UK Advertising Authority Doesn’t Take PokerStars’ Bluff

PokerStars’ latest TV commercial has been banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority after it implied that beginner players would succeed by bluffing.

Close up of a poker players cards.

The ad suggested gambling on an eight and a three as a good strategy. ©CA

The ban came into place on Wednesday after the advertising watchdog received a number of complaints that the online poker company was exploiting people into thinking they could win large sums of money purely by bluffing.

In particular, the advertising authority sited the advert’s script when the narrator specifically states that: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself. Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone.”

The commercial first aired in October last year and the online poker company was quick to react to Wednesday’s decision to ban the ad stating that bluffing is ‘not a reckless act’ in and of itself. They pointed to the fact that many other card and board games where bluffing plays an integral part would suggest that many players prior to ever playing poker may be ‘proficient in the skill’. And that there is nothing wrong in suggesting that this may prove useful to new players when they start playing poker.

However, the UK Advertising Standards Authority upheld their decision believing that any message that signifies using a gambling strategy based entirely on bluffing without any prior knowledge of the game is reckless and socially irresponsible.

This is not the first time that PokerStars’ advertising strategies have come into question. Famed for releasing one of the most brutal TV advertisements, the online poker company’s ‘love your enemies’ commercial depicts a poker game turning into a blood frenzy as opponents quickly turn to murdering and decapitating each other with knives, pyrotechnics and mini-guns fired from helicopters. The ads closing remarks suggesting to players that it is ‘safer to play poker online’.

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Close up of a poker players cards.

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