Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tipping during tournaments

A story I saw in the most recent Cardplayer magazine discussed a couple of points of views concerning tipping by players following a live tournament. The main issue was whether tips should be withheld as a percentage of the prize pool or whether it was proper to leave it up to individual players to leave a tip.

I do not dispute that could service should be rewarded. What bothered me about the story was the statements by tournament directors that dealers would not be properly compensated without a withheld tip. Since the story was talking about the World Series of Poker, I will direct my comments toward that tournament and this issue.

The World Series of Poker, whether viewed overall or just looking at the main event, is the largest, most lucrative poker tournament in the world. Harrah's, in addition to the revenue generated by the buy-in by the players, makes money by selling sponsorships and broadcasting rights. The money paid by ESPN to televise events is undboubedly huge. Yet Harrah's, through the tournament directors and it's spokespeople, seems to believe that the players are the ones responsible for ensuring that Harrah's employees are properly compensated for the work they do. That is insane. That responsibility lies with those running the tournament. The tournament directors do not add extra value to the prize pool. Instead, they seem to be quite intent on further removing money from the player's end while pocketing huge profits. I hope to play the World Series soon. If I were fortunate to make the money, I would be willing to tip those dealers whose work deserved. However, it is wrong for the tournament directors to try to shift an expense which is legitimatley the owners onto the players.

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