Posted 18 July 2006 - 11:13 PM
There is a big difference between me getting a refund and the others getting a refund. The others ACCEPTED the structure change and continued to play. I never took a hand. I never bought into the event that they held. Never in history, whether it be online or live, has there EVER been a shootout event that started short handed. The WSOP makes it very clear when they hold a short handed event. Please read Mike O'Malley's take on the tournament:$2,000 NL Hold’em Shootout eventWhen they made the announcement that the tournament was starting, we only had three players at the table. The rule at the WSOP is that no table can start dealing until there are at least four players present. Within a minute a fourth player showed up, followed shortly by two more players; we were six handed and playing, although all 10 stacks were being dealt in. During the first hand, the player to my left commented that not only were we six handed, but so were all of the other tables. Many players do show up late, but as I looked around I also noticed that not a single table had more than six players. It was impossible that was a coincidence. I called a floorperson over and asked him why there were so many seats open, and he responded that “all of the seats are sold, we are playing 10 handed”. I had a weird feeling that they had screwed up the computer seat assignment draw. Within a few hands it was apparent that many of the tables were wondering the same thing that we were. There was just no way that many people hadn’t shown up, and all tables were missing exactly four players. Then an announcement was made for all dealers to put the chip stacks for seats 3, 5, 7 and 9 into the well; we were playing six handed. You could hear the roar roll through the room; every table started talking about it. Why would they change the format of a tournament after it had already started? Nowhere had this tournament been advertised as a ‘Short Handed/6 per table’ event, a distinction that they give to the other tournaments that start with less than 9/10 players per table. It was immediately obvious that everyone was surprised that we were going to be playing six handed. Within a few hands Tournament Director Jimmy Sommerfeld came on the microphone and clarified the situation. He announced something along the lines of; “apparently everyone doesn’t understand how a Shootout Tournament works. We have 600 players at 100 6 handed tables, everyone that wins their table will get at least double their money back”.So far this WSOP I have played 11 out of 13 events that I have been in town for (I was in CA for a week). The two events that I skipped were the $1,500 7 Card Stud (I had an important doctors appointment that I had scheduled on that day) and the $2,500 Short Handed/6 per table NL Hold’em event. Why did I skip that event? Because I don’t think I have an edge in a short handed tournament.Right after Jimmy’s announcement a commotion began brewing on the other side of the room. Harry Demetriou was standing and SCREAMING. He was screaming bloody murder. He was pissed off at the ‘structure change’ and was making sure everyone knew. There were lots of people that were not happy/confused about it, none more than Harry.I immediately went to find Jimmy Sommerfeld and had the following conversation:Me: Jimmy, you just made this tournament a shorthanded event and it wasn’t advertised as such. Shootouts are not traditionally short handed to begin with.Jimmy: How do you do it online?Me: Tables are loaded 9 or 10 handed, whatever the site uses. This same event in the WSOP last year was done like that also, why did you change it?Jimmy: They did it wrong last year.Me: I challenge you to find a single Shootout tournament that was ever done this way. I have played 100’s of Shootouts online, I have played Shootouts at the Bike and Commerce as well as the WSOP, never has a Shootout been done like this.Jimmy: What’s the difference? Pretend like you already eliminated four players.Me: I am not a short handed player, there is a big difference, I would like to get a refund, and my stack is still at $2,000.Jimmy: No refunds, tournament already started.Me: What if there were 190 playersJimmy: We wouldn’t play heads-upMe: What’s the cutoff? How many handed would it be?Jimmy: 550 was the cutoff. Anything less than that and we would have gone 10 handed and advanced two.I went back to my table and played the tournament. The staff of the WSOP has an obligation to run the tournaments in a fair and traditional manner. It isn’t easy playing tournament poker when the rules change from place to place. It also isn’t easy to run them. Of course they are not going to be able to list every situation that will come up or explain every procedure that will be used in a tournament beforehand. They have to wing it with a temporary staff and make do with what they have. But this was different; they HAD changed the structure of the tournament after it already started. There are certain things that are done that are expected, and starting a tournament as a short handed tournament instead of full tables is one of them. If a tournament is going to be done differently than what is expected, it should be clearly identified.Mike Sexton said to me during the first break; “If you would have asked all 600 players, before the tournament started, if they thought we would be playing 10 or 6 handed, 599 of them would have said 10”. And he is right.The precedent has been set in two regards:Shootout Tournaments are not short handed. Tournaments that start short handed are labeled as such. Last years WSOP $1,500 Limit and No-Limit Hold’em Shootout started with 450 and 780 players respectively. Both started with 10 handed tables. Every single Shootout tournament that I have ever heard of has started with full tables.Several people have directed me to the tournament rules for this event, which make mention of advancing 100 players from Day 1. Although the rules for this tournament do talk about ‘100 players’, it is far from spelled out that 100 players will indeed advance.The rules, taken from the WSOP website, state:Tournament is limited to 100 tables, (11 Handed Max). Players will be seated randomly. Some tables on Day 1 may have 11 players per table. Play will continue on Day 1 until a winner is declared at each table. Play will resume on Day 2 at 2:00 PM, July 17, 2006. Players (100) on Day 2 will start with $20,000 in Chips. Play will continue on Day 2 until a winner is declared at each table. The Final Table (10 Players) will resume on Day 3, July 18, 2006 at 2 PM. The ONLY reference to 100 players is addressed in point four: Players (100) on Day 2 will start with $20,000 in Chips.It does not say “100 players will advance”. Like many of the other rules for events, they make mention of numbers assuming that the event will sell out. In the rules for the main event, a point states:Play will continue on day 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D until there are 800 players left each day. What if only 3,200 players signed up for the main event? Would they just cancel all of the day 1s? A long shot of course, but it shows the intent of the numbers they used. Jimmy Sommerfeld told me that if there had been 550 players, all tables would have been 10 handed and 2 players would advance. But with 551 players they would be 5 or 6 handed tables.What if only 200 players had signed up for this tournament? Do you think they would have paid 50% of the field? Of course not. The reference to 100 players was inserted assuming that the tournament would sell out. By sticking to the number 100, they ended up paying 16.7% of the field. All WSOP tournaments are paying approximately 10% of the field. Why the discrepancy? Because they didn’t anticipate this event not selling out and didn’t think far enough ahead.Keep in mind that we had played the beginning of the tournament with 10 stacks of chips on the table and everyone thinking that those stacks were going to be played. There is the very real possibility that someone went broke in that time making a play at dead blinds. If they knew the tournament was going to be 6 handed (they shut it off at 600) why did they have the dealers put those stacks out to begin with? How do I think they should have structured this tournament? 10 handed - 10 handed - 6 handed. Play the tournament with full tables, just like any other tournament, until you no longer can. For me there is a major difference in the way that a 6 handed 1-table tournament will play vs. a 10 handed 1-table tournament. When I play online I only play 10 handed 1-table tournaments. I believe that I excel in that format as opposed to the fast paced nature of 6 handed tables. Had this tournament been advertised as a shorthanded event I would not have played.After I arrived home after busting out of the tournament I found out that Harry (the screaming Harry from above) had been refunded. Imagine that. Here I was a nice guy about the whole situation; I didn’t raise my voice once and dropped the request for a refund after I was denied by Jimmy. I accepted that Harrah’s has the right to change their minds (and the structure of the tournament) and continued on and played. Yet Harry had screamed and yelled and apparently been kicked out…guess who got the refund?