World Series of Poker officials have introduced even more ways to reduce Rio queue times after adding credit card payments for $1,500 events and under, online registration, and Fast Track ticket kiosks.
When you have over a 100,000 people traipsing through your property looking to compete in the greatest poker festival on earth, it’s imperative that you pull out all of the stops ensuring those eager to be pleased leave pleased.
Despite an incredible job by WSOP officials, that didn’t happen last year. The main gripe being long waiting times at the cash desk thanks to archaic management systems.
In a way, the WSOP reminds me of the British Railway (BR) system. There is a warm fuzzy feeling about it. It’s an institution; a historical event that conjures up respect.
But they are also old; somewhat dogmatic, and look caveman like when comparing their processes with other industries. However, whereas BR had an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) ‘we know better and don’t have to change our way of doing things’ approach to it, the WSOP is slightly different. They have one hand tied behind their backs. They are not dogmatic. But they are a dog on a leash trying desperately to get free.
Progress is Slow, But it’s Progress
Last week the WSOP dealt with the pain of being paid out, by introducing the eQueue Payout Process. This week, they are fixing the front end problem by adding several methods to improve the registration process.
The WSOP has partnered with Genesis Gaming Solution Inc. to offer players the opportunity to register online for WSOP events via their Bravo Poker Tournament Software.
Player’s will have to register for a Bravo account at the following URL: http://www.bravopokerlive.com/venues/wsop/, and will also have to apply in advance for a Caesars Total Rewards Card ®/Account by using this URL: http://www.totalrewards.com/program.
Now that’s progress.
But, like I said, it’s slow progress.
In a perfect world, players should be able to register online, pay online, and then receive their table and seat information via their mobile device, head to their table, and then when they have won, have their money wired directly from whence it came.
Unfortunately, a source with insider knowledge of operations in the Nevada Gaming industry reliably informs me that it’s easier to purchase a bomb that it is to deal with the red tape surrounding gambling.
For example, the WSOP is forced to identify each person ‘visually’, and that eyeball to eyeball must also encompass a check of government issued identification. There also needs to be an examination of a place of residency, the source of funds, and where funds will be heading to should you get lucky.
The red tape gets even longer. I won’t bore you. My point is to show that the WSOP don’t have free rein to join the likes of Jeff Bezos and Tony Hsieh with a one stop click approach to acquiring assets online.
So archaic rules mean that once you have registered and paid online you still need to show up at the Rio ‘Rotunda Area’ Fast Pass Total Rewards Desk one hour before event start time, to have your identification verified. After the ID check is complete, you will get your table and seat information.
Although this process only has to be completed once, and although we will have to wait and see how volume dictates what I am about to say next, I can’t help but think that this will only create another long line of people waiting to pick up their information.
Fortunately, you only have to do this once. After the first ID check, you can register online and then pick up your table and seat ID at a series of newly inserted WSOP Fast Track Kiosks. Once again, while I see an improvement regarding widening of choices, I can still envision time wasting lines waiting to use the kiosks. It’s frustrating when I know I can log on to Amazon and buy a watch for six-figures in one click.
There are now three ways to pay for your seat online. Wire transfer and cashier’s check has always been standard fodder, but this year you will be able to use a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover & Diners Club only) for buy-ins of $1,500 or less.
Caveats include registering at least 72 hours before the event for the first time you use it. Make sure that you take the same credit card with you when you undergo your visual check. Remember, a debit card is nor a credit card.
You knew it was coming.
It seems there is a price attached to value. There will be a $3 online registration fee per transaction, and credit card companies will charge a 2.95% fee ($44.25 on a $1,500 buy-in – OUCH!). That will not go down well and certainly rules me out of ever using a credit card at the WSOP for registration purposes.
The WSOP will not receive any of these fees.
Anyone who cocks any of this up (and there will be hundreds), and requires a refund, can visit the Rio cage leading up the event, or if players have registered online and don’t end up playing, they should e-mail Tyler Pipal at [email protected] with the necessary details.
So will the 100,000 plus patrons be pleased about these changes?
I don’t know about that, but I am one of those patrons, and I see this as progress. Given the red tape that the WSOP are bound by, these incremental changes are better than nothing. Hopefully, over time, the WSOP can show the Nevada Gaming Control Board that gamblers are not evil, and the rules can be relaxed to make the process even smoother.