Table Talk: WhoJedi and the Poker Hipster Bloggers

I'm a blogger phrase

Oh, look, a special edition! That means I have a lot to say.

This is my column. Of all of the clients for whom I work, this is the one place that I have been given the freedom to express my opinions. It says nothing negative about the other places that pay me to write, only that I have very specific jobs for them, which I will explain in a bit.

I’d like to first comment on the Jay “WhoJedi” news. Someone found a public Facebook post from the head of UAW Local 121 to all poker dealers at Foxwoods. “We had a theft in the Poker Room of tournament tip money by Jay Newmun.” (That incorrect spelling of his last name – Newnum – was corrected by the writer at a later time.) According to the information in the post, WhoJedi appeared in court, applied for Accelerated Rehabilitation for the theft of $700 of dealer toke money, and he accepted the deal. Other incidents of theft are still being investigated. This story was corroborated by Pokerfuse in a news article about the incident.

WhoJedi was a blogger, photographer, and tournament reporter for Foxwoods – among other establishments around the country – and has since been barred from Foxwoods.

I have known WhoJedi for many years in the poker media industry, and I have never known him to steal or be dishonest in this way. We are not close friends, but we are friendly colleagues for certain.

When the Foxwoods incident was reported, I reached out to WhoJedi to ask if he was okay, and I offered to tell his story for him if he chose to do so. I received no response. A few others in the poker media have reached out to him, though I am not aware of their communications. I was told by one friend that WhoJedi would post a response to the charges made by Foxwoods, but several days later, that has yet to happen.

WhoJedi did not respond to Pokerfuse for its story on the matter, so the story was published anyway. This was news, and they reported it. It was the right thing to do.

Why? I feel that it’s news and important to the poker community for several reasons. WhoJedi is/was a respected member of the poker media, as well as players who have gotten to know him through the tournament reporting and photography work over the years. He has also managed the Twitter accounts of numerous poker players. In addition, this incident reportedly happened at the time of a poker tournament series at Foxwoods, one of the most well-known casinos in the country. This was a crime reported to the police and resolved by the courts. It was news that the poker community needed to know.

Other poker media outlets have not yet reported on the story. I cannot speak to the reasons for this. I don’t work for PokerNews, PokerListings, CardPlayer, Poker News Daily, or any of the media outlets that report regular and pertinent poker-related news.

Who do I work for? I assemble news for PokerScout, which simply a new integration site with a focus on ONLINE POKER news. This is not a story that pertains to online poker, so PokerScout will not tweet it or include it in its news section of the website. I write live tournament reports and poker player biographies for PokerPages, so this story does not fit the bill. I post nightly news for the Global Poker Index, and my focus is on tournament news that pertains to GPI-ranked players. This WhoJedi story does not fit into the parameters of my scope of work there. I write for PokerStars Women, for which this story clearly has no relevance. Also, I write poker-related news for CardsChat, but I have yet to receive my news assignments for the coming week. My recent assignments have focused on bigger news that appeals to a wider audience, such as the PCA, the PartyPoker/sports teams deal, etc. If my editor there would like me to cover the WhoJedi story, I will do so with all of the information available to me.

The one place that has “covered” the WhoJedi story ad nauseam is the 2+2 forum. There is also a thread on the Poker Fraud Alert forum, but it generally mimics the 2+2 forum in content and tone, so I’ll simply refer to 2+2 and the 36-page (and growing) thread about WhoJedi.

There are some reasonable posts within the thread, both supporting and slamming WhoJedi for the actions reported by the UAW. And then there are ridiculous, irrelevant, and uninformed statements that make me cringe, for example:

If this is true, and he did it on all three dates mentioned, it’s safe to assume he has done this regularly over the years.

He’s staying silent because he’s embarrassed or trying to fashion some sob story that will pull at his friends heart.

Choosing to remain silent means guilty. What a scumbag.

This guy is clearly a piece of **** and belongs in prison.

Ahhh, the voices of reason shine bright.

And then there is the bashing of the poker media. Let’s take a look at some of those gems:

More and more it seems like the ‘poker media’ are people that couldnt hack it in either journalism or poker.

If this issue was about some dude who never partied with the Blogger Hipsters, it would be front page Poker News. Had he not been the guy with the camera that might get players some attention…..would he have so many ‘friends’ vouching for him?!

The post about you poker media types being more of a clique and a platform for ‘cool’ kids rather than actual media types is accurate.

It’s sad but almost comical how some in the Poker ‘media’ or ‘community’ seem more interested in burying this story than acknowledging it……because the guy accused is one of their Facebook/twitter ‘friends’.

That’s all I have the stomach to quote because it just gets worse from there. First of all, if you can’t spell or produce enough correct grammar to complete one sentence, you probably shouldn’t opine about the ethics of news or journalism. Second, if your 2+2 avatar is a woman with bouncing boobs, well, your words lose their importance.

People have taken to bashing people like Kevin “KevMath” Mathers on the feed – the member of the media who has done most of his work for free over the years and is the one person on whom most poker players rely for their information in this industry. BJ Nemeth has become a target for those with anger toward the poker media, and others are beginning to see the wrath as well.

All of us in the poker media – we’re hipster bloggers! – have jobs. KevMath works for Bluff, Jessica Welman works for Caesars, and many are obligated to one particular organization. They do not have the freedom to blog or opine at will. Others of us who are freelancers still have obligations to our clients and can’t just post news stories wherever we choose.

I am one of the lucky ones who have a column here, and gives me the freedom to write this type of opinion piece. However, I only submit columns once per week. I’m hoping they will make a special exception to our rule in order to publish this column due to its timeliness, but I have no control over their publishing timetable.

Back to WhoJedi, I have no first-hand knowledge of the situation at Foxwoods, other than what the UAW published and Pokerfuse confirmed. For those dying for an opinion from someone in the poker media, I’ll say this: The news is disappointing. I am saddened to hear that this happened. Many of us who have written or blogged about poker for a living have prided ourselves on being trusted by players and industry staff alike, and this is truly a negative mark that those who do live reporting will have to now work to overcome. I feel for WhoJedi, who is likely dealing with a great deal of issues right now, from the negative comments on the Internet to the loss of work. But I also feel for the rest of the poker media who has to deal with the fallout. And I feel for the dealers who trusted WhoJedi and had to suffer due to the tips that had to be delayed, though I am happy that they were eventually reimbursed.

I still reserve final judgment for the time at which WhoJedi decides to make a public statement on the matter. I believe he might be able to shed some light on the situation. However, the time that he has let the story fester without his own comment is disappointing.

If there are more developments that warrant an opinion from someone like me, I will post them in this column.