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Didn't See Lions. But LOOK .. it's a RANTelope!!

by Amanda Musumeci |  Published: Oct 19, '12

 ***Guys n Gals... before you read the story below, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on this community that we love so much. Now, while "we" love the poker community, much of the world views poker as gambling, and most of the world doesn't agree with "gambling." We are a minority in a global sense. But hey, we love the game!

As lovers of the game, we must be aware of the image that the poker industry puts forth to the rest of the world. The world thinks that our community is over-ridden with ethical issues, bad financial management, and addiction/mental health problems. The story I am about to tell luckily will remain isolated from the mainstream(IE you won't be seeing a story on this blog on CNN ;)). It really is only for the eyes of those concerned... that being the poker community. 

I feel that the man mentioned in this blog is a threat to a major leg to the poker community... The WPT brand. If something bad were to be associated with the brand or something really shady went down... it would not only hurt WPT but the entire poker community. Luckily this issue I had with Gary Lentin is manageable and fixable before more damage is done. I'd feel awful if I never told people about this and heard down the line that more corruption was occurring. But if something bigger or worse were to occur as this man continues to work his way into the poker community... I honestly fear of what may happen. Gary Lentin has shown me his true colors.. and I feel unsafe like I may be inviting a burglar into my own home. After reading this blog, I hope you guys understand why I feel like I must protect my home... the poker community. 

Please, if anyone else has had another experience with Gary or knows more about him than I do, post below in the comment area. Don't be scared to have a voice(and if you are just leave an anonymous comment ;))! 

The days, weeks and months leading up to my South Africa trip have been unreal. I've had a lot of foot work to do in order to make this trip happen, and thankfully I can say that it isn't due to a lack of planning on my part that resulted in this last-minute fall through.

As you all may have read over the past few weeks, I've been looking forward to this amazing experience. I'm extremely disappointed that I'm not going. It wasn't until the morning of my expected departure to South Africa that I found out I wouldn't be attending.

I ran into an issue with a man that I was dealing with on the South African end, named Gary Lentin. You may have heard me make mention of Gary and his website,, in my previous blogs leading up to my expected trip to South Africa. Gary Lentin recently became affiliated with WPT, as far as I understand.

Gary Lentin contacted me in early August of 2012 and expressed interest in flying me out to South Africa for the upcoming WPT events there. It was at this time that we began negotiations, as he wanted to use my image/brand to help promote the new poker series out there. Within two weeks of back and forth, we fell into an agreement.

Now, before I continue, I should tell you that during the time that I was in negotiation with Gary Lentin, I was informed of some shady issues between Mr. Lentin and another player. There was a major issue several years ago with paying someone owed money on a business transaction. Naturally, this made me a bit leery. But, as Mr. Lentin was an affiliate of the WPT, I felt I had a certain amount of security in knowing that this man was safe to deal with.

To ensure our deal was set in stone, and to protect my own neck, I requested that Mr. Lentin sign a contract to cement our deal. This is when things began to get weird. Gary responded to me that he could not work in "legal contracts." This seemed odd to me for someone who was literally "contracting" pro players to come play the events. Given the previous story I had heard of this man, now more than ever I was fearful like the deal may fall through. I was quite adamant about not proceeding without a contract.

Over the course of many emails, and about a month's time, Gary and I had gotten almost nowhere in terms of getting an actual contract signed. The dates were fast approaching for the upcoming event series, as we were now well into September. I knew that promotional content needed to be released soon, and that I felt like I was in a tight spot to provide content as part of my contractual duties... but WITHOUT an actual signed contract in-hand. Not a great scenario, right? yeh. To add to it, I found that Emperor's Palace, the casino that is hosting the series, was tweeting about my attendance, and therefore under the impression that I was 100% coming there. I knew that this meant that Gary had proceeded in promotions before our contract was even signed! Yikes!

Again, I fell back on my trust and knowledge that this man would pull through due to his industry ties and his constant reassurance. Gary made it clear to me that it was his opinion that a contract wasn't necessary. He would go on to say, "why would I screw over a player? My reputation is on the line." As he said such things to me, I couldn't help but be reminded of Gary's past, and decided that in my own best interest, I must proceed with caution, even still.

Eventually Gary and I agreed on this: we'd sign a copy of the contract and fax/email it to one another. Gary also agreed to send me confirmations for all my booking receipts.. flight, hotels, etc for my stay there. I was quite happy with this arrangement. Since we finally agreed on how we were going to proceed, and since the dates were fast approaching, I, in good faith,  began to provide promotional content for the series.

Again I wait for weeks to receive the receipts and the signed contract, but to no avail. As early October rolled around, I was becoming increasingly concerned. I was really beginning to fear the worst... when finally Gary responded to me and said that I could expect the contract the following day. That day came and went. Obviously I did the best I could to contact this man and make this happen, but thus again, it was a fruitless venture.

On October 11th, just two days before my expected departure to Cape Town with Melanie Weisner, things came to a head between Mr. Lentin and myself. I boldly stated, as I so often do,  that I must have all receipts and the signed contract before I took off for South Africa. I was not the only player who was still waiting for booking receipts. I'd already made the decision in my mind... that if I did not receive the booking receipts, i would not be attending and putting my Mander"butt" on the line to fly half way around the world, to Africa, alone.

I obviously pursued Mr. Lentin for such content up until the absolute last minute. When I'd inquire about it,  he could only tell me of how busy he was, and how he didn't have time for this, and how he won't answer to me or anybody, and how this wasn't about me, it was about poker! About 4 hours before my flight, Gary notified me that he would not be providing a contract, nor could he guarantee me the hotel room he had once agreed to, or any other receipts for other things specified within our contract. Ummmmm, what?! ok. awesome. I got owned.

I was so sad that this deal fell through. Despite my dismay with the situation, I, as per  the usual, have lifted myself up and dusted off. The very day that I was scheduled to fly out(which was the same day I found out that I wasn't going), I decided that since my car was already packed with all my luggage, I may as well hit the road out to Hammond, Indiana(ChiTown area) for the WSOP circuit stop there. I figured it'd be a pretty cool story if I binked off Hammond's Main Event after all this drama... and so I'm here to give it a shot!!!

I would like to say in WPT's defense, that despite Gary being an affiliate of theirs, that they had absolutely nothing to do with the deal between Mr. Lentin and myself. WPT was perfectly clear on that with me, and I appreciate their being frank in the matter. Their brand is an amazing one, and their ethics aren't the ones to be in question here. The only person who's ethic deserve investigation are those of Gary Lentin of I have brought the matter to the desk of WPT, and I do hope that they choose to look into the matter. I'm sure that most of us would agree that a man like this doesn't belong with a brand like that!

You guys can be the judge.

End rant/

Now.... LET'S SHIP HAMMOND!!!!!!
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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