you guys may not have “promoted” it or anything else but……your name sure is on it.

    Slander for repeating something that was on an event website that you acknowledge you were a of sponsor of?? It wasn’t my event……….Again, maybe you should get with them on why you were associated with it if you in fact were not involved.

    “These guys” generally means the people that run the various “free” tourney’s around town where you devote a lot of time and money to chase something that, in fact, isnt really there. I did not say “TD Pro” or “DropNAces” and I apologize to you both if you happen to run similar events as these “free” ones and are offended that people think they are not what they are cracked up to be.

    Perhaps if theses “free poker leagues” had a better reputation we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    “Supporting Sponsors: The World FreeRoll Poker Tour, The VMG Marketing Group,, WPTAPL – DFW Region 535, TDPro Dealer Buttons, and SpeedZone”

  21. DanM

    Ahh, thanks for your reply to the reply to the reply, Snapperhead. I just missed those pimpages at the bottom of this page here:

    So now the question is did WFRPT use these names when they were not supposed to? Or perhaps they just thought they were giving some added value to some longtime, valued clients of theirs? I’d ask if DNA got in on a freeroll, but everyone got in on a freeroll, lol.

    Remember, Carlos Vielma still insists they did nothing wrong; that they had a contractual agreement with Dallas CAN! and they lived up to their end of the bargain while DC may or may not have.

    You know, now I’m curious what the relationship really was with the WPT. Seems a little odd that the WPT would be a major sponsor of an event where the prize was a WSOP seat.

  22. John J. Gately

    Thanks for the chance to clarify our position in this matter. In the past we have partnered up with the WFRPT on events. This is a matter of advertising and promotions, just like Coke, Budweiser, etc, do with companies (and SpeedZone, Limo George, Howasaboutbeer, and Blitz Magazine do with WFRPT). As a sponsor for events (with Carlos and other leagues), we do not control how events are ran. Like other companies looking for advertising, we make a donation of some kind but do not run the event and are not held liable for issues with the event. That is the managing company’s responsibility, which in this case was the WFRPT and WPT/APL.

    One of our concerns is that we were singled out for blame, but none of the other sponsor companies were called out. WPT/APL, who did help him run this event, was also not blamed for the issues.

    WPT/APL was involved in the event as their tournament directors were running it after Drop N Aces and I could not come to an agreement with Carlos to run the event. (Mike from Drop N Aces and myself are certified tournament directors from Matt Savage “Tournament Director Association”

    I would like to point out one more fact about TDPro. Every year we do a Free-roll in the Dallas area. Our last event was held on Nov 1, 2009, at Gilley’s. This was a 1,000 person, $3,500 Free-Roll Tournament, and we had over 800 players show up. We had sponsors such as Choctaw Casino, Beau Rivage Casino, Buffalo Thunder Casino, The Poker Depot, Poker Pro Magazine, etc. WE NEVER CHARGED a dime to players for our event. We also partnered with the North Texas Food Bank. For every canned food item a player brought and donated to the North Texas Food Bank they received an extra $100 in chips (max of $1,000 per-person). We raised 2,537 pounds of food for them, which was the largest single day donation for them other than the State Fair. Don’t take my word for it, please contact the North Texas Food Bank yourself if you like.

    Lydia Rudy
    Volunteer Coordinator
    North Texas Food Bank
    Imagine… A World Without Hunger
    [email protected]
    Office: 214-347-9573
    Fax: 972-331-4104

    Again, if anyone would like to speak with me, please feel free to call me!

    John J. Gately
    VP Technology
    Certified: Tournament Director


  23. DanM

    I’m just now seeing Mr. House’s response for the first time, as is everyone else — sorry, it got caught in our spam filter. Can I presume cooler heads are prevailing?

  24. John J. Gately


    You are digging yourself a hole and you will not be able to dig your way out of it. So you would have trashed talked a major company like Nike if their name was on the sponsor list? Why did you not single out the other sponsors?

    You stated “TD Pro and Drop N Aces “Entertainment” were “co-sponsors” Is anyone suprised at the results?????”

    Sponsors do not run events..Sponsor are looking for advertisement! Our names were not to be on there website once we did not work out an agreement with Carlos..They failed to take it down!

    You stated “These guys are one giant SCAM!!!” Since there was no other companies listed in your post..Then you are implying, we are the ones doing the scam!

    You stated: “every one of their events is the same thing – you qualify for this qualifier to qualify for another qualifier, etc. etc. etc.” Again, no other companies talked about but TDPro and Drop N Aces.

    TDPro does not have a league, we only do one Free-Roll a year.

    Drop N Aces does not have qualifier tournament for anything..At the end of the year their players play for a $1,500 seat at the W.S.O.P.

    You say “And they say its for a seat at the WSOP ?? are they sanctioned by the WSOP??? May be something the WSOP would like to know” No one is sanctioned by the W.S.O.P. anyone can get a seat…All you need is money!”

    Last chances to call Gene or myself to clear this matter up. You have both our numbers and we are willing to listen to you..However, if we have not heard from you by the deadline Gene has set, we will have our attorney file the paperwork.

    Again, if anyone would like to speak with me, please feel free to call me!

    John J. Gately
    VP Technology
    Certified: Tournament Director


  25. Snapperhead

    Mr. House,

    I respect your concern over this posting as well as the professional response to this whole blog.

    I have in fact played in your annual tournament and agree that it was very well done comparitively speaking. I also have seen your Pro Dealer buttons in use and although I havent played with them for any long periods, I think they are an interesting concept.

    Having said that, I will retract my statement which apparently seems to infer that “TDPRO” was responsible (despite being a “co-sponsor) for the “shenanigans” at the tournament relating to this blog. I also applaud your efforts to support local charites. I have played in YOUR annual tournament and I must say I was impressed with the results. But, again, that is an annual tournament to raise money, etc. for charity.

    I have also played in MANY, MANY, tournaments around the area in local drinking establishments, etc. that are run by companies such as Dropnaces (hereafter DNA), APL, NPPL, WFRPT,NPPL, etc. etc. etc. all of whom seem to have the same M.O. I’m QUITE certain that many people will agree that those are not what they are cracked up to be and very often, at minumum, straddle the letter of the law (see “sanbob’s” post above). And yes many of them including DNA (whose events I have played at) have qualifiers, to qualify for something else, which qualifies you for something else. Or you get points to quailify for something else. And again, there are MANY people out there that would attest to this.

    Having said all of that, and after this being cleared up by you and others, I again retract my statement that suggest that TDPRO was responsible for these “shenanigans” as it appears as though you were not. You have run at least one tournament that I have been to that was well above par and thus far with your support of charities, etc. you seem to be a reputable company.

    One thing you might learn from being a CEO of a company is that not everyone will like your product/services or agree with what you are doing. I dont know how far you will get by threatening lawsuits against everyone that offers their opinion about an event your WERE “associated” with. You may need to be associated with more reputable people (i.e. guilty by association). For example, If Coca Cola comes out with a new product and say….Fanta is involved and listed on the packaging, it is not a lie to say “are you surpised?,Fanta was associated with this and Fanta sucks.” That is my opinion. I dont like Fanta………..

    I hope you accept the retraction of insinuating that TDPRO was involved and I hope this clears the air as far as TDPRO is concerned. Also,having what appears to be your underling, Mr. Gately, continually post threatening comments will not help this matter any.


  26. Snapperhead

    Also,you may need to read the other posts on here as well as it appears as though the local freerolls and in fact SOME charity tourney’s arent a very big hit. But again, I’m sure TDPRO has nothing to do with those. Perhaps your company can turn the consensus around as that would be a welcome change.


  27. Drop N Aces


    I have read your recent postings in response to Gene House CEO TDPro and John Gately VP Technologies TDPro. I appreciate your retraction of your statements towards TDPro, but the fact remains you have not retracted your statements towards my company. You like to blame me for skirting the limits of the law with what I do, but in fact I have a open relationship with the TABC and local DA’s office. I have never done anything outside of the law in regards to “free” poker. You accuse me of having qualifiers for qualifiers, when in fact I have a yearly tournament in which you become qualified one time to play in. I give a $1500.00 seat away to the winner of my yearly tournament. Please refer to, click on league rules, then click on Player Bill of Rights. My last years winner was George Vaughn, this man is hearing impaired. Yes I sponsored a hearing inpaired person in the 2009 WSOP!

    I have too played in all the other leagues. I have worked hard to create a fun league for my players to play in.

    I am also a big supporter of charities. Drop N Aces has been involved with many little league baseball charity tournaments to help raise money for their equipment. Drop N Aces has worked with the “It’s My Heart Foundation”, a charity to help families with children with heart problems. Drop N Aces was involved with TDPro on the event for the Texas Food Drive.

    So to sit back and see you slander my company and calling me a “scam” is very offensive.

    I will let you know that I have contacted my attorney and will be taking action if you do not send me a retraction and an apology.

  28. Drop N Aces



    Why don’t stop hiding behind the protection of the internet. Be a man, and let’s talk. You know who I am. Here is my number.


  29. Snapperhead

    I apologized/retracted my statement about TDPRO as they are a reputable company. Again that is my opinion just like I think these amateur poker leagues are a scam, thats my opinion. But instead of having a intellectual blog exchange about why myself and MANY others think these leagues are so shady, out comes the threats. I think the Ford Mustang isnt as fast as the Camaro……..who cares. If that sways you from buying a Ford Mustang I’m sorry.

    I have played in several of your tournaments and know what goes on. Are you telling me that you have NEVER had a tournament which qualifies you for another tournament to win a seat somewhere or some other prize????? Careful how you respond because MANY people will say differently. There are also MANY people will agree with me as you can see from previous postings on this blog about amateur poker league tourney’s generally. Many of them are in fact are a scam where most of the time it isn’t what is seems (i.e. not giving away anything, what they are giving away isnt “really” what they are giving away, etc. etc. etc., they tell you they are going to give away something then at the last second it is something different, they dont tell you what the prize is going to be until the tourney itself, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the poor tourney management, equipment, etc. I will give it to DNA though, you do run a better tourney and have better equipment than most of the other leagues.

    MANY, MANY of the same kind of companies (i.e. Amateur Poker Leagues) have failed as a result of those same issues. If you are different than ALL of those and have in fact never been a part of the above listed issues, than, indeed, I apologize and retract my statement.

    As far as charities go, I’m glad that you contribute and I respect you for that. But, again, there are those “amateur leagues/groups” out there that hide behind charities just to be able to have a tournament where $$$ can be paid out (i.e $2000 No Limit Hold’em Tourney for sufferers of Athlete’s Feet) This blog started somewhere and it wasnt with me. I shared my opinions and have since apologized/retracted any harmful statements I may have made about TDPRO’s involvement of the lack thereof.

    And again, if you are one of these amateur leagues that is what they say they are and are 100% legit about everything, I apologize. By the way, it seems as though your 2009 WSOP winner had to qualify at a previous tourney/tourney’s to get a chip to play at the tourney to win that prize????? Or I may be mistaken……….

  30. Snapperhead

    that will be my last post, good luck in all your future endeavors

  31. John J. Gately

    Hello all,

    I thought this would be a good read for everyone.

    Libel And Slander Facts,

    LIBEL AND SLANDER occur when a person or entity communicates false information that damages the reputation of another person or entity. Slander occurs when the false and defamatory communication is spoken and heard. Libel occurs when the false and defamatory communication is written and seen. The laws governing libel and slander, which are collectively known as DEFAMATION, are identical.

    A plaintiff who wishes to sue an individual or entity for libel or slander has the burden of proving four claims to a court: First, the plaintiff must show that the DEFENDANT communicated a defamatory statement. Second, the plaintiff must show that the statement was published or communicated to at least one other person besides the plaintiff. Third, the plaintiff must show that the communication was about the plaintiff and that another party receiving the communication could identify the plaintiff as the subject of the defamatory message. Fourth, the plaintiff must show that the communication injured the plaintiff’s reputation.

    There are four general defenses to slander and libel. Truth is an absolute defense. Consent by the plaintiff for the publication of the defamatory statement is a defense. Accidental publication of the statement is a defense. Finally, the statements of certain defendants in certain circumstances, such as lawyers, judges, jurors, and witnesses, are protected from defamation for PUBLIC POLICY reasons. This type of protection is known as privilege.

    Prior to the American Revolution, the laws regarding slander and libel stemmed from the English COMMON LAW system, which permitted the publishers of LIBELOUS material to be prosecuted and jailed. James Madison saw the need for a press free from governmental restraint, and the Constitution’s First Amendment reflects this value by prohibiting laws abridging FREEDOM OF SPEECH or FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.

    Prior to 1964, laws regarding slander and libel were made by the states. Courts at that time did not believe that libelous or slanderous communications were protected by the United States Constitution; therefore, defamation was an issue for the states rather than the federal government.

    In 1964, the United States Supreme Court heard the case of The New York Times v. Sullivan, and the law of defamation changed drastically. For the first time, the Supreme Court recognized that the First Amendment, which protects an individual’s freedom of speech and expression, protects even speech and expression that is defamatory. In Sullivan, the plaintiff was a public official who sued The New York Times for libel after the newspaper published certain unfavorable allegations about him. The Supreme Court discussed the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states in part that “Congress shall pass no law abridging freedom of speech or of the press.” The First Amendment exists, according to the Court, to help protect and foster the free flow and exchange of ideas, particularly on public or political issues. The Founding Fathers of the United States valued open debates regarding political issues or governments, determining that citizens in a democracy need a free marketplace of ideas in order to become informed and make good decisions. Open debates often become caustic and emotional, with opponents sharply attacking one another in the effort to persuade others. Sanctioning defamatory speech or expression would put an end to such attacks, but sanctions would also jeopardize the free marketplace of ideas by effectively censoring free and open debate.

    The Court saw the need for balancing an individual’s right to be protected from false and defamatory accusations with the country’s right to be informed via a free marketplace of ideas. It determined that in the case of a public official, such as the police official in Sullivan, the First Amendment rights of free speech and expression outweigh the public official’s rights unless the public official can prove that the defendant acted with actual MALICE. Actual malice means that the defendant who communicates a defamatory statement does so knowing that the statement is false or very likely false. The defendant need not harbor ill will toward the plaintiff for the public official to recover in an action for slander or libel; the public official need only prove that the defendant knew that the defamatory statement was false or had serious doubts as to its truth.

    The actual malice standard only applies to public officials or public figures who sue for slander or libel. Other examples of public officials include elected officials, such as governors or senators, or non-elected government employees with substantial responsibility or control over public affairs. Courts have held that candidates for public office also are public officials and must prove the actual malice standard before prevailing in libel or slander lawsuits.

    The Supreme Court in 1967 expanded the actual malice standard for public officials to include public figures as well. Public figures, unlike public officials, are not government officials but instead are extremely prominent private citizens whose prominence allows them to use the mass media to influence policy. Public figures, by the Court’s definition, thrust themselves into the public arena. Examples of public figures include famous movie actors, musicians, professional athletes, authors, and others who are so prominent as to be household names.

    Courts also recognize limited-purpose public figures, who may not be known in all households but are known for their involvement in a limited public controversy. Examples of limited-purpose public figures may include an attorney representing a notorious criminal in a highly publicized trial or the winner of a multi-million dollar lottery. Courts do not allow the media to create public figures or limited purpose public figures merely by thrusting private citizens into the spotlight; public figures must voluntarily place themselves in the spotlight by, for example, deciding to buy a lottery ticket or by deciding to play football professionally. Public figures and limited-purpose public figures must demonstrate a defendant’s actual malice before prevailing in a libel or slander lawsuit.
    Elements of Defamation

    To prove that a written or verbal statement is defamatory, it is sufficient for a plaintiff to prove that at least one person who received the communication believed that it was detrimental to the plaintiff’s reputation. A message that decreases respect for the plaintiff or confidence in the plaintiff or causes disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions about the plaintiff is detrimental to the plaintiff. Even a message that is intended as a joke may be defamatory if at least one person believes it to be serious.

    The plaintiff must next prove that the defamatory statement was published. In the law of defamation, the term publication merely means that the statement, either written or spoken, was communicated to someone other than the plaintiff. It is not necessary that the statement be printed or distributed for it to be considered published slander or libel. Publication may occur when the defendant is speaking to another person or group of people. It may occur when the defendant sends an e-mail message or writes a personal letter. It may occur when the defendant speaks loudly on an elevator and other people hear. It may occur when the defendant writes a newspaper article or book or draws a cartoon and posts it on a bulletin board. However, if the defendant intends to keep communication with the plaintiff private and communicates in a way that demonstrates that intent, publication does not occur when a third party inadvertently receives the communication. For example, a defendant who faxes the plaintiff a letter critical of the plaintiff’s work skills is not guilty of publishing the letter if the plaintiff’s co-worker receives and reads the letter by mistake.

    An entity that republishes a defamatory statement is equally liable as the original publisher. This law means that a newspaper editor who receives a letter to the editor defaming another person is just as liable as the letter’s writer if the letter ends up in print in the newspaper. However, this rule applies only if the entity knew or had reason to know the defamatory nature of the statement. Therefore, libraries and bookstores usually are not liable for republishing libelous material.

    A plaintiff may not recover for libel or slander without proving that the defamatory statement identified the plaintiff. A defamatory statement that names the plaintiff clearly identifies the plaintiff as the subject of the defamation. Not all defamatory remarks name the subject, however, and defamatory messages alone do not damage reputations. A damaged reputation only occurs when recipients of the message know who the message is defaming. Defamation against one unidentified member of a general group or category of people is not slanderous or libelous. For example, a false ACCUSATION that an otherwise unidentified student at the state university cheated on final exams is not slanderous or libelous because the student remains unidentifiable. The question becomes more difficult if the message offers more identifiable information. A false accusation that a red-haired female business major who lives on the second floor of her sorority house and drives a black sports car cheated on a final exam in her accounting class could be slanderous or libelous if the female business major could show that others identified her as the subject of the defamation.

    The final element of slander or libel is that the defamatory statement damaged the plaintiff’s reputation, and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result. Certain defamatory messages are slanderous or libelous PER SE, meaning that the plaintiff need not prove that the message damaged his or her reputation. Libel or slander per se occurs when the message accuses the plaintiff of committing a crime, of having a loathsome disease, or of being professionally incompetent. Other types of messages may damage the plaintiff’s reputation, but because they are not per se slanderous or libelous, it remains the plaintiff’s burden to prove that the defamation damaged his or her reputation.
    Defenses to Libel and Slander

    If the defendant can show that the substance of a defamatory statement is essentially true, then the plaintiff’s claim for slander or libel will fail. For example, assume that the defendant publicly ACC– USED his boss of cheating on taxes. The boss could sue for slander or libel, depending on whether the accusation was written or spoken. If the defendant could prove that the boss actually did cheat on taxes, the defendant would prevail. If the defendant had no proof of such tax cheating, the plaintiff would prevail.

    If the plaintiff consents to the publication of the defamatory information, the plaintiff may not prevail in a lawsuit for slander or libel. This defense most typically arises when the plaintiff has signed a valid document releasing the defendant from liability for statements made regarding the plaintiff. For example, an employee may ask a former employer to write a letter of recommendation regarding the employee’s professional and career skills to assist the employee in obtaining a new job. The former employer may, as a precaution, insist that the employee sign a release of liability to ensure that the letter of recommendation does not result in a libel lawsuit. If the former employer then reveals unflattering descriptions of the employee’s work habits in the letter, the employee may be precluded from suing for libel even if the unflattering remarks are untrue.

    Defamatory statements made during court proceedings or written in legal documents for purposes of LITIGATION generally are privileged, or protected, from slander or libel lawsuits. This privilege exists for reasons of public policy. A witness at a criminal trial, for example, would have difficulty testifying completely and truthfully about witnessing a crime if she feared that her statements could result in a slander lawsuit against her. Similarly, a lawyer who prepares a lawsuit must describe in writing the nature of the accusation against the defendant, and such court pleadings are almost always defamatory in nature. Justice would not be served if the judicial process were hampered by the constant threat of slander or libel lawsuits.
    Additional Resources

    West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. West Group, 1998.

    Libel Defense Resource Center, Inc
    80 Eighth Avenue, Suite 200
    New York, NY 10011 USA
    Phone: ((212)) 337-0200

    Again, if anyone would like to speak with me, please feel free to call me!

    John J. Gately
    VP Technology
    Certified: Tournament Director


  32. Drop N Aces


    I appreciate the the apology and retractment of your previous statements. I am also glad that we are able to “air out” some of the confusion in regards to the Gilley’s event.

    I do feel that people are entitled to their own opinions, but when you voice your opinion to the general public in such a way that damages the reputation of ones company, then a boundry has been stepped over.

    To address some of your last statements. You stated that some leagues say they are going to give a certain something away and then come the that day it changes.

    The weekly events that Drop N Aces hosts clearly state each week what is being given away, and it does not change.

    To address the issue of qualifying for a tournament. As far as I know there is nothing illegal about telling someone that they must qualify to play in an event, especially if it costs them nothing. I.E. they did not pay to play the game.

    Yes last years winner qualified for the yearly at another event, but I never advertised that I was giving anything more away than I did.

    Understand I have been playing Texas Holdem Poker since I was 17. That is 15 years I have been playing. I am passionate the game, and love sharing it with others. So what if I have found a way of making a living at sharing my passion with others.

    I certainly don’t hide behind charities to make my business look legit.

    At the end of the day, its entertainment. When it comes to “Bar Leagues” its about having fun. I feel like to many people lose sight of that fact. I try real hard at keeping my events light hearted and fun.

    Im not the biggest league and certainly dont give away the most money and prizes, but I work damn hard at making it fun, and put yourself in my shoes for just a minute. If you stopped and thought about it, you would be pretty pissed too, to hear and read about someone slamming your business.

  33. Concerned

    seems like a lot of CYOA. John I think you really didnt need to put the West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. West Group, 1998 in the blog that’s what your lawyers are for.

    Who is WFRPT a division of, who really owns it?

    What remains to be seen and the most important part of this story, is did TaxasCan get money for the charity event, did Carlos Vielma or someone else profit from the fund raiser. Rough guess is $25,000 was collected and if TexasCan didnt get the money who did?

    Can someone tell us that? This should be the real concern.

  34. DanM

    They way Vielma explained it to me, it wasn’t the total of the money that was at issue … rebuys supposedly went directly to the charity so some other amount was in play — low thousands if I recall, don’t have my notes in front of me … at the end of the event, WFRPT believed they were owed an additional $400 for their services (the difference from what they collected), whereas DallasCAN apparently expected them to turn over the whole wad … hence the contractual dispute.

    Vielma has contacted me and wants me to write his side of things, but does not want to publicly comment pending litigation. I keep telling you I’m not the one to sort through this shit. Wish someone would just sue someone else and let the courts figure it out.

    BTW, cliff notes on the one piece of law I have been trained and tested on for years and years …

    Slander is spoken word, libel is written word. To prove libel you must show three things:

    1. Blatant disregard for the truth. If you’re spreading someone else’s mistruths with no concern for accuracy, that is bad.
    2. Malicious Intent. You have to be trying to do someone else harm with your mistruths — whether that be a personal enemy or competing business.
    3. Damages — the victim has to be able to show a clear financial loss resulting from the mistruths.

    I’m pretty sure this discussion in and of itself — Kudos to our upstanding, intelligent commenters looking out for the good name of Poker — keeps Pokerati in the clear.

  35. John J. Gately

    I have to agree with DanM here, he did not start this nor should he be the one to be the middle man here.

    Agree or Disagree, people should know the facts and speak the truth before oping their mouth or placing it in writing.

    It seems Snapperhead has apologies and understand he should be more clear in his meanings.

    I will move on from here!

    Again, if anyone would like to speak with me, please feel free to call me!

    John J. Gately
    VP Technology
    Certified: Tournament Director