About half-way through the 2005 WSOP, I picked up my first sponsor when I made a deal with the folks at the iPoker network. I pimped Noble and Titan for a paycheck which covered all of my extra Las Vegas expenses and helped pay off some debts. I thought it was a ton of money at the time because I lacked experience with dealing with online poker sites in the poker industry.
Looking back three years later, I definitely got exploited. I quickly learned right away that me (as a writer) and Tao of Poker (as a website) were worth a lot more than I had originally assessed.
Despite the one-sided deal, the iPoker partnership was just the first of a series of relationships that Tao of Poker would undergo with different online poker sites.
Just before the 2006 WSOP began, thanks to Amy Calistri's recommendation, I worked out a deal with Paradise Poker. At the time, it was one of the biggest ad deals that I had ever signed. Several weeks later, I recall a face to face meeting with Paradise execs during one of those wild WSOP parties at Tao. One suit in particular said, "Thanks for the whales!" before he knocked back a glass of top shelf scotch.
After the 2006 WSOP ended, I was on the verge of re-signing with Paradise Poker which would have been a far more lucrative deal than the initial campaign. That's when the UIGEA eclipse blocked out the once blue and sunny skies of America and Paradise was one of the many online poker companies that shut its doors to Americans.
At the time, I thought it was one of the toughest weeks of my life. I lost my biggest advertiser (Paradise). I got cut loose by my biggest affiliate (Party Poker). I lost the ability to play on my favorite site (Party Poker) and play on my most profitable site (Empire Poker). As a freelance writer, I also lost several clients and was forced to take paycuts as much as 50% from the clients who retained me.
But fortunate for me, BoDog was willing to take a risk and became an advertising partner with Tao of Poker in the earliest days of the UIGEA. BoDog stuck with me through the 2007 WSOP as my major sponsor.
When the UIGEA hit in October of 2006, I also re-worked an affiliate deal with PokerStars since a slew of PartyPoker players jumped ship and opened up PokerStars accounts.
Alas, due to my work with PokerNews as the exclusive provider of the 2007 WSOP, traffic numbers slipped on Tao of Poker. I didn't attract the one million visitors that I promised BoDog. The industry as a whole also changed and shifted their focus in media buying. BoDog and I parted ways in the Spring of 2008. No harm, no foul.
Ah, but there's good news. I don't have to wear a Chico's Bail Bonds shirt at the 2008 WSOP because I landed a new partner... Ladbrokes.
In the last couple of weeks, I worked out a deal with a popular UK site called Ladbrokes. If you are not familiar with them, you might recall me mentioning their brand during a trip to London last September to cover the WSOP-Europe. There was a Ladbrokes betting shop withing one hundred feet of my hotel. I passed two more on my walk up to the Empire Casino and there was another shop right around the corner near the tube entrance.
Ladbrokes happily booked all of my college football and NFL bets even though they were obscure American sports to punters who preferred betting on proper football (yeah, that's what we call soccer), rugby, and cricket.
The gang at Ladbrokes are fans of Tao of Poker so they were the perfect site to partner up with during the 2008 WSOP, especially since I'm focusing on writing here instead of other places.
Anyway, feelf ree to check out... Ladbrokes WSOP Packages.
And here are a few Ladbrokes banners...
And yes, I'm also shilling Ladbrokes sportsbook for all you degenerate cricket junkies and punters who love betting three and four team football accumulators. What I love best about UK bookies is the ability to bet on almost anything. They have lines on the US elections and even the Swedish elections.
Before I go, a quick thanks to the gang at Ladbrokes for their faith in Tao of Poker.
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