ACR Bans Jonathan Little Over Negative Comments About the Poker Site

Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy discovered critical remarks Jonathan Little made about his poker site, Americas Cardroom. He permanently banned the poker pro in response.

Jonathan Little Americas Cardroom

Jonathan Little can no longer play on Americas Cardroom. (Image: WPT)

Nagy didn’t specify which comment or video led to the ban, but Little, a poker coach, has long been critical of unregulated sites. In May, he posted a video titled, “Online Poker in America: How to Cash Out Safely,” in which he warned his students that their money could be at risk without protections afforded by regulated sites.

Nagy defended his move saying such bans have been commonplace at brick-and-mortar casinos for years.

The ACR boss has taken some heat over the years from poker players for site security issues, so it is little surprise that pros such as Shaun Deeb couldn’t help from injecting themselves into the latest controversy playing out on Twitter.

“This is a terrible precedent for [ACR] to start,” Deeb tweeted, noting that under Nagy’s rules, he would be banned at nearly every site he’s played at for posting negative comments.

Did Little Deserve to be Banned?

Little, a WPT champion, made it publicly known that ACR banned him. He didn’t apologize or backtrack from what he said. Instead, he stood by his comments and defended them.

“My job is to help my students make more money (and not get scammed out of their money) from poker and I will continue doing my best to help my students,” Little wrote.

Nagy, who referred to the poker pro as “Little John,” countered by arguing that other businesses have a right to ban players for insulting the company, so he should be allowed to do the same.

“I’m OK to agree to disagree,” Nagy said. “I think it would [be] better not to have an influencer saying what John is saying than doing what he’s doing. No hard feelings. There are lots of marketing avenues I choose not to take. Playing ACR is a privilege, not a right.”

Poker Community Chimes In

The public feud between Nagy and Little turned into a heated debate on poker Twitter. Most sided with Little, but some defended the Nagy’s decision.

“You just risked ACR because someone was honest to their customer base to limit liability … His followers see him playing X site and deposit and get screwed, then he gets involved … he eliminated that risk rightfully so with a disclaimer. Fix your software before talking privilege,” @Nate_Daugherty tweeted.

High-stakes pro Chris George gave his two cents on the issue. He encouraged players to ditch unregulated sites such as ACR in favor of Run it Once and Partypoker. The only problem with that suggestion is, Americans don’t have the option to do so unless they leave the country. Legal online poker is only available in four US states — Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Players in those four states don’t have access to Run it Once or the global Partypoker platform.

Despite banning Little, Nagy informed the poker coach and pro that his account balance will be refunded in full.

Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.


Ashley Adams wrote...

Great article. For what it’s worth, I think that Nagy is wrong to ban Little. His analogy to brick and mortar casinos being able to ban unruly or abusive customers falls flat when recognizing that there was nothing unruly or abusive about what Little said. His remarks were just critical.
I have never known a customer of a brick and mortar room being banned for being critical of a room. If that were so, nearly all of the players I have played with, including myself, would have been banned. It has long been common practice for poker players to make disparaging remarks about the room they play in.
I remember back in the 1990s, playing regularly at Foxwoods’ beautiful poker room. In the wee hours they generously brought out a huge box of small pastries. I well recall the feeding frenzy that would ensue. Typically, players would be simultaneously stuffing their faces with the free mini danish while complaining, “These cheap SOBs!! Have you ever seen such small pastries?” Thank goodness Nagy wasn’t running the room — or we would have all been banned!

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