After making a plea to its membership base for donations to continue their efforts, the future of the Poker Players Alliance is in doubt as those pleas apparently went unheard.
In what has been a tumultuous few months for the Poker Players Alliance, the organization issued the call for donations as its leadership changed. In February, longtime Executive Director John Pappas stepped down from his position, indicating in some interviews that the lack of monetary support was part of the impetus in his decision. While Pappas was stepping away from leading the Poker Players Alliance, former Vice President for Player Relations Rich Muny stepped to the fore and took over the Executive Director role.
Muny also stepped up and issued the call to the grassroots for monetary donations. For the first time in the history of the group, Muny stated that the Poker Players Alliance needed to raise $25,000 to continue the operations of the group for the coming year. Calling for donations before March 31, Muny watched as the end of March came and went, with the grassroots for the organization sending in – $6015.
The initial effects of the failure in fundraising have become evident. Muny nor the Poker Players Alliance has been active on either Facebook or Twitter, both of which were powerfully used tools by the organization. In fact, Muny’s “Daily Action Plan,” (DAP), which he had issued on almost a daily basis since “Black Friday” in 2011 has gone dark. Muny’s Twitter feed, other than two retweets of other’s postings from April 3, has also been very quiet.
The Poker Players Alliance website has also become a shell of its former self. Once a storehouse of information for people looking to advocate for online poker, it now has been reduced to a handful of news stories (including one about the things that the Poker Players Alliance has done in support of online poker over the past decade) and videos while stating that it is still accepting donations to help the PPA continue operations. It’s Twitter feed on April 4 thanked those who donated but didn’t give any further indications as to what direction the group will take.
So, what will the future be if the Poker Players Alliance isn’t there?
The Poker Players Alliance, whether its detractors like it or not, was an active and powerful voice for the poker community. Many times its leadership – be it Pappas, Muny or one of its state representatives – was on point for driving towards regulation and legalization of the online game. It also brought attention to how online poker would help cash-strapped states with an infusion of revenues. Finally, the Poker Players Alliance united the poker community into a group that had a singular voice and, with things like the DAP, could provide substantial movement on any issue that the game faced.
The Poker Players Alliance also made some missteps. There are many that say the group was more of a “AstroTurf” organization – one that pretends to be a grassroots group but is actually an industry shill – because of how closely the PPA aligned itself with online poker interests. For years online poker sites donated money to the PPA (part of the reason why there was no membership fees) and had people such as disgraced former Full Tilt Poker figures as Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson as members of the Board of Directors. There were also those in the community that never warmed to the Poker Players Alliance, instead believing that there was no way to unite the diversity of the poker playing community – from the penny-ante games to the Super High Rollers – under one banner.
At this moment, the Poker Players Alliance is remaining quiet as to what its future will be. Poker News Daily will continue to monitor the situation and report as appropriate.