Las Vegas Poker Tournament Comes Under Fire For Giving Some Players Buy-In Discount –

A casino near the north end of the Las Vegas Strip is facing heavy criticism over a poker tournament that began this past weekend.

The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is currently hosting the Heartland Poker Tour for a $1,650 buy-in re-entry main event that guaranteed a prize pool of at least $500,000. Factoring in the more than $200 in rake on the $1,650 (the casino’s cut of each buy-in for hosting the event), the event needed 303 entrants to meet the guarantee so the casino wouldn’t be forking over the difference from its own pockets. Still, a turnout of just over 300 players would mean the casino was basically running the tournament for free. That’s not great for business.

At 6 p.m. local time on Saturday, with just 90 minutes left before registration officially closed, there were just 300 players, according to a Tweet from HPT Tournament Director Jeremy Smith. The casino was liable for putting up an “overlay” in order to satisfy the guarantee, according to Smith. What happened next is causing quite a stir in the poker community.

Poker pro Dylan Linde, who entered the tournament four separate times for $1,650 thanks to the re-entry format, told Card Player that the casino wasn’t transparent in its efforts to find more players at the last minute so the prize pool guarantee could be surpassed.

“When we returned from dinner break (last call for registration) a few people at my table mentioned they’d heard an announcement in the sportsbook/poker room (not where tournament was) that people who wanted to enter could do so at a 50 percent discount,” Linde said. “This seemed odd, but hey, it’s within their rights as long as $1,650 goes in for each entry not $825.”

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