There have been an assortment of recent complaints surrounding what’s commonly regarded as poker’s world championship–the $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em tournament that has served as the World Series of Poker’s Main Event since 1972. Most of those complaints squarely targeted Harrah’s Entertainment, who has run the WSOP since 2005, and they’ve done it again, this time having locked out 500 would-be players from participating on poker’s biggest stage. From WSBTV.com:
Hundreds of hopefuls waited in the hallways at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to see if they could get into the tournament, which had plenty of seats available during its first three opening days. Roughly 2,700 players entered the tournament on Monday.
Had the rejected players been accommodated, the tournament likely would have eclipsed its total entries from last year, when Peter Eastgate won $9.15 million for beating 6,843 others in the $10,000 buy-in tournament.
Tournament officials warned on Sunday that they expected the event to sell out on Monday, but many players complained anyway that their trips — and chances to win millions of dollars — had been ruined.
Poker might be the only sport–along with maybe golf’s US Open–where fans can compete right along with their favorite stars. Sure, the seats are a little more expensive than even Yankee Stadium, but that access to the tournament should be considered sacred, and it’s irritating that a tournament that accommodated 8,773 players in 2006 finds itself unable to let in more than 6,494 for this year’s main event. Five million dollars of tournament prize money… and they just turned it away. It’s amazing that anyone today could let that kinda cash just walk out the door.