In case you've missed it, why the WSOP is a joke
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There's been a lot of complaining about the Rio and the WSOP this year, so I thought I'd outline as much of it as I could in this blog. I'll start with things I have experience with and move on to second hand stories and reports from poker outlets.
There have been many problems with the HU tournaments, starting with the un-randomness of the 3k HA (Event #2). I drew Ivey, and we talked about how we both registered early for the event (>24 hours beforehand). Since we both had seat cards assigned to our exact seats (not numbers that were drawn "randomly" at the last second by WSOP, like they did in the 25k HU last year and the 10k HU this year), we were predetermined to be playing this match before most of the field registered. There were about 320 registered all told, meaning that ~64 got a bye. They could not have known they would get over 256 for the event (I'd say that was a pretty good line actually), which means it is completely impossible for them to open up more than 64 tables (4 ppl at each table, 1 seat plays 4 seat and 7 seat plays 10 seat) before they have 257 registered. Additionally, I had several friends who registered in the last 5-10 minutes of registration and they all got a bye. I don't know what was/wasn't random about the draw, I just known it wasn't all entirely random. Phil and I talked about it for a minute, but we both basically decided we know the WSOP is incompetent and we don't care enough to do anything, I guess I care just enough to write this blog and let everyone know the organization is a joke.
Perhaps a bigger problem than their inability to create random matchups in these HU events is the payouts. In the 3k and 10k HU, over 20% of the field was paid (by contrast, in the 5k MixMax, less than half of that number made the money (11%, which is more reasonable). In the 3k HA, 33rd to 64th received a whopping $3,395, for a profit of $395 (minus any tips [lol], massages, $6 orange juices, $15 salads, $4.50 gatorades, etc.) for 6-10 hours of play. Perhaps better yet, if you win ANOTHER round, you get $5,144-- still not double the buy in! In the 10k HU Turbo (I added Turbo, since it is) Championship, a mincash is $10,966; against, $966 profit minus all the other Rio tax. The method to the madness is that more cashes, more likely people put money in the pit or play more tournaments. I get it. These HU tournaments are just not the same though-- they are populated by 90%+ professional poker players, all who would promote having to win 3 matches (or 4, with a bye) instead of 2 or 3. In the 10k HU, taking off 11k multipled by 16 would add 176k to the rest of the prizepool-- increasing it by over 10%. They could get a real number on top, close to $500k, instead of under $400k. The solution is obviously to change the payouts to reflect that or cap it at a reasonable number. They'll never want to turn anyone away (and I don't blame them), so changing the HU payout structure to reflect something close to 10% that every other tournament pays out is the clear solution (or make it winner take all).
For some of you that don't know, All American Dave is a (relatively healthy, afaik) food delivery service that caters to poker players (others, I'm sure, but it's caught fire in the poker community during the WSOP). At some point Caesar's shut him down-- now, I don't know the status of it, but they made it so that he couldn't walk into the Rio and hand a paper bag full of food to his customers at their tables. I don't personally use AAD, but I've heard good things. The Rio, assumedly, has shut him down because they want to filter people to their own food options (most of it crap; overpriced crap). I don't know what else to say about this, but they allow eating at the tables, so I don't see why this guy can't deliver his food. They should respect the hustle, he's just trying to make a buck-- the Caesar's with the rake, AAD with the nutrients (okay, really bad Wire analogy there).
Another huge debacle this summer was the Aguiar thing. Apparently at the $1500 PLH Final Table (featuring Aguiar, Negreanu, some other legends) they instituted a rule where players have to declare their actions verbally (conveniently, I think the rule started after Negreanu busted-- not that Daniel would have a problem declaring his actions, he would probably give a speech every time he raised or called if they asked him too [that would be a lot of speeches!]). Truthfully, I think there is too much uncertainty about actions from time to time. I have no problem declaring my actions. However, you simply can't ask people to declare their actions (for the purpose of their shitty WSOP live feed) after they played an entire fucking tournament under a different set of rules where they could just place bets out and that would be binding. Also, there will be a likely language barrier that could open up angle shooting and whatnot. In response to this, Aguiar spoke very negatively about the new rule and how he didn't want to have to verbally declare actions (the WSOP said if the players didn't cooperate they would not allow them to play the final table, lol). As Negreanu said on Twitter, this rule is fucking stupid and it's likely to be dead inside a week, but afaik it remains an issue.
To add insult to injury (this reminds me of game 1 of Cs vs Heat when Ray Allen was blown for a turrible foul call and then subsequently blown for a turrible technical foul after he reacted by scrunching up his face and jumping in the air a bit), after Aguiar had spent some time complaining about the last minute rule change via various social media outlets, the WSOP retweeted (and it stayed up for 24 hours) a tweet that said, basically: Jonathan Aguiar is a whiny bitch, I wish he would just STFU and play poker. I'm paraphrasing, but that is about what it said. Seriously. The WSOP's "official" twitter! 70,000 followers! They retweeted something calling someone a whiny bitch and left it up there for all to see for a really, really long time. As usual, the incompetence in organizations (even big ones) never fails to amaze me.
Finally, I was relatively deep in the money of the 5k MixMax and I followed some of the event on pokernews after I busted. I can't remember who Joseph Cheong got HU against (nor can I remember who won), but after finishing a long day of poker Cheong and his opponent decided they wanted to put the HU for the bracelet off until the day after tomorrow, because Cheong had run up a stack in a $1500 during breaks between HU matches. However, the WSOP wouldn't let him play it right then (it was too late at night) or two days from then (some rule with the Nevada gaming commission or something?)-- they forced them to play in some magic window that basically had to be the next day. So, they started the HU match at 9 AM the next day, likely after inadequate sleep (yes I know, you guys don't give a fuck about sleep, but some of us like to get 8 solid).
Edit: Clayton reminded me how bad the dealers have been. They have been TERRIBLE. I've had a dozen dealers who need the players to count out stacks, bring in bets, etc. I can't even imagine how bad they'd be at PLO, split pot, or mixed games-- must be exponentially worse. Also worth noting these are not major problems at tournaments across Europe or the Bellagio.