WSOP Colossus: “From the Greatest Tourney Ever to WTF in One Second.”


Lee Davy shares his view on the controversy The Colossus payouts, and the serious problem of keeping people waiting at the registration/payout desk.

WSOP Colossus: “From the Greatest Tourney Ever to WTF in One Second.”Ronnie Bardah’s tweet nailed it.

“This went from the greatest tourney ever run to WTF in one second.”

Minutes earlier, World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament Director, Jack Effel, pulled the microphone to his lips. The throng buzzed with anticipation. He told the room that 22,374 players had made this event the worlds largest, beating the previous best by 150%. The room cheered. He told his audience that the prize pool was $11,187,000. There was more cheering. He told them that 2,241 players would secure $1,096 in prize money. The crescendo grew even louder.

Then came the number: $638,880.

There was silence, followed by the sound of confusion. You could almost hear what 2,500 people were thinking. Over two thousands sighs all breathed out at once.

“That must have been a mistake.” Said a player at my table.

I agreed with him. Even the way Effel muttered the words seemed off. It sounded like he didn’t believe them. That, or he was slightly ashamed at being the one to deliver the news.

The day prior a player at my table told me that the first prize was $5m. That’s the only reason he had flown in from Washington. Getting all excited, and without checking my facts, I posted it on Facebook. Allen Kessler was right on cue to put me straight.

“$5m! Are you kidding? $1m more like.”

Kessler is never wrong.

This time even Kessler was wrong.

I looked at my Twitter account. It had exploded. All the talk was of the WSOP blowing it. The view was simple, and unanimous. They had duped the public, they were greedy, and this was a decision that was going to bite them on the ass.

But here’s the thing.

I don’t know whom most people follow on Twitter. But I will take a wild guess and say that most of the poker community follow professional poker players. I doubt they are following the man from Washington who thought he was going to win $5m.

So I asked the recreational players at my table.

What did they think of the news?

Everyone believed it was going to be $1m+ up top, but nobody cared that it was $638,880. None of these players believed they were ever going to win. Their goal was to have fun, make history, and make the money. The professionals, on the other hand, are not interested in making the money in a $565 buy-in event. It’s all or nothing. They want the top-heavy prize pool.

I feel for the WSOP officials. They created a $10m top prize for the 2014 & 2015 Main Event and were punched from pillar to post. Eventually, the WSOP reneged and agreed to flatten the pay structure so more people cashed. Everyone was happy.

Why is this any different?

The fact that there is not $1m+ for first will not deter people from coming to the WSOP next year. What will deter people is the incomprehensible amount of waiting in lines.

There’s little doubt that this was a logistical nightmare for the WSOP, but there’s also little doubt that this could have been avoided. If I want to, I can make a direct cash transfer to a person suffering from poverty in Africa. Technology has moved on, and moved on fast. Caesars need to catch up.

Technology and planning aside, where were the supervisors? Why weren’t there people walking up and down the line, communicating to people? They could have ensured that the people who were due to fly out could get their money first. A simple triage system. It didn’t exist. And it’s a shame because the 2015 WSOP has already achieved notoriety as the ‘WSOP for Waiting’, and not for the fact that it broke a world record.

People have told me that things will improve. People have told me that changes will be made. But this was simple stuff. A basic risk assessment is going to tell you that registration and paying out was going to be a problem. Where was the solution?

And it’s a damn shame. The WSOP officials on the ground worked their bollocks off. Not only did they have over 2,300 people to manage in The Colossus but also close to 1,500 playing in the Hyper Turbo. It wasn’t the greatest piece of scheduling, but they deserve praise for their hard work and dedication.


“This went from the greatest tourney ever run to WTF in one second.”

I can’t that out of my head.

I wonder how many people think the same?


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