Pot Limit Omaha instructor Fernando Habegger has released a slew of information regarding his opinion of an ongoing dispute with former collaborators Doug Polk and Upswing Poker.

* This is a developing story and may be updated if/when additional information is released by either of the parties involved.

CHANGELOG UPDATES

(a) 12:30PM EASTERN TIME – JULY 22, 2018: Doug Polk releases a statement via Reddit.
(b) 1:30PM EASTERN TIME – JULY 22, 2018: Author added brief section providing general explanation of online affiliate marketing relationships.
(c) 5:30PM EASTERN TIME – JULY 22, 2018: Joey Ingram posts responses in the corresponding 2+2 thread here.
(d) 7:30PM EASTERN TIME – JULY 22, 2018: Doug Polk posts an updated response that he will soon release a new response video here.
(e) 12:15AM EASTERN TIME – JULY 23, 2018: Doug Polk posts the following YouTube video response.


(f) 2:00AM EASTERN TIME – JULY 23, 2018: Two new threads have been created (one in 2+2 NVG and one on the Poker Subreddit) that are relevant to the most recent video published by Doug Polk. You can find those threads here and here.

ORIGINAL STORY – PUBLISHED JULY 22, 2018

Early this morning, Pot Limit Omaha coach Fernando Habegger (also known as ‘JNandezPoker’) released a one-hour YouTube video outlining his view of an ongoing dispute with Doug Polk and Upswing Poker.

The disagreements between Habegger and Upswing Poker principals Doug Polk, Ryan Fee and Matt Colletta stem from a falling out which first came to public light in late 2017.

Recent Forum and Social Media Backlash

Habegger’s one-hour video (which is summarized in the timestamps section below) initially appears to be in response to forum and social media backlash pertaining to a separate dispute involving Habegger and former collaborator “Filip.” The corresponding thread that covers that dispute can be found in the TwoPlusTwo Transaction Feedback & Disputes forum.

A summary of Upswing Poker’s version of these disagreements along with an opinion on Habegger’s dispute with “Filip” can be found within a recently uploaded article at Upswing Poker that discusses this topic in depth.

Recent Social Media (Twitter) Interaction Timeline

Doug Polk summarizes his experiences with Fernando Habegger on Thursday, July 19th.

Fernando Habegger releases a one-hour video response early Sunday morning, July 22nd.

Doug Polk is scheduled to appear on the Poker Life Podcast with Joey Ingram on Monday, July 23rd.

Here are two forums threads where this dispute is currently being discussed.

Poker Subreddit (Jul 22, 2018)
TwoPlusTwo NVG (Jul 22, 2018)

Brief Overview of Affiliate Relationships

The following video contains multiple references to online affiliate marketing.

In online marketing, affiliate links are often used by collaborating interests to track sign-ups for premium products in order to gauge an individual’s or website’s sales contributions and compensate accordingly.

An example of such an online affiliate relationship is the business arrangement between Part Time Poker and online poker sites like PokerStars, 888 Poker, and Partypoker.

When our readers click on these links and sign-up for real money services on these sites, this “referral” information is tracked, with affiliates such as Part Time Poker receiving financial consideration from the site in question either through a flat rate or percentage-based commission of x-customer’s real money patronage within a certain amount of time following acquisition.

Fernando Habegger YouTube Video Response Timestamps

Day 1 YouTube Ratings: 4,237 Views, Likes/Dislikes Disabled

(0:00 – 10:00) Intro. General info. Background, etc.

(10:00) Fernando Habegger suggests there may have been tension over Doug Polk’s decision to put Fernando in charge of the Upswing PLO University over Joey Ingram.

(16:30 – 20:00) Fernando claims he had a 25% commission deal and that he assumed that represented a percentage of gross sales. However, Fernando says his cut was paid after Joey received full 25% for gross sales as an affiliate.

(20:00) Fernando suggests Joey’s promotion of the PLO University as an affiliate was over the top, and that Joey didn’t follow through with providing videos to those who purchased the course after having been promised by Joey that they would receive his videos as an added value to the course.

Fernando says Joey’s use of affiliate link under YouTube videos “cannibalized” Fernando’s effort/payout, and that Joey was “enhancing” his own brand over Fernando’s through his affiliate relationship with Upswing. Says Joey made “$20,000” in affiliate income from his affiliate link on that specific Week 1 Launch podcast with Fernando. Fernando again suggests that Joey’s affiliate cut was eating into his own profits.

(22:00) Fernando says initial sales goal/projection for the PLO University course was 300 over its lifetime. Says the course sold roughly 1,000 units – or $1,000,000 in gross sales for the $1,000 product. Fernando says he made approximately $200,000 from the course in less than four to six months.

(23:15) Fernando Habegger recounts his initial “encounter” with Ryan, Doug, and Joey in Las Vegas. Describes Polk Palace. Fernando claims Doug “big-timed” him at first face-to-face meeting. Fernando gives Doug whiskey upon meeting him for first time.

(27:30) Fernando says in his opinion PLO University course sold about 1,000 copies which generated $750,000 in net revenue for Upswing.

(28:00) Fernando says Monker Solver arrived on the market about this time, and that he informed Upswing that he could establish a membership product around the software – but that it would need to be consistently updated.

(30:00) Fernando Habegger talks about Filip, who is “horseofhell” on 2+2 and was also very capable with Monker Solver. Fernando strikes a deal with Filip to pay him “20% of whatever Upswing pays me.”

(31:00) PLO Lab contract in October 2017. Says contract was signed at last minute, during launch week, and that the percentage stipulated in the contract for Fernando was 30%. Fernando says he was surprised at the 30% offer, and that he believed a “gentleman’s agreement” was in place that Fernando would receive at least 50% of gross sales from PLO Lab.

(32:00) Fernando explains why he was so disappointed with the 30% offer. Fernando says he eventually signed the contract since it was already launch week.

(33:00) Fernando says he is informed by Upswing during PLO Lab launch week that Joey will once again be an affiliate for the course. Fernando says he “wasn’t happy” with the affiliate deal Joey had, claims Upswing insisted Joey should receive “$100,000 or more” for his promotion of the product.

(34:00) Fernando says he agreed to these terms, and that Joey was eager to have a podcast with Fernando on the “first day” of the PLO Lab launch. Fernando declined, and it was decided that the podcast would take place on the “Thursday” of launch week.

Fernando says Joey once again promoted the Upswing course by offering “15 additional videos” to viewers who signed up for the PLO Lab through his link. “In my opinion, it was a lie,” Fernando states. Fernando says he was upset with this and communicated his concern to Upswing president Matt Colletta. Fernando tells Matt that he feels “trapped” and “betrayed” by the situation.

(35:00) Fernando informs Upswing that he wants to view Joey’s affiliate link sign-up statistics showing how many PLO Lab customers were new business versus how many were return customers. Fernando suggests that the acquisition costs of those returning customers had already been covered via Joey’s affiliate payouts for the PLO University. In Fernando’s opinion, Joey had between 140 to 180 sign-ups during the first two weeks of the PLO Lab.

(35:50) Fernando says that after consulting with Matt Colletta, he learned that only 5 of the 140-180 PLO Lab sign-ups through Joey’s affiliate link were new, while the rest were transitioning from the PLO University to a new product.

(36:25) Fernando made a second trip to Las Vegas in December 2017. He talked to Joey, Ryan Fee, and Doug Polk, and communicated that he felt “betrayed” by them and by Upswing due to what Fernando perceived as an unfair commission deal compared to the affiliate deal Joey had, both for the PLO University and PLO Lab.

(37:00) Fernando describes a conversation he had with Joey about the deal, and that Joey communicated to him that the deal wasn’t changing, and that the “only way” Fernando could get out of what he believed to be unfair terms would be to “quit” Upswing altogether. Fernando says he agreed with Joey in that face-to-face conversation that such a decision would be “insane,” but already knew he was probably going to do precisely that for the reasons outlined in this video.

(37:50) Fernando describes communications he had with Ryan Fee around this time as “angry.” Fernando describes how he was “defeated” in his communications/negotiations with Doug Polk and suggests Doug exercised a domineering position in those calls.

(39:00) December 2017, Fernando Habegger decides to re-read the contract after being informed by Doug that the deal contained within said contract would stand. After re-reading the contract, Fernando says he discovered that his deal with Upswing was on a “month-to-month” basis, and that either Upswing or Fernando could terminate the agreement at “any moment” (with three-months’ notice). Fernando explains that he made the decision to resign because of the past experiences and current climate.

(39:45) Fernando explains his methodology for a PLO product and plugs his services. Fernando says the initial cost of this service that he offered to Upswing would be $50,000 and that Fernando would cover that expenditure, and then partner/integrate with Upswing at terms Fernando desired. Fernando says Upswing was against this idea and rejected any progression on the topic.

(40:45) Fernando says that he communicated with Upswing on average once per week to discuss “numbers,” but never the “content” aspect.

(41:10) December 31, 2017: Fernando has a one-on-one call with Upswing president Matt Colletta and informs Matt that he is going to “quit the company.” Fernando explains that he wanted to break this news first to Matt in a one-on-one call because that would prompt a 4-way call between Fernando, Matt, Ryan, and Doug. Fernando says Matt was “in shock” upon learning that Fernando was quitting and insisted that he wasn’t allowed to do so by the existing contract.

(41:45) January 1, 2018: Fernando receives a letter via Skype text from Matt Colletta that, in Fernando’s opinion, included “threats.” In Fernando’s opinion – as he remembers — the language in the text included the following examples:

“If you pull this move, you’re going to be, never-ever again able to work with anyone in the industry for life.”

“Everyone is going to hate you. We’re going to make sure that will take place.”

“It is impossible to pull off a business in the poker industry. We have everyting dominated, and therefore there’s no way for you to do anything in there.”

“Specifically if you pull this move, we’re going to make sure that you get hurt. That your reputation gets hurt.”

(42:50) On January 1, 2018, there is a four-way call between Fernado, Matt, Ryan, and Doug that was “very heated.” Fernando says that Doug took the lead in the call, and insisted that Fernando could not exit the contract and threatened to “sue” Fernando, as Fernando recalls. “We’re going to sue you.” “We’re going to destroy you if you’re going to break the contract.”

(43:15) At this point in the call, Fernando Habegger says Matt Colletta informed the group that Fernando wouldn’t be “breaking” the contract by leaving because Fernando’s deal was a short-term contract. Fernando says that upon hearing this from Matt, Doug realizes he hasn’t read the contract. Fernando felt vindicated in having the upper hand over Doug Polk at that moment.

(44:20) Fernando Habegger outlines the terms he offered Upswing: (a) 3 months until departure, (b) assist in finding a replacement, (c) facilitate a professional exit. Fernando says he remained firm on insisting that he was going to leave, and that he was not willing to negotiate, and that a formal letter of resignation from Fernando to Upswing was already on its way to Upswing headquarters.

(44:50) Shortly afterwards, Fernando says he begins to feel uncomfortable about the plight of current PLO Lab members, who are unaware at this time of what has transpired via the aforementioned calls. Fernando tells Upswing that he wants to communicate his pending departure to Upswing PLO Lab subscribers immediately, and that Upswing rejects this idea and insists that no communication should take place until a replacement has been found.

(45:35) Fernando insists on communicating this news to Upswing subscribers as soon as possible on Friday, January 5, 2018, and that “next week” would be the deadline. Fernando and Upswing agree to cease discussions until Monday, January 8, 2018, at which point a strategy on how best to proceed would be executed.

(46:10) Fernando states that an hour after reaching this agreement on Friday, January 5, Doug blocked Fernando and his team from the members-only Upswing Facebook group and posted his own video communicating Fernando’s upcoming departure to Upswing Lab members. Fernando describes this action by Doug as going back on an agreement that had been reached an hour earlier, and that in Fernando’s opinion, Doug’s corresponding video communication was “negative” and one-sided.

(46:50) Fernando states that at this point he realized that he was at “war” with Upswing, and subsequently released his own video addressing the dispute. Fernando says that he didn’t discuss numbers in that video because he “didn’t want to get sued,” and because of the 3-month commitment he still had with Upswing.

(47:30) At the end of January 2018, Fernando says he realized that he hadn’t been paid by Upswing for December sales commissions, which were around $30,000 in Fernando’s opinion, and that he needs this money to pay his employees/cover expenses.

(48:00) Fernando says his messages were ignored until the end of February 2018, when Fernando states that Upswing informed him he would be compensated at the end of the three-month resignation period to ensure “quality” of content. Fernando says that this created stress for him due to the time he was placing into his soon-to-be competing business. Fernando says he agreed to Upswing’s terms because of this stress.

(48:50) Fernando Habegger discusses how Upswing PLO Lab refunds were handled, and Upswing’s argument that Fernando is “stealing” this money because he (according to Upswing communications) would be fully compensated for yearly sign-ups that would later receive pro-rated refunds through Upswing. Fernando says that he agreed to take care of those expenditures despite not being legally obligated to do so to avoid the potential hit to his reputation.

(49:35) Fernando says that at this point the total PLO Lab membership was about 1,000 — and that among those around 100 were yearly subscribers. Fernando estimated that he would be owed approximately $90,000 to $100,000 including pro-rated refund expenditures for yearly subscribers after his three-month depature period ended.

(50:05) Fernando plugs his JNandezPoker service and says he believes he is still owed $100,000 by Upswing at this time. Fernando says that instead of receiving the money he believes he is owed, he — in his opinion — received a letter from an Upswing legal representative stating that his JNandezPoker YouTube videos were in violation of the contract. Fernando describes this letter as an Upswing strategy to “bully” him and to ensure that Fernando didn’t receive any cash flow to build his own business.

(50:45) Fernando states that he hired a lawyer, and that following the three-month departure period, the final calculations included his content for Upswing from the four-month period of December 2017 thru March 2018. Fernando says that his estimation — after refunds — was around $90,000 that he would receive from Upswing, of which he would then distribute roughly $40,000 to his employees, $10,000 would go to expenses, and Fernando would take the rest.

(51:30) Fernando states that, in his opinion, Upswing “screwed up” the numbers in their final calculations, and that Upswing communicated that the amount owed to Fernando for the four-month period was $1,200 due to refund expenditures. Fernando says he “felt” he was “scammed” in this situation in his opinion, but is not confirming that such is the case.

(52:30) “It is my impression that Upswing Poker, Doug Polk, owes me around $90,000.” Fernando says he has two options currently, to argue his case in court or to let it go, and outlines the hurdles (from Fernando’s perspective as a Switzerland resident) of civil litigation in Nevada.

(53:40) Fernando Habegger states that he agreed to Upswing’s calculation of $1,200 but has yet to receive anything from Upswing, and has decided to let it go to distance himself from his relationship with Upswing and focus on his own business.

(54:00) Fernando makes reference to Upswing, Doug Polk not being able to find a replacement PLO Lab coach, Doug’s [confrontational] social media presence, and how some of what was being communicated by Upswing owners didn’t resonate with Fernando’s values.

(55:00) Fernando Habegger suggests that Doug’s YouTube channel was built on “hating” other people and “on the back of other people’s mistakes.” Fernando describes Doug Polk’s YouTube videos as both “funny” and “evil” because “it destroys other people’s reputation” even if said mistake was minor in nature or a “moment of weakness,” it becomes a “meme,” says Fernando, and becomes “amplified” to sell Doug’s product, and that Fernando felt “uneasy” about this.

(55:45) Fernando describes a conversation he had with “one of the owners” of Upswing that occurred via Skype call during a time when Bitcoin was priced between $18,000 to $19,000 USD. Fernando says one of the owners said the following in a “manic” state:

“I have so much fucking money, but I still need more! How many videos have you done today?”

Fernando says this type of communication made him uneasy and went against his values.

(56:35) Fernando describes a separate event, in which (in his opinion) one of the Upswing owners (allegedly) purchased the domain name of Run It Once Poker dot-com on the day Phil Galfond announced the training site’s poker client. Fernando argues that this decision and subsequent social media interaction was taken against a direct competitor of Upswing Poker by one of its owners, and that Upswing never disclosed this to the public. Fernando adds that he personally informed Phil Galfond of this.

(57:35) Fernando describes this action as “highly unethical” and personally believes it is “illegal” to “buy the URLs of your competitor and pull such a strategical move on them.”

(57:55) Summary. Fernando’s social media contact info. Conclusion.
___

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSIDERATION (TWITTER): @JNandezPoker, @DougPolkPoker, @Joeingram1

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story and may be updated if/when additional information is released by either of the parties involved.