Update #2: This event was a major flop. It was reported that only one player registered for the Main Event at the time it was to start. Many other events started, but only played with one short handed table. It seems that since no guarantees were advertised, they tried to sneak a dealer appreciation toke in, and they did not even offer free drinks at first, word got out about how big of a failure this was and players refused to enter the tournaments.
Update: After a lot of initial problems, the tournament director has stated that they will do away with the staff bonuses. They also state that two players did qualify for the event at PokerKing Canada. It looks like the tournament team has done right to fix these wrongs and they deserve credit for that.
The Canadian Poker Tour is having some serious problems. The tour is running a ten day event at Tropicana in Las Vegas. There have been many issues that I felt players should know.
The first issue is that it was held in a convention room far away from the casino floor. This hurt attendance as passersby may not even know the event is going on. It had a decent first day, reportedly drawing 59 players. Players complained that when they went to sign up, they were hit with an unadvertised $10 dealer bonus chip. This $10 goes to the dealers, but none of the advertising material included this information. Dealers also get 3% of the prize pool, which is also not disclosed in advertising material. One player complained that he arrived with only enough for the advertised buyin, leaving him short stacked from the start of the tournament.
The location and unadvertised fees were not the only complaints players had about day one. Players did not receive complimentary drink service or food comps. This was especially angering after getting hit with the extra rake upon showing up.
The second day did not draw enough players to even fill one table. Word had gotten out about the lack of drink service and food, as well as the extra rake. Today’s event, a $550 NLHE, failed to get off the ground. At 2pm, when the tournament was suppose to start, there were only three players entered.
The tournament directors have now made a few changes. The tournament will now be held in the poker room. Players will also receive drink service with all drinks comped. This is an improvement that may help the tournament recover, but it did not help the draw for today’s event.
There has been some concern about the number of players in the $1500 main event. One tournament director stated “Winners from PokerKing Canada (new online site) from the Kickoff Series in Calgary won packages to March Mania.” One player contacted PokerKing Canada and was told that no players had qualified for any event. This is further cause for alarm for players.
Unadvertised Fees and Excess Rake Are Killing Live Poker Tournaments
All rake should be advertised clearly to players. This includes any extra fees or bonuses that go to the tournament staff. While the Canadian Poker Tour posted the fees at the bottom of structure sheets, these were not advertised or readily available to players as the advertisements did not even show the website for the tournament, the only place it appears the structure sheets could be found. The advertisement is in the image in this article. This ad is shown on the casino floor at Tropicana, as well as on the website of the Canadian Poker Tour.
The flyer shows each event with the rake, but makes no mention of a dealer add on chip. Either the advertising was done very poorly, or this information was intentionally left off to deceive players. Either way, I feel that it is unethical for the tournament to enforce this rule. The Canadian Poker Tour should be paying this $10 out of their advertised rake, which ranges from $20-$150 per tournament.
This leads me to another issue. This extra rake makes the $130 tournament have over a 27% house hold if you include the dealer’s share. I understand that poker tournaments have a lot of costs involved, but live tournaments are truly becoming a ripoff. In South Dakota, the cap on tournament rake was 10% by law. The casinos do just fine with that. If a special event needs to charge 27% rake, something is wrong with the structure. Players complain about the Golden Nugget’s Grand Series and their $194+$46 tournaments, and those fees are only 23.7%.
I understand bigger tournaments will have higher costs associated with them, but do they really need to hold over one quarter of the prize pool? Of course not, it is absurd, and these high rakes are going to eventually kill live tournaments. I hope that all players refuse to pay this unadvertised bonus, or outright boycott the event, to send the message that this type of bait and switch tactic will not be tolerated.