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Thread: Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens) screws players on $1 Million Guarantee tournament

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens) screws players on $1 Million Guarantee tournament

    Lots of angry poker players in the Los Angeles area today.

    Gardens Casino, formerly known as "Hawaiian Gardens", is having "The Gardens Poker Classic" this month.

    They are having a $1 Million Guaranteed Main Event, which began on September 16th. The original schedule was as follows:

    September 16-22: Two flights (one at 11am and 3pm) each day, for a total of 14 Day 1 flights.
    September 23: Day 2
    September 24: Day 3 (Final Table), to be shown on CBS Sports and streamed live on Poker Night in America

    You can see the original schedule and structure sheet here.

    However, presumably they were falling short of the guarantee, and didn't want to take a loss. Today, which was the second-to-last day to enter, they suddenly announced a major change to the schedule, with five additional starting flights, and Day 2 delayed by two days as a result!

    *NOTICE: New sessions have been added to EVENT #2 - $1 Million GTD Main Event

    Remaining Schedule:
    Thursday 9/21 11am & 3pm
    Friday 9/22 11am, 3pm & 6pm
    Saturday 9/23 11am & 3pm
    Sunday 9/24 11am & 3pm (last chance)

    Monday 9/25 Day 2 at 2pm
    Tuesday 9/26 Final Table TBD

    Single table satellites extended through Sunday 9/24 10am - 6pm

    Mega satellites extended through Saturday 9/23 8:20pm

    5 drawings a day extended through Sunday 9/24
    5 seats to $1 Million guarantee

    The following Poker Classic Events have been canceled:
    Event #3 – Six Handed NLH Mega Deepstack
    Event #4 – NLH Bounty

    All other events remain the same.
    We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.
    Taken from: https://www.thegardenscasino.com/tou...-series-events (this link will only display the information until the series is over, but I copied and pasted it above for that reason.)

    Notice that they added FIVE FLIGHTS (which I bolded above), including a 6pm on the 22nd, plus two flights on the 23rd and 24th. Day 2 has been delayed by two days, and two events previously scheduled have been dropped to make room for these new flights.

    In addition, they are running more satellites on those additional days in order to further prop up the numbers, and avoid an overlay.

    This is completely unethical, and violates the entire concept of a guarantee.

    The reason many play "guarantee" tournaments is because they hope the turnout might be low, and thus some of the prizepool will be contributed by the casino (known as an "overlay"). This can make the tournament +EV for an otherwise breakeven (or even slightly losing) player.

    What does the casino get out of offering a guarantee? It attracts more players for the above reason (that, plus the guarantee of a large prizepool), and thus the tournament gets more entrants than it would if it didn't have a guarantee. In most cases, the guarantee is set low enough to where it is exceeded, and thus the casino benefits big time from it.

    Hawaiian Gardens is choosing to extend the starting days and adding flights until they finally eliminate this overlay -- or simply reduce it to a number they're more comfortable with.

    Every player should enter guarantee tournaments knowing the exact number of flights (and approximate number of satellites) being run into it, or otherwise the entire guarantee is a sham.

    Furthermore, delaying days 2 and 3 of a tournament is highly unethical (barring an emergency situation), given that some players have other plans for the dates following the tournament. For example, someone on Twitter complained that he had a vacation already scheduled (and paid for) starting September 25, and now will be in a huge bind if he makes Day 2.

    Failing to meet the guarantee does not constitute an "emergency", and the Gardens needs to simply EAT the overlay, chalk it up to an unsuccessful event, and move on.

    If you cannot afford to deal with a big overlay, then you shouldn't be running and promoting guaranteed tournaments.

    This is even WORSE than the cancellation of guaranteed tournaments which fail to draw the expected number of entrants (something the Partouche Poker Tour in France became infamous for doing), because at least the tournament gets cancelled and nobody ends up buying into it. Here, these changes were announced after 10 flights of Day 1s had already completed -- full of people who made their decision to play based upon there being 14, not 19, starting flights.

    I encourage all affected entrants to report this to the California Gambling Control Commission, as the Gardens deserves to be punished for this egregious abuse of player trust.

  2. #2

     
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      LarryLaffer:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Take someone like garrett, for example. A lot of people here don't like him, but he also makes a lot of quality posts here.
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    I can't believe I'm saying this, but jsearles can actually be a good poster when he tries to be good.
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    I thought BGC had a lot of good and funny posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    In splitthis' case, she's also a longtime member of this community, and has no history of harassing or threatening people in real life.

  3. #3
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    They were faced with a possible loss of license earlier this year, due to a 2016 bust for money laundering:

    http://www.presstelegram.com/busines...-federal-probe

    http://www.presstelegram.com/busines...ying-with-laws

  4. #4
    The Hawaiian Gardens (HG) was always considered the minor leagues of poker, especially tournaments, in So Cal as compared to The Bike, Commerce and even Hustler. This hits very close to home because the HG is the place where I learned to play live tourneys about 13 years ago. The TD is a really nice guy as are most of the staff, many of whom have been there since I started playing and some of whom I know and hang out with occasionally socially. The food is really good and used to be cheap until the recent renovations.

    With their renovation during the past few years with an entire new Vegas style casino as compared to their old tent top card club, they were trying to get out of the minors. They ran a successful WPT 500 tourney this past May, but that was run and marketed by the WPT as far as I can tell. They participated in a 3-Casino "California championship" last year that included The Bike and Commerce, but that was run and heavily marketed by Mo "Quantum Reload" from The Bike.

    This current tourney situation, though surrounded by some Poker Night In America cash games, appears to be run strictly by the HG and its management. The outcome is very unfortunate but not that surprising. The management always has seemed to me to be very cheap and always trying to cut corners, which appears to be confirmed in the news stories Druff has posted regarding the Feds and money laundering supervision. For example, after they opened the new poker room and started to try and run larger tournaments, I suggested to the TD that they upgrade their web site just a little to contain a blog, since most people (like me) like to know who has moved on in these multi-day 1 tourneys, the chip counts, seat assignments for Day 2, etc. Something minimal that a high school kid could do at minimum wage quite frankly assuming someone that young could be employed by a card club in California. Of course they didn't listen to me and the lack of info still persists even today.

    The Day 2 return list I saw this morning for this current $1,000,000 guarantee (not posted anywhere, you have to go down there) showed 83 entrants moving on to Day 2 through Wednesday's heats. Since 8% move on, I calculate that as 1038 total buyins @ $500 entry fee = $519,000.00. They were supposed to have 4 heats left (2 on Thurs and 2 on Fri), which probably would have added another $250,000 (generously) to the prize pool, leaving an overlay in the neighborhood of $250,000. By adding 4 more heats on Sat and Sun and rescheduling Day 2 to Monday, under normal circumstances, they may have gotten close to the guaranty. However, it looked like to me a very small turnout this morning and my guess is that the turnout will be small this weekend due to the negative circumstances.

    Again, I blame it on management and not the TD and staff, who are really good people. No doubt some heads are going to roll and they may be lucky to keep their license due to the prior recent problems (maybe they are on some kind of probation, who knows). I also think it is wrong to blame/drag PNIA and/or Matt Glantz into this mess. I seriously doubt any legit poker series (WPT/PNIA, etc) will be affiliating itself with the HG again for a long while. Maybe Mo will throw them a bone with some of his Quantum Reload stuff.

    A few other side notes: This is the first time I can recall that the HG and the Commerce had a tourney series that overlapped/competed. This past Saturday, the Commerce had its final Day 1 of its $1,100 entry fee Main Event of its 2017 Commerce Poker Series, also with a $1,000,000 guarantee, which was also the Day 1 of the current HG fiasco. Seems to have hurt both casinos. Commerce missed its guarantee by approx. $103,000 but made up the short fall. I even noticed what appeared to me to be a shot on the HG twitter account against Commerce last Saturday regarding the turn out at the HG for its first Day 1. So there appears to be no love lost and maybe even some cheer by the Commerce folks (including Matt Savage) over the HG's current woes.

  5. #5
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Pokernews is now covering this story, and has linked this thread: https://www.pokernews.com/news/2017/...teed-29032.htm

    The Pokernews article also mentions that Mac VerStandig, an attorney who often gets involved in poker-related cases, is analyzing the situation and is considering filing suit. VerStandig most recently took the case against the scammy operators of the PPC Poker Tour, who stiffed final tablists of most of their prize money.

    Pokernews also pointed out that Commerce had an overlay of over $100,000 last week, but paid it.

    Matt Savage, who works as Commerce tournament director, has been very vocal about the Gardens Casino issue, presumably because he is relishing in the opportunity to make a competitor (rightfully) look bad.

  6. #6
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I also want to talk about Matt Glantz and Poker Night in America.

    They have been taking heat lately, because PNIA is going to broadcast the final table, and also has been running cash games at Gardens.

    Some players feel that PNIA should refuse to broadcast the event, and should take a stand against Gardens.

    Here is Matt Glantz's comment about it (Glantz works for PNIA):


     
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Pokernews is now covering this story, and has linked this article: https://www.pokernews.com/news/2017/...teed-29032.htm

    The Pokernews article also mentions that Mac VerStandig, an attorney who often gets involved in poker-related cases, is analyzing the situation and is considering filing suit. VerStandig most recently took the case against the scammy operators of the PPC Poker Tour, who stiffed final tablists in Aruba of most of their prize money.

    Pokernews also pointed out that Commerce had an overlay of over $100,000 last week, but paid it.

    Matt Savage, who works as Commerce tournament director, has been very vocal about the Gardens Casino issue, presumably because he is relishing in the opportunity to make a competitor (rightfully) look bad.
    By the way, I'm sure Matt Savage had a lot of splaining to do regarding his own $100,000 overlay from last weekend. This HG fiasco probably takes much of the heat off of him and gives him a good excuse/cover for his failure/diversion, which may in part explain his piling on.

  8. #8
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    For those who are reading this thread because you clicked here from Twitter, Pokernews, or elsewhere, be aware that this will be the first topic covered on tonight's PokerFraudAlert Radio show at 8:15pm PDT.

    Just click on the Radio tab near the top to listen (once you see a flashing ON AIR sign on the screen), or simply call (712) 775-8162 (our call-to-listen line).

  9. #9
    Gold Jayjami's Avatar
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    I have not been there since the renovations, but HG has some of the best and cheapest Asian food in So Cal.

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    Platinum thesparten's Avatar
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    Got a news feed from Google featuring poker news and in poker news they had mentioned that druff and p.f.a. had something on this..
    Last edited by thesparten; 09-23-2017 at 11:16 AM.

  11. #11
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Reportedly they're still not on pace to make the guarantee, even with the added 5 flights.





    Oh, and a prank call to them last night during radio verified that this was a decision by management, and NOT the tournament director or staff.

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    What's the point of having a g.t.d. if they cancel it when it doesn't reach the g.t.d..

    Acr does that ALL the time, even in smaller tournaments..

    Global could have a $3500 overlay on a 10k tournament and it still runs and pays out the winners in 24 hours.

    Obviously we're talking much bigger numbers with this casino..

    It's stupid. There going to lose a lot more in business couse of this as opposed to letting it run and business would grow couse of the overlay..

    Poker is so shady and backwards sometimes.

    There expecting the degens to keep coming back for more..

  13. #13
    I'm kind of surprised they don't have insurance for these million dollar guarantees.

  14. #14
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeD View Post
    I'm kind of surprised they don't have insurance for these million dollar guarantees.
    Probably difficult to get such insurance, as there probably isn't a company offering such a thing, nor is there anyone at these companies with the expertise needed to assess the risks.

    Insurance companies might also shy away from this, out of concern that casinos wouldn't spend much money promoting insured tournaments, given their lack of fear of an overlay.

  15. #15
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    They ended up with 1981 players.

    The buyin was $565, meaning they took in $1,119,265.

    https://www.thegardenscasino.com/sys...pdf?1506634159

    Of that $565 buyin, $500 went to the prize pool. This means they only fell $9500 short of the prize pool, and only needed to dip in that much from the $119,265 in entry fees they collected.

    Therefore, they made almost $110,000 on the whole thing.

    Shameful.

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