The Rise and Fall of Tiffany Michelle

Published on 2008-11-01 19:11:24

poker player tiffany michelle at the world series of poker 2008 - wsopAfter watching Tiffany Michelle's "performance" at the World Series of Poker this past week, I couldn't help but wonder: has anyone ever thrown away so much goodwill over such a short period of time in the poker world?

When Tiffany Michelle was making her deep run in the main event this year, many people were cheering her on. If Tiffany Michelle made the final table, people argued, it would be great for the game of poker. Having an attractive, well-spoken young female at the final table of poker's biggest event would likely draw a ton of mainstream coverage and add more casual players to the fold. Tiffany Michelle was the biggest name in poker for a few days in the summer - on our sites, she was getting an absolutely enormous amount of search engine traffic.

The Tiffany Michelle hype-train, once hurtling down the tracks, is now nothing more than smoldering wreckage. What happened?

First off, Tiffany Michelle had a very public falling out with her former employer, (and Tony G). Tony G and Jeff Lisandro had sponsored Michelle for the main event, and Tony G contends that he retained all of Michelle's endorsement rights should she make a deep run in the event. Tiffany Michelle and her agent thought differently and signed a deal with halfway through the event. Pokernews threw a fit, Tony G contends that he had a million-dollar endorsement deal for Michelle worked out with Pokerstars, and Michelle claimed innocence. The two sides had a very nasty war of words over the entire situation.

Second, Tiffany Michelle made the BAD choice of signing an endorsement deal with Ultimatebet. Of all the companies that she could have chosen, it had to be the company that was involved (and still is involved) in the biggest scandal in the history of online poker. Another poor judgment call that smacked of Michelle and her agent taking the first deal that was offered to them.

The true damage to Michelle's reputation came during the airing of the World Series of Poker main event on ESPN. Things got REALLY bad during this week's show (where the tournament played down to 18 players).

She called the clock during a really big hand between Scott Montgomery and Paul Snead, pissing off everyone at the table. She would claim that she was "short-stacked" and "playing for nine million dollars." Horrible etiquette.

She was WAY too confident at the table, calling out hands and badgering other players at the table for taking too long. Players such as Phil Hellmuth certainly get carried away when it comes to bad-mouthing the play of other players at the table. There are a few differences though - first, Hellmuth has 11 WSOP bracelets and $10.6 million in lifetime earnings. Second, while Hellmuth can certainly be a "brat" at the table, he is usually very respectful of the rules of etiquette while playing. I can't ever see him calling the clock on someone in such a big hand.

Michelle was eating french fries with her fingers at the table, which is not only disgusting but very poor etiquette as well. After other players at the table reminded her of just how disgusting it was, Michelle shot back with a few smart-ass remarks and just kept on eating.

I'm not sure if the situation just overwhelmed Tiffany Michelle and she got carried away in the moment. Or maybe she was nervous and wasn't sure how to act at the table, so she just covered it up with obnoxious behavior. Or maybe she is just a cocky and brash person in general. Who knows - all I know is that Tiffany Michelle went from overnight sensation to one of the most despised poker players in the world over the course of just a few months. In the end, Michelle's behavior was completely unforgivable, no matter how much she tries to blame "bad editing".

The negative backlash against Michelle has nothing to do with her being a female either, as some have claimed - Scotty Nguyen was mercilessly slammed for his drunken appearance at the final table of the 50k HORSE event.

Bad behavior is bad behavior, and Tiffany Michelle will have some serious damage control to do before she is accepted by the poker community again.


Filed Under: World Series of Poker

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