Winstar $1m Guaranteed First Prize Upsets the Pros

TAGs: Alex Dreyfus, David Baker, Double Bubble, Lee Davy, Lee Jones, River Poker Series, ryan eriquezzo, Scott Baumstein, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Winstar World Casino

Winstar World Casino have slapped a $1 million guaranteed first prize on their 2014 River Poker Series Main Event and a section of the professional player pool are not too happy about it.

Winstar $1m Guaranteed First Prize Upsets the Pros“Congratulations @WinStarWorld on the worst payout structure ever made! Way to help the poker economy! #Winnertakeall”

That tweet welcomed me as I ate my breakfast this morning. It came from the fingers of the PartyPoker Team Pro, Scott Baumstein, and it was clear that he wasn’t a happy bunny.

Perhaps, it was a decision made to compete with the $10 million Guaranteed prize pool, at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO), but what remains obvious about the decision to guarantee a $1 million first prize at the Winstar River Poker Series Main Event, is they didn’t canvass player opinion beforehand.

“WTF are you guys doing?” tweeted Ryan Eriquezzo.

“I literally lol’d at this,” tweeted David Baker.

“WTF?” tweeted Billy Calderon

“I am sorry you were disappointed. Thanks for the feedback. I will pass it along,” tweeted WinStar World Casino.

Better late than never I guess.

So what exactly is Baumstein’s beef with a million dollar first prize?

“Guaranteeing first place prizes is greedy and short sighted,” said Baumstein. “Because you are taking a disproportionate amount of money and giving it to one person, you are keeping fewer people in the game and damaging the economy.”

It’s interesting how this issue arises just a few days after I wrote about PokerStars’ intention to roll out a new format of game at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), called Double Bubble, where 50% of players get their money back, and the remaining prize pool is distributed amongst the top 8% of the field.

Speaking on the PokerStars blog, Lee Jones, believed that the format would be exactly what the players wanted after analyzing two important facts. The first was the willingness for players to play as tight as a ducks ass to get into the money, and the high percentage of deal making that is done at the final table.

“100% this gets chopped,” tweets Zachary Harbison.

“Why force players to chop when the structure could be efficient,” tweets Alexandre Dreyfus.

For me, it’s all about player involvement at every stage of the process and it seems this has been missed as far as the 2014 River Poker Series is concerned.

“The guaranteeing of first place prizes should be in line with the prize pool guarantee, “ says Baumstein before continuing, “So for example in the case on Winstar, they should guarantee at least $5 million in order to guarantee a million for first.”

The players have spoken.

Let’s hope the tournament organizers are listening.


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