The Worst

I was asked an interesting question recently about the worst poker tournament I ever played in. I write so many negative slanted posts that I end up being the resident whiner about all things poker. But I swear this was a legitimate question and story idea. Just ask Neva.

I hate to admit I played in such a horrible tournament so I need to spend a few sentences making excuses for my own lack of judgment. Only a couple years ago, a casino just up the hill from Fresno in Coarsegold was running quite a few radio spots advertising a $100 satellite tournament for a World Poker Tour event. I was suckered in by the ad and made the trip with a co-worker after work one Tuesday night. Of course this whole scenario sounded too good to be true and it was.

We arrived about an hour early and signed up for the satellite to make sure we were not shut out of the tournament. We waited around for the tournament to start and I asked plenty of questions hoping to get an idea of how this tournament was set up. The more questions I asked the more I realized that the casino had no idea what they were doing and the worse the tournament became. My real mistake was not asking for my money back.

The tournament was not a satellite for a WPT event it was a qualifier for a $1000 buy-in satellite tournament that was going to be held in a few months. The $1000 buy-in satellite was for the $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship Event. The casino was unsure if there would be any prize money to go with the entry or if it was a package deal of any kind. The details were pretty sketchy.

As tournament time grew closer the usual horde of late arrivals kept pouring into the room and the casino scrambled to get everyone signed up. As I realized there would be six tables of players for this tournament I asked how many seats to the satellite were they giving away and I was told one seat. I asked how the rest of the money would be paid out and I was told there would be no additional pay-out that it was winner take all for one seat in the satellite.

This tournament ended up being borderline criminal in that the casino took in $6000 and paid out a single seat to a $1000 buy-in Satellite to a $25,000 tournament. The casino easily made over $5000 on this tournament and managed to screw 60 poker players all at once. I have never played another event at the casino and I will not for a very long time.

The casino ran 36 of these over sold qualifiers and screwed the players each and every time they ran the tournament. While I was not there every night I did hear from other players that they were getting multiple tables at every tournament. If 36 players each won a seat valued at $1000 that would imply the prize pool was worth at least $36,000, but sadly that was not the case. As I began to bitch about the screwing the players were receiving I was told the casino may give away two seats if they make enough money on the qualifier tournaments. The casino then allowed players to buy seats in the satellite at the designated $1000 and seated another bunch of players through direct buy-in. The 60 players who played for the single $25,000 buy-in seat had to represent close to $100,000 worth of buy-ins.

As I look back on how bad this tournament was for me I am ashamed to admit that I actually played. I paid $100 to play against 60 players for a prize advertised as worth $1,000. I lost about $80 dollars of my $100 just by playing against such horrible odds. When the prize ended up having a value of $400 dollars because 60 players played for a $25,000 prize, I had to re-compute and chop my $20 of equity down to about $8. I bought an entry worth $8 for $100. I would have been better off buying lottery tickets. I often pay juice to play in a tournament but I paid close to 92% juice to the casino on this one.

That is the story of the worst tournament I ever played.

I can honestly say this was the worst tournament I ever played in.



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