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Thread: HPT Westgate (Las Vegas) offers half-price buyin at dinner break in order to avoid being on the hook for an overlay

  1. #1
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    HPT Westgate (Las Vegas) offers half-price buyin at dinner break in order to avoid being on the hook for an overlay

    What a fucking mess the once-revered HPT (Heartland Poker Tour) has become.

    The Westgate Las Vegas is the former Las Vegas Hilton. In the 1980s, when I used to stay there, it was a pretty big deal, and was the biggest hotel in the world.

    It has since become a has-been, mostly due to its inconvenient off-strip location, as well as its age and uninteresting theme.

    The HPT has a stop there right now. The Main Event began on April 6, had a $500k guarantee, and the buyin was $1650. This is the first time the HPT has been in Vegas since 2014.

    First, there was a small controversy over the $1650 buyin. Allen Kessler noticed that the rake was $210, which is the highest rake ever charged on a $1500-type event in history (aside from another HPT event in Chicago, apparently, which charged $230)!



    But the best was yet to come...

    Recall the $500k guarantee for the event.

    First off, it's a fake guarantee. The guarantee only takes place if they get 300 or more entries, which means there's no overlay unless there's 300, 301, or 302 players, because the break-even mark for a $1650 event with a $500k is 303 players. (That is, 303 * 1650 is just about exactly $500,000).

    But let's say there's 300 players exactly, thus triggering the guarantee.

    While it's true that $495,000 in buyins will have been paid, and the Westgate will only be out $5000 to complete the guarantee, they will also be out all of their operational expenses, because the $210 entry fee from each buyin will end up going to the players.

    And that's apparently what happened at the Westgate. The dinner break came on Day 1B (April 7), which was the last opportunity to buy in for the event. It seemed they would end up somewhere around 300, which was a nightmare for a small room like the Westgate. Why? Because 300 players paying $210 in fees adds up to $63,000. And the Westgate was going to be out that $63,000 in fees (plus the $5000 they would owe the guarantee), due to barely triggering the guarantee.

    That's when they decided to try something unorthodox, and very unethical:




    In reality, they were offering a $1650 buyin event (with a full stack) for the low, low price of $825! 50% off!

    They sent popular vlogger TheTrooper97 out to announce this on Twitter.

    They also made an announcement in the Westgate sportsbook that they were discounting the buyin by 50%.

    Here's Ben Yu's account of what happened:





    One player decided to do some on-the-spot investigative reporting.

    That stuff will be in the next post...

  2. #2
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Darren Attebury (also known as Darren Lara) called into the Westgate and made this recording (a PFA exclusive, as he sent this to me privately and gave me permission to post it):


     
    http://toddwitteles.com/vids/westgate-overlay.mp3


    But Darren did even more than that!

    He went down there and recorded a video of the buyin process!


  3. #3
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    There have been some idiots on social media who have defended the Westgate's right to do this.

    They claim that it's perfectly legal, and that the Westgate was simply subsidizing seats for these players, the same way other casinos sometimes buy in certain players (like casino whales) to tournaments.

    As someone asked on Facebook, "If the $1650 buyin is paid, does it really matter if half comes from the casino?"

    The answer is YES.

    This corrupts the entire concept of a guarantee.

    Much of the allure of guarantee tournaments is the possibility of an overlay. If the casino fills seats at a discount when there's going to be an overaly, they are screwing everyone who paid full price with the belief that such an overlay was possible.

    The Westgate opened up these discounted seats, and were likely to continue selling them until they hit the magic number of 347 buyins.

    Why 347?

    Because they need 347 players contributing to the prize pool to bring it to $500,000 without having to dip into the fees they collected to cover it. 347 * $1440 = $499,680.

    They ended up getting 329 players, before cutting it off, presumably due to the player outrage and growing bad publicity.

    So what did the Westgate gain from this?

    If there were exactly 300 players, they would have LOST $5000, since they would have collected $495,000 in buyins, and had to make up the final $5000.

    With 329 players, if they subsidized the final 29, they would have collected $495,000 total from the first 300, and then $23,925 from those buying in at a discount. So they would have collected $518,925 here, and paid out $500,000 in prizes, meaning they end up making $18,925.

    So now you see why the poker room benefited from the final buyins being half price, as did those players who got the discount.

    At whose expense did the benefit come? The 300 people who paid full price!

    The $825 buyin for the final 29 players went directly into the Westgate's pocket, as the prizepool remained at $500k the entire time!

    Mind you, I don't know if they started discounting it when it was at exactly 300 people, but it must have been pretty close, or otherwise they wouldn't have pulled this crap.

    So is this illegal?

    I'll give my analysis next post...

  4. #4
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    My feeling is that it is probably NOT illegal, hence the reason Westgate did it.

    This is because casinos do have a right to pay the buyins for players in tournaments. Provided the buyins really go into the prizepool, then the casino can foot all or some of the bill for selected players in the tournament.

    This SHOULD be illegal, because it's a guarantee tournament, and it makes the entire guarantee misleading.

    Unfortunately, I don't think there are many laws in Nevada's gaming statutes governing tournament guarantees.

    If a guarantee is offered, it must be paid to the terms it is offered, and I believe that's about it as far as the law is concerned.

    Honestly, given how much shady BS we're seeing with guaranteed tournaments these days, it's time for Nevada and other states to pass STRICT laws regarding guarantees.

    If I were writing the law, it would read as follows:

    1) All guaranteed tournaments must take place. They may not be canceled once announced, unless a Gaming official deems a true emergency (such as a weather catastrophe) which makes it impossible to proceed normally.

    2) No additional starting flights may be added once the guarantee is announced.

    3) The guaranteed prize pool must be paid in full, as advertised.

    4) There must NOT be a minimum number of players to trigger the guarantee.

    5) The house may not pay for any portion of the buyin for any players in the tournament, except for during the first hour of the first flight.

  5. #5
    Serial Blogger BeerAndPoker's Avatar
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    This was all over twitter on Saturday night and might be the shadiest thing I've heard an actual brick and mortar casino poker room do in my life.

    You can't charge everyone full price who comes in promptly and try to get more money for last minute entries whether it's to cover promised overlay or not by offering such a discount.

    The Nevada Gaming Commission should take their license for this asap since it's disgustingly unfair to every player that paid full buy in.

    If I paid full entry I would demand half of my buy in back in cash showing them all the twitter messages, phone, and video proof or let them know they will be reported.

    I also would never play there again.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Apparently the HPT is washing their hands of this situation, coaching each other on an "official statement" simply claiming that the Westgate put some selected people in, and that there's nothing more to see here.


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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Paul Oresteen, who I believe was once on neverwinpoker, works for HPT's blog, and made this misleading post:




    In addition to everything else, this is highly misleading.

    There was NOT an actual overlay, just reduced fees, due to failing to get to 347.

    With 329 players, everyone ended up paying $130 in fees instead of $210. Big deal.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Paul Oresteen, who I believe was once on neverwinpoker
    lol Paul is a friend of mine, we used to see each other every day at the Bluff offices and sometimes even the subject of PFA would come up. Never mentioned anything about NWP. I'm not saying it isn't true, just that it would be surreal if so.
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  9. #9
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Statement from Westgate:


  10. #10
    Inaugural Spring Classic Champion HoodedN's Avatar
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    I have a really, really hard time a brand that's been around as long as HPT would ever OK such nonsense.

    Whoever made this decision at the Westgate should be not only fired but stabbed by cocktail forks.

  11. #11
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    This tweet from Jeremy Smith (of HPT) confirms that there were exactly 300 registrants at 6pm. Registration was to completely close at 7:30pm.


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    Silver sah_24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerAndPoker View Post
    This was all over twitter on Saturday night and might be the shadiest thing I've heard an actual brick and mortar casino poker room do in my life.

    You can't charge everyone full price who comes in promptly and try to get more money for last minute entries whether it's to cover promised overlay or not by offering such a discount.

    The Nevada Gaming Commission should take their license for this asap since it's disgustingly unfair to every player that paid full buy in.

    If I paid full entry I would demand half of my buy in back in cash showing them all the twitter messages, phone, and video proof or let them know they will be reported.

    I also would never play there again.
    %100 this ... I would have called the gaming commission if they wouldn't have refunded me

     
    Comments
      
      gimmick: yup

  13. #13
    You can't Call gaming commission for $40.00 Daily Buy In tournaments fool.


    Like you would ever have $1500.00 to buy in to a tournament LOL!!!

  14. #14
    Silver sah_24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gookieheimowitz View Post
    You can't Call gaming commission for $40.00 Daily Buy In tournaments fool.


    Like you would ever have $1500.00 to buy in to a tournament LOL!!!
    Ok Big Dick #2 ... I have played over $1500 buyin tournies but keep on crying about global poker being rigged luls <3

    You and Mulva make the perfect fucking couple LULS

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sah_24 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gookieheimowitz View Post
    You can't Call gaming commission for $40.00 Daily Buy In tournaments fool.


    Like you would ever have $1500.00 to buy in to a tournament LOL!!!
    Ok Big Dick #2 ... I have played over $1500 buyin tournies but keep on crying about global poker being rigged luls <3

    You and Mulva make the perfect fucking couple LULS


    Play chips don't count

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    Silver sah_24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gookieheimowitz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sah_24 View Post

    Ok Big Dick #2 ... I have played over $1500 buyin tournies but keep on crying about global poker being rigged luls <3

    You and Mulva make the perfect fucking couple LULS


    Play chips don't count
    Good one ... enjoy that fantasy land bud

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