Day 1D Will Take No More Registrants, Commissioner Apologizes

by , Jul 6, 2009 | 3:11 pm

The room was packed with players, who gathered on short notice to find out what Harrah’s would do with the hundreds (conservative number) of irate/disappointed/confused players who were denied entry to the 2009 WSOP Main Event because of their late arrivals to the sell-out event. Notables in the room included Mike Sexton, Mickey Appelman, and Melissa Hayden.

twitpic: @melissalvla

Between the tournament staff, Harrah’s staff, and security contingent, there were approximately 20 suits, lined in front of the room. Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack addressed the crowd with a prepared statement that began, “We are sorry and I am sorry.” He went on to say that the players would not be allowed to play, and that he understands that it is disappointing. “We wish we could accommodate you,” he said and added that he wished they would have played other starting days.

Questions were beamed at Pollack, many players talking over each other at times. Allegations of special treatment were aimed at Harrah’s, with some players asserting that well-known players were granted entry after others were shut out. Pollack’s response? “Absolutely not.”

Most questions revolved around the option of allowing players to begin play this evening and play through the night or somehow incorporating a Day 1E into the mix, but Pollack insisted that it would be logistically and operationally impossible to do. When someone pushed the subject, WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky jumped in with a question of his own directed at the player. “Why didn’t you show up earlier?” A collective “oooh” let Palansky know that he may have gone too far with the comment.

Pollack tried to cool the crowd with comments like, “We are not doing this happily today,” but it was clear that the players were not becoming any more satisfied with the comments. With Pollack promising that sell-out tournaments will be the number one topic to be discussed when planning the 2010 WSOP, he eventually ended the meeting with parting words “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Pollack, Palansky, and other executives went out a private side entrance protected by security.


  • Vinny B.

    Anyone who got shut out has no one to blame but themselves. They knew this could happen. And, as evidenced on this site, the low numbers on 1A and 1B should have alerted anyone that 1D would be high numbers.

  • DanM

    Mathers said as much … and we even wagered on it. (He was right.)

  • DicePanda

    Vinny B. nailed it. The WSOP is right. Good Lord, are these people that were shut out dumb enough not to realize WHY there are multiple starting days in the first place? (A: Because there isn’t the space to accomodate everyone in one day. In case anyone’s unclear on the answer.) If the WSOP was able to successfully accomodate 2800 people today, that means (in theory) they could handle a starting field of 11,200 over four days, much larger than the current record. Which means, the WSOP was prepared well — but the wannabe participants did not cooperate by spreading their demand out over the previous three days.

    Seth Palansky probably could have taken a breath and been a little more tactful to make the same point, but I agree with his sentiment. Fuck ‘em. No one to blame but themselves.

  • http://Somewhere Anonymous

    My biggest issue is the players who are crying that they should have been warned earlier on day 1c. (Allen Kessler) What exactly would that have accomplished other than a different 1,000 players being allowed in. You’d still have the same number of players complaining about being shut out.

    Harrah’s screwed up in many ways, but I have no sympathy for a bunch of players who decided to risk it. It’s the satellite players who couldn’t sell their recent lammers that I’m more concerned with.

  • Jon Katkin

    I agree with the general tenor of the statements already made here. If you got shut out of the Main Event, you have no one to blame but yourself. Especially if you’re a local player who had the time and opportunity to register for your preferred starting day at any time over the previous six weeks.

    For those players who may have arrived in town late and made a last-minute decision to play… well, you gambled and lost. It happens. As others, including Pollack said, there was plenty of room to play in any of the three previous starting days. You chose not take a “guaranteed” seat or to reserve your seat on 1D beforehand and, instead, rolled the dice by showing up late. Sorry. Too bad. Better luck next time.

    Could the WSOP folks have handled things better? I’m not sure, but after watching how they’ve handled other problems throughout this series, I’d say, probably yes. Still, I don’t fault them on today’s sell out. They’ve got limited space to work with and a pre-set schedule to try and maintain. This screw up should fall squarely on the shoulders of the players.

  • http://genebromberg.com Mean Gene

    Both sides are to blame; neither is to blame. No player has ever been turned away at the Main Event before, but there’s also never been a day at the Main Event with 4,000 people trying to play at the same time. No one got turned away last year and the numbers this year were trending lower, so it was reasonable for players to expect they’d be able to show up today and get their seat. Harrah’s sending out a press release yesterday afternoon that things might fill up isn’t going to help people en route, or people who don’t follow the poker media obsessively (fools).

    On the other hand people can’t expect Harrah’s to deal with an infinite number of players. There are only so many dealers, floor, tables, etc available at one time. Shoehorning another 500 to 1,000 players into a tournament already approaching 6,500 could end in a logistical nightmare that could jeopardize the entire Main Event.

    So, sadly, this is one of those times where everyone gets screwed. You had the very strange scene of 150 poker players DEMANDING that Harrah’s take their $10,000, and a score of men in suits holding up their hands and saying, “We’re very sorry, we can’t take your money”. It was surreal.

  • pinkerton

    I’m not totally defending the poker players, because I personally would have been prepared but…

    Harrah’s had the event on July 4th weekend, of course people are going to show up Monday, that’s bad on Harrah’s. I also read stories of people who did not plan ahead to have $10,000 in cash all weekend and the banks were closed for the holiday and people could not access their money until today… so take it for what it’s worth, both parties should have planned better imo.

  • http://www.PokerRoad.com/nation/photos BJ Nemeth

    FYI, the Main Event started on July 4th weekend last year as well.