Dummies for NFTs

pokerface nft collection

I’d love to overwrite another piece, really home in on the meaning of the hilarious world, or as they love to say, “space” – emphasis on vacuity – where poker and non-fungible tokens meet, but I just can’t do it. I can’t take it! This stuff is too stupid, and I am weak from laughing. Plus, I have to move on to new things, real things, hard things. So, I guess we all get a break today.

If you have to call them celebs… oh, never mind.

What is this? What is this supposed to be? I’ve seen birthmarks that resemble Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey more than these Toy Story rejects. “In case you missed it, the iconic World Poker Tour has recently licensed…” If only you were so lucky to miss it, but don’t worry, Pokernews is on it. Yes, Adam Owen gets an NFT image, too! Hope you’ll recognize him.

“Players will immediately know if they are playing against the real Steve Aoki, based on his NFT profile, which has a different shape and size than common profiles inside the WPT Global platform.”

As funny as this is, that is one of the utilities of non-fungible tokens, along with many other uses: identity. Don’t give up on the blockchain, it’s good stuff, and will serve the market well – eventually. 

For now, though, they appear to worthless – let me know if you bought one! All the numbers here are completely artificial – no one is bidding $2500 for some Chris Klodnicki pixels. The ones that are a dollar don’t have bids either.

In fact, don’t feel bad for Phil: he’s big into selling.

The problem is, how do you tell what’s trash and what isn’t? Actually, it’s just not that hard to do.

What is wrong with these people?

Is a map to nowhere still a map? Forget the WPT. For the poker literalist, Pokerhousenft has what you need: cards representing every combination in every suit of every made hand. Yes, there are apparently over 7,000 of these and they have them all. I guess you can commemorate your favorite runout?

Aping ideas always works out.

In a surprisingly homogenous culture of groupthink, it’s no surprise NFT culture has developed weird protocols and standards that must be followed, as if these protocols were proof of trust as well as concept. For instance, all of them have to have a “roadmap.” Let’s take a look at the roadmap for PokerHouse:

All poker enthusiasts are welcome, regardless of their experience level or whether they have never picked up a chip before.

Well thank god, Pokerhouse, I thought they were only taking money from certain people, somehow they are willing to take everyone’s coin.

Freeroll Tournaments

Weekly and daily tournaments with tons of prizes.

Well that sounds solid. I wonder if it is standard tons or metric tons?

Each NFT in our collection will represent those exact hands, 7,462 in total, forever.

And that is the threat, isn’t it? That the blockchain is forever. I guess. Let’s say your NFT really is forever. Just how much and how valuable to you will this image of say, trips, no kicker be, once the people beyond this massive community of freerolls on some dusty app has long since tired of its “project?” What does our roadmap say now? 

We are here to stay, purchasing lands on Decentraland.

Ah, yes, because they think some interactive website will last forever, or I guess, long enough for you to offload some dough. That is the hope of many of these projects, that they transfer into the Metaverse or Web 4.0, never mind worrying about 5.0. It’s all just a bad guess. At best when buying one of these trinkets, get odds, buy at a discount.

Let’s take a look at Decentraland and its market:

Ah yes. Some wizard hats for your character in some game, some life, some universe that may or may not exist tomorrow, that you and no one else will care about in the blink of an eye. That’s the promise of most NFT projects, encapsulated: a hat for a digital wizard

Who writes this stuff? Who took any of this stuff seriously? I want to know, I want to see a show of hands. I want to know who you are, and I want to ask you one question: at the digital dump in your Metaverse, is there enough space for all the wizard hats?

Amazing. At the end of the consumer journey, his coveted product to consume does not even exist. The roadmap to nothing.

Meanwhile, now that we know what we are in for, let’s see what our competitors are. Let’s move from the Pokerhouse, to the Pokerworldnft.

Ah yes,

“The Poker’s Evolution”

sounds solid so far!

It’s the EVOLUTION of the Poker Game, based on Blockchain NFT technology – Click2Earn & Play2Earn, where you can obtain profits by Farming and playing against opponents at different tables on which you participate, according to your knowledge and ability to play.

So aside from the A.I.-kebab English, let me get this straight: you will earn your profits against other players. So, when they don’t win, they stay and keep losing, rather than moving to one of a million other poker NFT poker apps? They are trapped forever with you! Lock the doors! Terrific!

Who thinks of this business plan? Who does this stuff and who helps them? Ah yes – I hope, at least, the graphic artists are getting paid in dollars. Some detailed work here:

Why can no one spell the plural of NFT correctly?

At least these doofus characters are funny and have a sort of Tiger Beat/after school special appeal. Laura signals us to not laugh at Jhon, who is still learning to spell his name and put his pants on correctly. Sssshhh!

And why does Phil have one little doll’s hand?

Nothing makes sense, or maybe, it makes too much sense. If you dare peel the onion, you find Pokerworld to be an application of the dubiously named MiT labs. One of their brainstorms is to tokenize the Heard/Depp trial. Go that route and get yourself involved with Depp’s lawyers! Take my wife – please. Actually, it’s both better and worse:

Now this community is using this imagery to bring to life 5000 NFTs that look like Heard’s feces.. There are already more than 1500 users who own one of these tokens, each one is different and starts at prices of 0,002 ETH, that is, about 5 dollars.

I assume these come with a complementary “Warning, do not date the owner of this token” NFT. In fact, the market will probably need to mint a lot of those. Hmm, someone want to start a rug – I mean a business with me???

Now it would have been too easy starting with these guys at FullhouseCorp, which probably isn’t a corporation, but too cruel to end with them so I’m sticking them in the middle. Here we have the option to buy baseball card-style poker player cards or something approximating that in token form. Immediately, we are told:

Since 1890, Poker is a sport of thought and strategy. The players compete against each other in a game where there’s only one winner.

What? Ok, whatever, be wrong about everything, because, good news:

The value of your NFT card will increase once your players earn money.

Great! Now, how does that work exactly? No economist could make such a claim, but these guys know.

Here’s our investment:

Apparently we get a digital duplicate of an imaginary card and information about tournament results. Something called “flow” pretends to measure the value of the card, or the direction of the player’s career, what does it matter. Of course there is little demand for this, so it can’t have any value until every single player is involved in a grand-plan fantasy gamefication that will break without profits going to the players. It’s only virtue is that it doesn’t exist, which is a theme in the, uh, space. Otherwise, there is no connection between the player’s results and the value of the NFT, given anyone can simply hold his image or acquire the information. Ironically, the only value would be for David himself, as it helps track his public winnings as an alternative to Hendon. The value is in Hendon, this is just stolen valor. And a potential legal problem, you can’t just sell other people’s work.

At least we learn some personal facts:

Canadian Profesionnal Poker Player and Passionate of Football

Sick. I mean, sic.

Look, these errors can be fixed, but these errors aren’t minor, not really. How do you have any hope in something so poorly done. For instance, what are these placards that they send out to the “honored”:

Is it really? Admittedly, I thought this was the NFT image and that it was a total embarrassment, with the MS Publisher design, the awful layout, the stupid, cliched Aces in the background; so glad to learn this is just some rushed welcome announcement. Still, the idiotic inscription on the bottom cracks me up. And what is that, the house font? Is that Ariel? What’s in Publisher these days?

But no, this is a far more serious project as portrayed, or at least one that involves a lot more work. The value of the cards are supposed to rise, but we’re still promising a Tesla and various laptops as incitement to buy. That’s always a good sign! I wonder, is anyone not associated with the project really going to end up with that Tesla? No one believes it, do they?

In this way, FHC is like a thousand token projects – I only wish I could say they were too good to be true. Mostly they are just a disaster from front end to back end.

Now, I’m being tough (or maybe not tough enough), but I know it must be frustrating being told you have to toggle up some shitty English in order to please the tourists. I feel that pain and resentment, but then, that tells you what all this is, doesn’t it? Ironically, the guy behind FHC is probably one of the best people doing this stuff, is actually a photographer (how he has no sense of design or artistry for these horrible announcement placards is beyond me, guess the intern was on the case) and I suppose took the photos, which is a start and he likely has the rights to do what he is doing to a degree more than the other projects. Can it all come to something? What does their site promise, what can we hold on to:

C’mon man, this is babytown frolics, this is as serious as Shaun Deeb’s exercise and diet plan. Break out the champagny – we’re going to the moon full of cheese!

Why would someone want to be associated with this buffoonery? Jordan Belfort himself wouldn’t sign off on this.

Be a photographer, be an artist, make cool software. Don’t do this to yourself, don’t do this to us. There are plenty of Nigerian lands that need princes already.

Now, there’s some real knee-slapper of a t-shirt going around, a real Ned-the-head doozy, that promotes the ANTI SOCIAL SOCIAL CLUB – get it? do you get it?- but the NFT community really are the antisocial social clubs, aren’t they, controlling obscure chat rooms which are inhabited by lonely slugs and grifters and rug pullers and dollar munchers. They have even stumbled upon poker as a “perk” for ownership. Fullhouse and dozens of others even beyond poker themed NFTs are promising dubious, unregulated games as they desparately scavenge for benefits to being in their “community.”

The game is being used to string their fish along by the people who claim to be doing something for the community.

It’s funny, you probably smile sadly and shake your head at the poor and uneducated fools who fall for “predatory loans” and have to go to that check cashing place in the low-rent strip mall. Must be tough, and I’ve been there. Guess I’ve got some news for you about that discord group.

It’s all so ill, it is beginning to make me depressed – I’ve stopped laughing long enough to think of all the lonely fools pulled into these chats to be fleeced. Not everyone gets to make money on a fad, being a first or second mover is important. For the rest of us, apparently there’s two table-table tournaments on some unregulated app. You have to feel a little for these victims not because the scam is so subtle but the swindled are so stupid they need protection from themselves. The crypto world is pure financial Darwinism, which can be a little hard on the stomach.

This one Poker Kings (@PokerKings_) / Twitter is barely coherent. We get a cartoon figure from a 1970’s newspaper and he’s playing poker with lots of gold? The enstocked figure, an enforced mania for the NFT artist as he must confront making a thousand images different, is reaching up to hold a mace or something? Is that what kings and queens do in game? Why even bother? Put more effort into your scam, young man.

In this one, NFT (mysticpokers.com), you spend money on a “deck” in order to play some tournament, with I guess all your other deck enthusiasiasts.

When purchasing a Deck, you will randomly win one of the four available Decks (bronze, silver, gold, diamond). 

So you don’t even really get to choose which one – what if you buy two and get the same one? Just… why bother?

Developed by an ambitious team of poker lovers, Mystic Poker Will Merge Traditional Poker Models With The Cryptocurrency World, Maximizing The Chance Of Success. MYP is the currency of the Mystic poker economy.

Yes, I see we don’t speak English so I can’t really penalize that, but it’s really worse. These people don’t understand the word “economy” in any language, including their own. Do they really think they are going to create a whole system of action? Do any of these people study or think about their market at all, or is the grift so tempting, so salivating good that you just dive right on in and spend years and tens of thousands on demonstrably poor ideas?

Might be a lesson there, I don’t know, for you buying crypto. (Too soon?)

To answer all this, we have more than just a roadmap, a “whitepaper” is required. This one starts off reassuringly:

Well that’s good news!
You had me at liquidity.

I guess whitepaper means “insane speculation.” No wonder we need socialism – we’re too stupid to run our lives. I’m finally convinced!

Dealers really should be punctual.

Even if this gibberish made any sense, the basic economics of it does not. No one is going to “farm” for twelve consecutive hours for the meager rewards of this “non pyramid” virtual slavery, or if they mean some other user activity, there is no way a critical mass is reached for their farmed “chips” to ever approximate a real blockchain value.

It’s not even really worth calling these projects scams in cases like this, because a scam is a kind of financial crime, whereas mostly these projects are going to implode and just waste the scammer’s time. Actually, only socialism could give you the freedom to waste your life like this. I’m against it again! D’oh!

Never mind the details, though, they are always depressing and it’s really the images that matter. For Mystic, I guess it’s little western royalty figures condensed into island totems? Almost genius, other than not being interesting or attractive at all. Who wants this? Now slick NFT aspirant Jonathan Little tells us insincerely that you express yourself through NFTs – what weirdo sits down and stares at this with contentment? Do you think Jlil, after a long day of selling poker out sits down and finds peace in this NFT garden? Why does the emperor never wear any clothes in NFT land? I’m getting real tired of seeing his sweaty, droopy balls and that meat cue bouncing in the breeze.

I need a break. I thought I could go through a few dozen of these, but I’m going to tap out early. These projects are miserable, punch-yourself-in-the-face stupid. Instead, I might as well address the PokerPaint guy, Brett Butz. The main issue is not his NFTs per se. When I first saw the Pokerpaint’s guy’s stuff a few years ago, it seemed like nice graphic design, great job. However, Pokerpaint guy kept repeating the same idea, and then doubled down on repeating it, so there’s that problem. He’s ruining his own market. Do something else if you have the chops. 

Of course that’s not the issue. The main problem for PokerPaint is related to the NFT sphere, though. Butz doesn’t get permission to use implicitly or explicitly copyrighted pieces as the basis for his photoart. Full stop. Eventually Hailey Hochstetler and others, who are used to their work being abused because such theft is easy if not common, objected strenuously enough for a few players to take notice. With enough sympathy for her going around, the question got enough attention to force Butz to alter some of his practice –  but not abandon it. Fine, he struggles on to the next browbeating.

What’s interesting and somehow overlooked is just as their work is protected, copyright law also protects the subjects of the photos too. It’s interesting that players, who normally fight for every dollar, simply let Pokerpaint guy and all of these NFT scrubs off the hook. No one can sell your image for profit without your consent. It’s true you might have to fight them to enforce it – that is how healthy law works and so we don’t have a bureaucracy of behavior overlords, for the most part – but this rather natural law is part of the ingenious body of work that copyright is. However, that’s not the real irony. The irony is that the reason most players don’t try to fight for their image is they are so used to the grift they sort of respect it, and won’t bother to educate themselves on the subject, so that they implicitly endorse these NFT projects and Pokerpaint.

Still, it’s important to fight for what is right. While I am an amateur artist and don’t take my stuff very seriously, when I do contract work and it is violated I feel for all the real artists and subjects who are abused by indifference and greed. When some slimeball in the Solve For Why chat incorporated whole, unmutated drawings of mine into his pieces, I objected. Obviously, he should make his own drawing and not take mine as the basis for his image. However, in a twist, then he tried to blackmail me into backing off. I held firm and did not bother the S4Y brass as a favor to them because when S4Y broke their own contract with me, I was angry and rude over it rather than settling it reasonably. That was a mistake on my part, so I was determined to take care of the blackmailer without bothering them and did so. However, the issue is important and one day soon it is going to arise in poker, probably when some big time poker figure realizes they don’t have to allow their celebrity to be abused by these shameless token hucksters.

Let’s close on some better NFT projects, on a little hope.

The Nutted Society images have a lot of energy. They are caricatures, and they seem to have wizened up to the legal implications of their work, as I don’t see names associated with the rather obvious faces the talented artist has captured. However, the downside of these collectibles/usual poker app game package is the joke is over before it starts. The poker “nuts” are wrapped in a straightjacket. The whole thing is based on a pun doing a lot of work, and a whole bunch of people used to easy income like Kevin Martin and Jamie Staples are hoping this one flies.

Fanfiction won’t make the money, but they are trying.

They are also moving into some other themes, including connecting Venom on ACR to Venom the copyrighted Marvel character, or something that will get them into trouble if they ever get big. It’s all a little sloppy.

This is one of the better ones, the Deck of Degeneracy, I almost hate to say, given it is sponsored by the oily Jonathan Little – I guess he’s learned another lesson in “adding value” after his other NFT fiasco. There’s identifiable and somewhat quantifiable perks behind it, and aside from interminable Ape-hustling (you really think that’s what will get you a few more dollars now and in future? Doesn’t even work with the bones of the design, but Jlil just had to go there for the lay-up, I guess, and remind us who he is) Wes Henry offers a remarkably good design. This guy has the Eye, look at it.

That’s good work. The confused watercolor and oil fake spatter is dubious but given what else is around, pretty damn acceptable.

For your Jlil nft you actually get potential coaching and freerolls and staking. As far as I can tell, no bizarre farming of poker food and whatnot, no lying graphs. When your project gets outdone by Mr. Little, maybe you need to take a long look in the mirror.

One of the few poker NFTs that seems to show any wit or talent, is, I regret to say, yes, the Pokermon guy. As tedious as the joke is, he puts some real effort into his schlock. This guy works hard.

Dodge legal issues.

Whatever, it’s fun. Now the question is, is he trading illicitly on the celebrity of others and not remunerating them? The answer is, essentially, yes. However, as I’ve said, they don’t care. At some point I remember him rather humorously pointing out that his drawings are so inaccurate you can’t necessarily identify who is in the picture! And it’s mostly true. 

Who is that? Why is Phil Ivey a 90 year old Barber Shop character? Pay yo mamma some rent!

That’s not Vanessa- oh I see what you did there! D’oh! It’s just not anyone, it’s recognition by haircut.

However, he increasingly breaks his rule and even seems to have incorporated photo art in the latest pieces, inviting trouble. Further, by naming who they are, an IP case easily comes together. He doesn’t care and thinks he is protected, in a misunderstanding of the law and the blockchain itself. That’s fine, and the law is always, always, subject to interpretation and lucky whims. This is the only project, ironically, that has any balance of originality, humor, and fun. Personally, I’m an adult, I don’t want Pokermon or Pokémon cards, but I guess someone out there, maybe Jared Bleznick, does. Good luck with that.

In fact, I think that’s the close, I can’t take any more: Good luck with all that.



2 thoughts on “Dummies for NFTs

  1. “This message will self-destruct in less than six months.” Note that as the projects fail, their promo websites stop working, and so the links here start dying.

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