Response to Steve Lipscomb’s Letter to WPT Players

by , May 28, 2007 | 6:07 pm

There were three items that weren’t covered in Steve’s letter that are very important to me and some of my professional poker friends. Resolving these issues would make competing on the World Poker Tour more profitable, and therefore more enjoyable, for the players the WPT depends on.

  1. Payout structure – In the WPT championship, the winner received $4 million. Sixth place got $300,000. This difference is not the only reason, but is one of the main reasons that people are complaining about the blind structures. If this difference were significantly smaller, players might not be as bothered by a crapshoot. I’m sure other people will comment on how to improve the blind structure, but I would like the payout structure narrowed. Viewers will be impressed if the winner gets $2 million or $4 million. Both numbers are amazing to people that watch poker. This top-heavy prize structure is one of the reasons so many poker players are going broke. Finishing 6th among 600 of the best players in the world should get paid better than 12to1.
  2. Deal Making – The WSOP allows deal making and their shows are great to watch too. The viewers don’t know, and even if they did, they might find the negotiation process interesting to watch. The inability for players to make deals when the variation in prize money from first to sixth is so vast is another reason why the blind structure is so important. The final table is not real poker and is being played for more money than most people have ever seen, and we can’t make deals. If we could make deals, I wouldn’t care so much about the blind structure. In addition, if a deal was made, it would speed up the tournament reducing your production costs and would spread the prize money over a greater number of players.
  3. Logos – For those of us that are not sponsored by a poker site, we would like to be able to wear a logo if we make a final table. Why should it matter if we get it approved before the tournament starts? The time to negotiate a deal to wear someone’s logo, for most of us, is after the sponsor knows that we will be on T.V. It is in the best interest of the WPT to have its players make as much money as they can so they can continue to enter tournaments. This is free money to the player and the WPT makes it difficult for the second tier players to get it. In addition, why can’t we wear hats with logos? That would create more money making opportunities for the players.

It seems as though when you make a final table in the WSOP, they do as much as they can to promote the player. I had just completed writing a poker book and came in third in the Reno WPT and there was no mention of the book on the show. Once again, this would have been no skin off the WPT’s back but could have provided more income to one of its players — some of which inevitably might end up back on their tables. It is mutually beneficial for the WPT to promote its players and their endeavors, but it doesn’t happen.

One of Steve’s concerns is that the WPT isn’t making money. It’s hard for players to comment on how that could be improved because we don’t have access to detailed financial statements. However, there are several line items that should be investigated and not just production costs.

The one thing that should be kept in mind is that poker players are the only competitors on T.V. that put up all of the money for their own prize pool. These people should be kept happy and wealthy. Hey how about if I make a final table, you let me wear a hat and we’ll split the money?

3 Comments to “Response to Steve Lipscomb’s Letter to WPT Players”

  1. Matthew

    You’re trying to talk logically to a corporation. Good luck with that, lol. I 100% agree with these 3 things. There is no reason this shouldnt be done.

  2. DanM

    I think it’s interesting that the WSOP — also under a corporation — seems to have addressed all (or most) of these issues. When it comes down to the battle of the big-time poker brand — WSOP vs. WPT — the Harrah’s property seems to be winning by an increasing margin.

  3. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » WPT Changes Logo Policy for Season 7

    […] Players have spoken and Steve Lipscomb has apparently listened. As the WPT tries to recover from the fiscal beating it’s taken for the last couple years of generally crappy programming ratings at a time when High Stakes Poker was just finding its stride and the online poker world was in a tailspin … (why did the PPT collapse again? Those shows were great!) … a simple adjustment to a Berman-Lipscomb-Corp. policy stands to put a little more money into players’ pockets. An email sent out a month ago: Dear WPT Player, […]