Westgate Gave 50% Buy-In Discount to Select Entrants at HPT

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#1
Looks like they were going to end up short on entries and thus the prize pool guarantee (ie, they'd be running the tourney at a loss). So, with 90-minutes before registration cutoff, the Westgate announced a 50% discount for tournament entries to certain "VIPs" (I'm guessing VIP is code for "total amateurs"). Pros were not offered the same deal...

https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-ne...-fire-for-giving-some-players-buy-in-discount

HPT came out to say they were not involved in this decision - it was all Westgate's call.

There's talk on 2+2 of state regulators getting involved on this one.

Eek.

Bad optics by the Westgate.
 

SWEATER

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#3
Wesgate has been trying hard to make a name for itself in the poker world, too. For instance, they have been hosting “meetup” games for volggers like the Tropper, Neeme, Owen, etc... this will be a step in the wrong direction, imho.
 
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#5
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the casino covered the discounted portion, so the prize pool was not shorted. If that's the case, I don't see an issue with it, as casinos offer comps to their best customers all the time, and I'm sure plenty of pros on the circuit sponsored by certain companies get free rides or 100% sponsorship for their buyins in certain events. As long as all the money is in the prize pool, what's the issue?
 
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#6
As long as all the money is in the prize pool, what's the issue?
Selectively applying a discount based on what the cage thinks some players can afford and others cannot, is pretty f*cked up.

Oh, you’re an amateur/tourist and want to enter? You pay $300.

Oh, you’re a pro and want to enter? You pay $600.

I’m not sure how they defend this to regulators
 

upNdown

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#7
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the casino covered the discounted portion, so the prize pool was not shorted. If that's the case, I don't see an issue with it, as casinos offer comps to their best customers all the time, and I'm sure plenty of pros on the circuit sponsored by certain companies get free rides or 100% sponsorship for their buyins in certain events. As long as all the money is in the prize pool, what's the issue?
I’m with you. I don’t see the issue.
 
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#8
Selectively applying a discount based on what the cage thinks some players can afford and others cannot, is pretty f*cked up.

Oh, you’re an amateur/tourist and want to enter? You pay $300.

Oh, you’re a pro and want to enter? You pay $600.

I’m not sure how they defend this to regulators

Casinos offer different promotions to different players based on a variety of factors

Some people get room comps, some don't. Some get free play, some don't

If the prize pool is correct I still don't see the issue
 

SWEATER

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#9
This shady behavior is the issue, for me.
From the article:

“The real problem in my mind came later after hearing all fellow pros who tried to register during this period were denied the promotion,” Linde said. “Not only that, but they were having the discounted guys register in a back room, to keep it away from other players.”
 
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#10
Casinos offer different promotions to different players based on a variety of factors

Some people get room comps, some don't. Some get free play, some don't

If the prize pool is correct I still don't see the issue
Based on the reporting, the casino made a general announcement for “discounted entries” for the tournament. It was only when certain players (pros) got to the cage that they were told the discount “was not for them.”

I understand that casinos offer comps and discounts as they please. But this sounds like selective bias that was applied arbitrarily, after all players were notified of the discount.

Not sure how they get out of this one scott free, given the way the worded the announcement. If they had said “50% tourist special for tournament entry!” That’s one thing. But they didn’t say that. They made a broad announcement and then reneged the offer for a specific class of players at the cage. That’s pretty messed up.
 
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#11
Based on the reporting, the casino made a general announcement for “discounted entries” for the tournament.
.
Incorrect. The article states a guy heard other people claim there was an "announcement" about the discount

Why would the casino make an announcement to everyone and then hide those getting it in another area? That makes no sense

What most likely happened is someone heard about the discount and spread the news on their own, and everyone thought it applied to them
 
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#12
Incorrect. The article states a guy heard other people claim there was an "announcement" about the discount

Why would the casino make an announcement to everyone and then hide those getting it in another area? That makes no sense

What most likely happened is someone heard about the discount and spread the news on their own, and everyone thought it applied to them
Sorry. I’ve been reading numerous articles and posts on this issue. Kessler had a Facebook post where he mentioned an announcement “made throughout the Poker room.”

It looks like he’s since deleted that post... https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...386575663.2789.100000643075023&type=3&theater

There are also mentions of an “announcement” over on 2+2.

Not sure what is fact at this point. But if the announcement was indeed made, I think the reneged offers are a serious screwup. As that where most of the complaints are arising from.
 
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#13
I agree IF a blanket announcement was made

But given there's a lot of "well, Billy-Joe told me that Mary-Sue told him" going on I imagine it's just players upset they weren't given the half-off special
 

ruskba

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#14
Listen at 6:20 for some discussion from pros.:

https://audioboom.com/posts/6800892-lfg-podcast-6-riu-reno-warriors-hpt-westgate-debacle-bb-antes

Personally I think there’s two issues:

1) the promotion was only made available to the last group of people to register during the last flight. So you can’t really say it was offered to “VIPs.” It was just offered to those in the right place/right time.

2) (this comes from the podcast) offering a discount to add people that otherwise would not have played means it’s that much harder for the people who already paid full price to win the tournament. So yes, the full amount is in the prize pool, but it’s the extra players that are the problem.
 
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#15
But then you could argur

Alllowing pros to be sponsored in rebuy events where they gain an edge over players who are paying their own way isn't "fair" because it's that much harder for the amatuers to take the same stack-threatening plays

Allowing people to satellite in who couldn't afford to play otherwise makes it that much more difficult for the "people who paid full price"
 

ruskba

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#16
But those two scenarios are well known and advertised before the tournament starts. Anyone entering is fully aware that there are pros who are sponsored and people that won satellites. But in this case, 300 people entered for $1650 because that was the only option. The last 30 or so had a new option presented that the first 300 never even expected to be an option that would effect the player pool size.
 

upNdown

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#17
But those two scenarios are well known and advertised before the tournament starts. Anyone entering is fully aware that there are pros who are sponsored and people that won satellites. But in this case, 300 people entered for $1650 because that was the only option. The last 30 or so had a new option presented that the first 300 never even expected to be an option that would effect the player pool size.
Right, I see your point. I don’t care if some people got the discount and some people were denied it - that’s just whining. But if the if the guaranteed prize pool would have been naturally achieved with X number of entrants, and the discounted players increased the entrants to a number higher than X, that is a legitimate complaint. Unless there’s some sneaky fine print somewhere that says the casino is allowed to do that.
 

ruskba

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#18
Right, I see your point. I don’t care if some people got the discount and some people were denied it - that’s just whining. But if the if the guaranteed prize pool would have been naturally achieved with X number of entrants, and the discounted players increased the entrants to a number higher than X, that is a legitimate complaint. Unless there’s some sneaky fine print somewhere that says the casino is allowed to do that.
I believe that’s exactly what happened. The casino was looking at an overlay, panicked, and created a promo out of the blue to get more players in.

Next tournament Westgate hosts, not a single person should enter before the last half hour of the last flight. Since they’ve shown they’ll offer discounts if they’re in a bind, seems it’s -EV to pay full buyin early on.
 
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#19
Next tournament Westgate hosts, not a single person should enter before the last half hour of the last flight. Since they’ve shown they’ll offer discounts if they’re in a bind, seems it’s -EV to pay full buyin early on.
So much this.

They’ve demonstrated they have no problem changing the format after a tournament has already started.
 

Ronoh

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#20
But if the if the guaranteed prize pool would have been naturally achieved with X number of entrants, and the discounted players increased the entrants to a number higher than X, that is a legitimate complaint.
Looks like they announced the discount when there were 309 entries. Ended up with 329. At $1440 (to the prize pool) a pop full price would have still been well under the $500,000 guarantee.

If those numbers are correct 20 people (6% of the field) got in for half price.

I can understand the “that’s bullshit!” reactions but to take it any further than that is just silly. It changed nothing other than the number of players and REALISTICALLY the difference between a field of 309 and a field of 329 is close enough to zero to make no odds.
 
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#21
I've seen a room here in Tampa change their rebuy period from lvl 9 to lvl 11 to make sure they hit their guarantee.

Nothing surprises me anymore and I'm still not outraged about this either

But I'd rather see a return to true freezeouts with no rebuys/re-entries myself
 

ruskba

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#22
I do agree that it’s basically a “that’s bullshit” situation. But to just say “meh” seems a little too passive. 309 to 329 doesn’t seem like a massive jump but they got an extra $16,500 which is not a small number.

I've seen a room here in Tampa change their rebuy period from lvl 9 to lvl 11 to make sure they hit their guarantee.
Again, this is slightly different because every player in the tournament gets the same treatment. It does potentially add more people so that part of the argument stands.
 

SWEATER

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#23
The draw of a guarantee tournament, for some at least, is the possibility of an overlay. The ability of a casino to change the rules mid-game to prevent an overlay from ever occurring is, indeed, bullshit.
 
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#24
I can understand the “that’s bullshit!” reactions but to take it any further than that is just silly. It changed nothing other than the number of players and REALISTICALLY the difference between a field of 309 and a field of 329 is close enough to zero to make no odds.
So people should only be mad if altering the format DOES have an impact on the tournament? That seems like an odd way of evaluating this situation.
 
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#25
309 to 329 is roughly a 6% increase. Winning just became 6% harder. Before you try to claim 6% is nothing, what would you say if you called an all-in on the turn to find you had 3 outs to win? Would you be ok if the dealer just mucked your hand because 6% is practiacally zero?

That said, the discount sets a terrible precedent where it is +EV to sign up late for tournaments.
If the announcement was indeed made and then reneged for some, that is also an issue... but that is unclear at this point. However, only those turned away would have a legitimate gripe.
Otherwise, A casino paying 1/2 your buy-in, a sponsor paying 1/2 your buy-in, or simply having so much expendable income that the buy-in amount means 1/2 as much to you than it does to me are all the exact same thing in my opinion.

If you went to a meet-up where everyone was paying $100 buy-in, but a local was "iffy" about playing in a $100 event, so the host decided to front him $50, would you be incensed?
 
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