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Monitoring the Lock Poker Spiral: The Shane Bridges Blowout

lock-poker-logoWhile Lock Poker continues its new commitment to corporate austerity by having its top executives partying away in Portugal and Monaco, an interesting side story has recently developed: The probable explosion of Lock PR rep Shane Bridges’ reputation and effectiveness as a purveyor of Lock’s proclamations.

These things happen, of course; it’s one of the drawbacks to being a PR guy.  However, Bridges’ rapid descent has involved him being caught in a handful of lies and intentional misstatements, and Bridges may even be associated with another new Lock-connected posting account, which may even be Bridges himself posting under a pseudonym.

It’s a far cry from Bridges’ heyday, when he was part of Full Tilt’s online PR team.  Bridges bounced over to the Merge Network when Full Tilt dissolved, where he soon came into contact with Lock Poker, itself having bounced to Merge after leaving the old Cake Network.

When the Lock / Merge marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce, Lock went back to Cake (in a manner of speaking, buying in to the network and renaming it Revolution), Bridges went along for the ride, where he’s been involved in a management-level affiliate- and customer-relationship role ever since.  That’s the brief history of how Bridges ended up at Lock, but what’s happened of late is the entertaining part of the tale.

Three developments with direct connections to Bridges emerged over the weekend, none of which left him or Lock looking any better.  The first was when the first reports surfaced that late last week, Lock execs and top players convened at an expensive retreat in Portugal, with plenty of partying and spending of money.  It was all done at the behest of Lock’ CEO, Jennifer Larson, who favors such pretentious affairs, and has no problem spending the money even if the midst of Lock’s ongoing cashout and liquidity crises.

Anyhow, Bridges took it upon himself to deny the first rumors of the Portugal trip, which Todd “Dan Druff” Witteles published under his “Kilowatt” name on 2+2:

Inside source #2 tells me that Lock CEO Jennifer Larson arranged an expensive trip to Portugal for herself and many of the Lock pros.

I was told that the trip started about 4 days ago, and that it’s still going on right now.

I was also informed that all Lock pros on this trip were instructed to keep quiet about it (no tweeting, Facebook pics, etc), given the less-than-acceptable cashout situation right now.

Know anything about this, Shane?

Bridges responded:

You really need to work on your inside sources.

While I admire your efforts, they are severely lacking in actual facts.

Soon enough, the Portugal retreat was confirmed by several independent sources, including the Lock pros themselves, who simply could not resist Tweeting about their expensive vacation exploits, all paid for on the Lock dime.

That’s one.

Then came the strange appearance of a new Lock Poker representative on the 2+2 forums on Saturday.  A new account called “Lockpokerofficial” started a thread called “A Message from the Lock Security team“, made a single post with some general claims but no hard information, and has yet to reappear and make any followup posts.

The account claimed to be a Lock security person named “Joseph” who was beginning to post because it “very clear that another voice is needed to support Shane as well as providing all of you with official statements from Lock.”

Except, most observers now believe the account to be Bridges himself posting under another name.  A sharp-eyed 2+2 member noticed several similarities between Bridges’ writing styles and this new “Joseph” account, raising enough curiosity for 2+2 mods to do an IP check, where they found that the Josep account was indeed tied to Lock, but was being accessed from Portugal (where the Lock execs were currently partying), from an account created from Germany (where Bridges himself lives).

No other Lock execs are known to live in Germany, and that’s not where the company’s customer-service workers are located.  It’s just a bit of circumstantial evidence, but that little bit doesn’t point anywhere else but back to Bridges, who may be trying to diffuse some of the criticism being launched his way by attempting to open a second front.

Whether or not “Joseph”: has worked at Lock for several years as claimed is also moot.  A long-running tradition in online circles is for management workers to take on an assumed name when handling occasional customer service matters.  In my digging into the UltimateBet cheating mess, I learned the real names behind several of the company’s online CS workers, who would use the same made-up name over and over again.  “Joseph” could have been been answering e-mails for several years and still be Bridges in real life.  That’s how it works.

But the whole creation of this new account, and its seeming links back to Bridges?

That’s two.

Then there’s more information about Bridges himself, with the digging into his background resulting in the unearthing of his LinkedIn profile.  Among the most telling entries there is this:

Director of Social Media

Lock Poker

March 2013 – Present (3 months)

Director of Affiliate Marketing

Lock Poker

April 2011 – March 2013 (2 years)

Bridges also served in an affiliate-manager role at Merge/Carbon.  He’s been around.  Here’s the B-I-G problem with this.  Bridges has been very vocal in describing the situation with the slow cashouts at Lock as being the by-product of an evil cadre of Lock’s own affiliates buying up Lock dollars at reduced prices, then using their leverage as Lock’s affiliates to jump to the front of the cashout line.

Bridges has mentioned this preferential treatment given to affiliates on several occasions, but if Bridges was Lock’s director of affiliate marketing, then he played a major role in creating that preferential structure.  He also has the company’s preeminent responsibility for signing those affiliates up in the first place meaning the he, above anyone else at Lock, should have known who was a legit affiliate, and who else was (purportedly) “posing as an affiliate” to jump ahead of others in Lock’s lengthy cashout queue.

This is what is known as being utterly and completely full of shit, and ignoring one’s own responsibility to one’ customers.  I’ll state that this demonstrates such a complete lack of competence  that it’s mind-boggling, and added to what can now be seen as a long-running litany of lies to the poker world, the guy has no place whatsoever in a responsibly run company.

It’s rare that I’ll state that about someone, but the collective information here is just over the top.  I’d can him if it was my company, but at Lock he’s a part of the crew, even if that executive crew is probably far smaller than one might guess.  I get the feeling that Lock is being run out of a shop the size of a Kinko’s copy center, and there just aren’t a lot of Lock execs who are known to be real, breathing people.

And that’s three.

It’s frustrating to see the ludicrous lengths to which Bridges and other Lock supporters have gone to justify their actions, including the virtual seizure of all P2P transferred funds.  The most galling of all the so-called “ShaneSpeak” may be the description of all the secondary-market trading in Lock funds as a form of “money laundering”.

Goddammit it all to hell.  No money launderer in the world uses a money-laundering system with a maximum cashout of $10,000 and a six-month wait.  It just makes Bridges look even stupider for using the term, and he should stop.

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