Having signed with Americas Cardroom last week, Vanessa Kade is not afraid to continue to call out misogyny in the poker world. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Kade is not afraid
Last week, US-facing poker site Americas Cardroom (ACR) added Canadian poker pro Vanessa Kade to its roster of pros. Kade has been a full-time poker player for seven years after walking away from a career in the gaming industry, where she worked as a video game producer for Disney Interactive Studios, Lucasfilm, and BioWare.
misogyny and bullying that undermines the spirit of the game”
Her bio for ACR reads: “[Kade] is not afraid to hold players accountable for the sort of misogyny and bullying that undermines the spirit of the game.” This was in evidence back in December, when she found herself caught in the middle of a media maelstrom after being attacked on Twitter by Dan Bilzerian, a GGPoker ambassador and the man who struggles to spell two-letter words.
In her recent appearance on The Chip Race, Kade described how calling out misogyny has historically hindered players from getting deals with major sites. Speaking exclusively for VegasSlotsOnline News, she said: “Hopefully this has eased fears of not being sponsorable if you stand for something in difficult situations.”
Poker site adds big names to pro roster
As soon as Chris Moneymaker left Pokerstars in January, there were rumors swirling about the poker community that ACR had backed up the truck for one of the most valuable signatures in poker. Synonymous with the boom era in poker, Moneymaker famously won the World Series of Poker Main Event and $2.5m in 2003, having qualified via an $86 online satellite.
On February 3, Moneymaker teased the big news via Twitter:
On February 4, it was official:
Since then, ACR has signed online OG Jonathan ‘Apestyles’ Van Fleet:
Van Fleet is the real deal. In an illustrious online career, he won the Partypoker MILLIONS online, a Pokerfest main event, an FTOPS, and Super Tuesday twice. He is also the owner of a WSOP Circuit ring. Off the tables, he is the lead coach at Pocarr, the co-creator of The Blueprint poker training course, and he co-authored the acclaimed Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time.
Phil Nagy working hard to improve ACR
With these new acquisitions, Phil Nagy, the CEO of ACR and the Winning Poker Network, has now assembled a ten-player-strong team that already includes Ebony Kenney, Jeff Boski, Michael Loncar, Robert Kuhn, Ryan DePaulo, Drew Gonzalez, and Jon Pardy. He will be deploying Team ACR at the upcoming World Poker Tour event in Florida.
Kade has paid tribute to Nagy, saying: “I don’t know anyone more passionate and harder working than Phil, and have watched the last couple of years as ACR has continuously evaluated its strengths and weaknesses in an ongoing effort to improve across the board. I’ve put in more volume on ACR than any other site in the last couple of years, and am happy to be joining a pretty amazing group of players.”
Kade on the cusp of a marquee score
Since signing, Kade has already notched up plenty of online results. She is confident that in ACR she has found a site that can help bring out her best.
Tonight, she takes a big stack into Day 3 of Pokerstars’ 15th anniversary Sunday Million, in which she sits 12th of 65 left from 69,876 runners with a whopping $1.515m up top:
Pro wants to put GGPoker, Bilzerian debacle behind
Kade is a poker player first, and she has gone on record to say that she now wishes to draw a line under her spat with GGPoker and Bilzerian. That is not to say that she is a shrinking violet. Quite the contrary.
Thrust into the spotlight both when Bilzerian signed and again when GGPoker terminated her affiliate deal, Kade was fierce. She took on the mantle of advocate, using her voice and platform to change the culture in poker for the better.
Kade was fierce. She took on the mantle of advocate
One aspect of advocacy is comforting the afflicted, but the other is afflicting the comfortable. People need to be shaken out of their insouciance and reminded that saying nothing is still saying something. If you do not denounce the things that you are against, then your silence might be interpreted as you supporting things that you don’t.
Kade gets this, so the next time we see flagrant misogyny in poker, expect that she will once again be on the front lines. She also hopes that her experience will convince others in the industry not to kowtow or shy away from having their voices heard.
She said: “For players who have aspirations of sponsorships or partnerships within the poker industry and have felt conflicted and restrained themselves from publicly addressing difficult topics, I hope this eases a bit of anxiety that standing up for what you feel is right and putting yourself in a potentially polarizing position doesn’t necessarily kill your dream and may actually serve as an asset.”
In Kade, ACR has found someone who understands that being an advocate means you stand for something, being a spokesperson means speaking up, and being an ambassador means representing more than your own interests.