Monday, October 25, 2004

Time for the Bellagio to step in?

On the Hendon Mob Forum there is a couple of posts in a thread called "WSOP 2005" from Tom Gibson and Felicia Lee.

They paint a very worrying picture of the shape the WSOP will be in next year.

To summarise their posts, here are the main changes:

1. Juice will up to 9% per event.
2. Nothing will be taken from pools for dealer tokes, leaving players to sort that out themselves. Indeed, Felicia claims tournament staff will be paid exactly nothing by Harrahs!
3. The excellent team of staff currently in place will be dumped in favour of in house floorpeople.
4. Room rates at the Rio (where the event is due to be held) will be an amazing $250/night.
5. Matt Savage is unlikely to be tournament director.
6. Online sites might not run satellites for the WSOP.
7. Logos will not be allowed on players shirts.

It is a very bleak picture with players suffering a severe decline is level of service and value for money.

Let's hope the Bellagio steps in and runs a tournament to rival the WSOP.

It is an incredible hotel with the facilities to cater for huge fields. The comps they give are generous and the room rates for players are great value ($100 per night during the week for a 5 star hoel, which compares favourably with the rates for the Quality Hotel Walsall. 'Nuff said). The staff, led by the inimitable Jack Mcclelland are the best anywhere.

I am quite sure all the players would support a rival tournament at the Bellagio.

I would love to win a WSOP bracelet. But, not at all costs. If Harrahs are intent on killing the WSOP, I wouldn't play it. Poker players should vote with their feet.


Blogger Harry Demetriou said... you may know The WPT was set up specifically to compete with the WSOP. They are not all good but at least it is competition and in time the one that succeeds or grows best wil be the one the players give greater support to which imo will be a direct result of which offers better value for money and allows televised logos.

As for the rake or takeout last year it was already at the 9$ level which isn't so bad for a smaller tournament but outrageous for a larger buy in event. The problem is if we all keep playing then they will all keep getting greedier and greedier.

Below I have included last years WSOP deductions but the WPT ones are not that much better as they take 3% for dealers in all tournaments and then have a registration or entry fee which as a percentage decreases with buy in.

Personally I would think that taking out a total of 9% for tournament buy ins up to $1500 and 7% for $1501-$3000 and 5% for buy ins above that should more than cover costs but then I'm not an organizer. Makes you appreciate how good value UK tournaments are doesn't it?

WSOP 2004 Amount withheld from each buy-in:
Tournament Buy-in House Fee + Staff Toke Pool
$500 7% / 3%
$1,000 6% / 3%
$1,500 5% / 3%
$2,000 5% / 3%
$2,500 5% / 3%
$3,000 5% / 3%
$5,000 4% / 2%
$10,000 4% / 2%

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how much effort it would actually take to knock Harrah's off their perch?

With a viable alternative (say at The Bellagio) then I'm sure enough players and "names" could readily be persuaded to boycott WSOP until Harrah's decide to offer something resembling value to the players, internet companies and staff alike.

The WSOP main event may still get a couple of thousand runners, but the prestige goes flying out of the window if the best 500 players in the world are all playing up the road. I'm pretty sure that player power could kill off Harrahs' within a few short years - it just needs enough people to take a view on the principles involved - and, of course, someone with the profile (and the stones!) to take this on.

Then, it is up to Harrahs as to whether they want to sink the WSOP without trace, or soften their approach to ripping the financial arse out of it in the future.

Simon Galloway.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

The WPPA (recently formed players association)is currently trying to establish itself and get the players to act collectively. How it is doing or progressing I do not know but we need somehting like this to succeed.

Unfrtunately the bottom line is that we as players want our cake and the icing on the top too and to be able to eat it. We want televised events, added prize money, less rake, advertising etc etc and whilst this is not unreasonable and hopefully will be a natural progression we do not help ourselves.

I along with many others are just too apathetic/complacent to make a stand on these things and wee need someone to give us direction. I just can't see enough of us boycotting the bad value events and there are enough newcomers around for the organizers not to care. Their bottom line is about returns for directors and shareholders and whether they make it from the best or worst players is irrelevant.

I'm not saying this is right just that this is the way things are and something has to be done. The question is how we are going to actually organize ourselves as players to exert enough pressure to bring about change.

In the new WPPT (Pro WPT) we are allowed logos but was this due to player pressure - No it was becasue rivals allow logos. Removal of restrictions (playing rival leagues), however, was probably down to player pressure but then with rival choice there was no need for players to sign up exclusively to just one tour so the competition helped there too.

What we need is a rival who will allow logos/advertising and also have a reduced rake...then the others will fall into line as they will see income and profits threatened. Having said that player protests will help but I think we are a bit of a red herring personally and it's the competition that will drive the change and a better deal for us all. (hopefully it will be the WPPA or something similar).

3:51 AM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

PS I recall the Ladbrokes Rep stating last year that there was no incentive for them to run WPT events online if their players were not going to be allowed to wear logos. However with the level of rakes that online sites charge for WPT and WSOP qualifying events it's a bit like cutting their own noses off to spite their face.

Perhaps they too will be a massive incentive for WPT and WSOP to allow logos as after all they are responsible for a very large percentage of the entrants.

As for the WSOP deductions and not allowing logos we'll just have to wait for official confirmation on the subject and then pass judgement.

3:55 AM  
Blogger Luckyblind said...

Not sure if this is a good idea or not but here goes anyway.

The EPT seems to a success so far - the final evidence will be in the final TV production I guess.

I played in some of the smaller events at the Dublin Festival and the atmosphere and vibes seemed great and the main event was easily filled, in fact if they had more space the field could have been huge.

They allow Logo's.
The structure here seemed well recieved as regards blinds etc. All events were won by a recognised name.

The Fitzwilliam around the corner is expanding it's capacity for tournaments. Between them they would be able to hold 300+ runners. I may be not looking hard enough but I have not seen any events with this kind of field in europe.

With the right marketing and buy in level a million+ prize pool event could be organised with all the requirements for players. In fact with logo's allowed the amount of online seats the top sites could give away I think a $10000 buy in would fill up 300 seats creating the biggest prize pool in Europe.

I have not been to London since I started playing poker so I don't know if the same situation of two great poker clubs within a few hundred yards of each other exists, but if it does then we could have a couple of these events a year.

If this gaming bill goes through then we might be able to do it all in Super Casino!

4:37 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

I'm pessimistic about the overall situation. The WPPA is by all accounts struggling. The best source of info on that is . Competition is having no effect on rake or conditions because, as Harry points out, there are enough newcomers who don't care about these things. The WPT in particular are engaging in what I call "negative competition" - instead of lowering their charges they are trying to force people to commit to their events only and spreading false information, no to hell with that, lying about their competitors (by telling people in Aruba that the WPPA event had been cancelled, which it hadn't).

The rank and file poker player is not going to benefit from all this exposure unless he gets super-lucky (and does so while playing a mile over his bankroll). Annie Duke wins a $2 million invitational, well whoop de doo, meanwhile rakes are going up and up and up. If Harrah's are going to rake $600 per entrant off the main event (and I'd be amazed if that's all it is this year) with 6000 runners, that's $3.6 million in 7 days. And we have to pay the dealers ? Fuck that. I might go anyway it's true. But I'll be staying in the Gold Coast and taking money out of the whole shebang via satellites. Hey, I'll be doing a public service !


6:52 AM  
Blogger The Camel said...

Harry, from the way I read Toms post on HM he suggested that it the juice would be 9% with no take out for dealers! Effectively that would make 11-14% juice!

Just imagine how much they would take out from rebuy events!

Obviously an alternative to the series would be great. I know I've said it a number of times before but now really is the time for a players association. The WPPA just doesn't seem to cut it.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

I agree with your comments 100%.

On reading the HM posting I too interpreted that they would be taking out 9% and nothing for the dealers. Furthermore the dealers would not be paid and would have to to make do with tips alone.

However I cannot believe that this will be the case and await to see what Harrah's propose on this matter.

I have actually sent them an e-mail asking for the list of takeout percentages for the events along with the Harrah's/Dealer/Staff breakdown and should have an answer sometime soon as aparently their automated reply states I can expect an answer within 3-5 business dyas and only two have so far elapsed.

When I get it I shall post it here (and on the HM forum too) so that we can actually see Harrah's official position on this and then try and adopt an appropriate plan of action.

Unfortunately even though many tournaments have an automatic 3% taken out of the pool for dealers, some still expect a tip on top of this and IMO this is just being plain greedy. Personally I feel that it should be 2% of the prizepool as without it you would only expect the top three finishers to contribute 2-3% of their winnings but 2% of everyones fees would be about the same and a fairer way of distributing the cost.

Of course if the dealers were paid an above average amount for their work then we wouldn't have to worry about tips at all.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Steve Leighton said...

Hello Keith,
can you make it up for the game on Saturday night? Starts at 8.30, if you can make it let me know on

5:07 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

According to Pokerpages :

The following percentages will be withheld from Buy-In for each event: (Buy-in/Tournament staff/House) ($500.00/3%/7%) ($1,000/3%/6%) ($1,500/3%/5%) ($2,000/3%/5%) ($2,500/3%/5%) ($3,000/3%/5%) ($5,000/2%/4%) ($10,000/2%/4%)

Which is the same as last year.


5:29 AM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

I hate to say it but I would like to wait for the official reply from Harrah's.

Poker Pages may well be assuming it is the same as last year but hopefully they are right.

Thanks for the info Andy.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Me too. I was careful not to post that as fact. Or, as they say, FACT !


7:13 AM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

I just received confoirmation from Harrahs that the deductions remain exactly the same as last year.

See Andy Ward's Post for precise details.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Felicia :) said...

I just found this blog, so sorry for coming on the scene at this late date!

Yes, it seems that the WSOP will have the same juice as this year. It also seems that the early rumors were not just idle gossip, but that Harrah's had a change of heart after so much protest. I am not privy to these discussion, they are just things overheard from many sources, some top sources such as Savage, etc.

Unfortunately, the WPPA failed miserably. I wanted nothing more than for it to succeed. Marcel Luske and I were discussing this very thing yesterday (crapshoot tourneys, high juice, no chips, etc). He said it best, "Louis had the right idea, but said things in anger, which will not achieve anything."

4:44 PM  
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