Publicity stunt backfires
A €110 ($122) ladies-only Battle of Malta event has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after organizers tried to spice things up by paying male dealers to go topless.
Many professional poker players took to social media to express their dismay at the decision. This included Daiva Byrne, a leading advocate for women in poker, who was one of the female players participating in the event. She made her feelings on the gimmick clear with the following Tweet:
Irish poker professional Dara O’Kearney also spoke out. He detailed how one of the dealers refused to take off his shirt and was then removed from the event by organizers. According to O’Kearney, the male in question is one of the leading English dealers.
one of the dealers refused to take off his shirt and was then removed from the event
It did not take long for the shirts to come back on, as the stunt came to an end during the first break of the event. Male dealers put their clothes back on and a number of female dealers then joined the event. However, most of those present felt that the damage was already done by this stage.
Dealers paid to go topless
According to those in attendance, it was not long before the start of play that male dealers were offered an additional €50 ($55) payment to do their job while topless. Professional dealers are normally paid an hourly rate.
One dealer, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke with PokerNews.com about how it was degrading for the dealers. He labeled it as “borderline prostitution” by enticing dealers to work for this extra payment.
male dealers were offered an additional €50 ($55) payment to do their job while topless
The organizers of the Battle of Malta also had gimmicks in other events. For the first day of the main event, dealers were encouraged to get up and dance before the first cards were dealt.
There was a public announcement at the time saying that any dealer who would dance on the center stage would get an extra €100 ($111) for doing so.
Organizers issue apology
Organizers of the Battle of Malta apologized through a statement on Monday. They apologized for anyone who might have been offended from their ill-tasted attempt to try and make the ladies’ event a bit more fun.
They also said that all registration fees will be donated to the “Pink October Malta” charity. The statement also included details about next year’s ladies-only event, which will have a guaranteed prize pool of €25,000 ($27,800). That will be an increase of €10,000 ($11,130) on this year’s renewal.
This incident has led to the poker community talking about some important issues, such as having proper protections for the dealers of these events.