Prahlad Friedman, then and now:
October 2009: I guarantee you’ll never see me with a poker site or casino logo.
January 2011: [Signing with UB.com] is just a perfect fit for me.
When rumors first surfaced that Prahlad Friedman was tapped to be the next UB.com sponsored poker pro, tongues started wagging. After all, Friedman was perhaps the highest profile victim of former UB principal Russ Hamilton during the site’s infamous ‘superuser’ scandal. But since the site eventually made financial amends, Friedman maintained that his ultimate beef was with Hamilton, not Ultimate Bet.
Still, Friedman’s embrace of UB had its limits. As he told ESPN in 2009, while UB “took care of me, did right by me,” his decision to resume playing on the site didn’t mean he wanted to “represent them when I say this. I don’t want to get sponsored by anyone.” Furthermore, as a self-described ‘logo-free hippy boy’, Friedman has always maintained an anti-corporate stance. So what’s changed?
In a wide-ranging interview with Bluff Magazine, the WSOP bracelet holder tried to justify his decision to go corporate by stressing the “creative control” UB would be granting him in terms of commercials, clothing lines, etc.. Friedman views this freedom as a chance to “be a good influence on the world and get your messages out there. … I’m trying to mix with society more because I feel a greater influence on more people. Rather than being on the outside and saying people shouldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that, I just feel like I can take away some of my judgements and work from the inside out.”
A significant factor in Friedman’s decision appears to have been the “good chunk” of his UB paycheck that will be redirected to various charities. “That was the only way I was going to sign a deal with anyone was if there was going to a charity component to it. I’m not doing this for money.” Friedman intends to solicit feedback via Twitter as to where the money should go, but be forewarned — Friedman intends to fully research how these organizations intend to use his donations. One should expect nothing less from a ‘logo-wearing hippy boy’.