All In All Out: No Love Between Johnny Chan, the WSOP

by , Jul 6, 2009 | 11:40 am

As a few people have noticed, the water in the Amazon room has changed. No longer is it All In … Johnny Chan’s “energy water” … it’s just the generic Rio bottled stuff. Clearly something has gone awry between All In and the WSOP. Back in November, the excited word was that All In would be the official energy drink for at least two years. But then, much to our surprise, we saw Red Bull being served this summer, and no All In banners … just All In water.

Hmm, now call it a coincidence, but that All In water disappeared from the Amazon room the day after this article ran on the front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, in which the least championed 10-bracelet winner says:

Not everyone is as happy about the World Series as Harrah’s Entertainment, which bought the series in 2004. One of poker’s legendary players and a two-time main event winner lashed out at how the gaming company has run the event and treats the players.

“In the old days, when Jack Binion owned it, he never took a penny out, but we always tipped the dealers good anyway,” Johnny Chan said, complaining about how the gaming company has increased its cut of the players’ pool. “Now Harrah’s takes out 4 to 10 percent.”

The company also has cut back on its comps to players, Chan said. Harrah’s gave him only a $100 food coupon when he entered the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event last week, he said.

Chan has not been much of a presence this year at the WSOP. He has shown up for a few big events (4?), but hardly sticks around once he busts. In fact, he sneaks out a back door, whereas last year he was constantly in the hallways at his company booth, or in the VIP lounge, which was also heavily labeled with All In signage. And that was before he became a supposedly official sponsor. Might someone have made a deal and forgotten to pay the water bill?

3 Comments to “All In All Out: No Love Between Johnny Chan, the WSOP”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    Now *that’s* an interesting connection!

    I agree with Johnny Chan that dealer tips used to be entirely mandatory; I disagree that *everyone* tipped anyway. I also disagree with his implication that Benny Binion put 100% of the buy in toward the prizepool. And if he did, I’ll bet it was only in the early years, and not in the late ’90s/early ’00s. (That 4-10% is the *entire* rake, for both Harrah’s and the dealers.)

  2. BJ Nemeth

    I should have read the article first. The last paragraph mentions that Becky Binion first pulled money from the prizepool in 2001, when she pulled 3% on behalf of the dealers. Not sure if it increased from there in the leadup to 2004 (when Harrah’s was running things).

  3. DanM

    BJ, I added a paragraf, fyi, at the end.

    IMO, Chan is just grumbling. While you might be able to find places where Harrah’s takes too much, pays too little, or spends wastefully, c’mon, overall either you like the event they’ve created or you don’t … but it’s clearly something bigger and different than it was in ’04. And who isn’t happy to know about a big poker enterprise that isn’t on the verge of going bust?

    Though it’s not clear what came first — either he knew Harrah’s was going to stop pushing his water and thus he lashed out, or vice versa, he lashed out and thus Harrah’s ganked his water … the relationship between the WSOP and Chan’s All In energy drink is not what either party thought it would be when they supposedly agreed to make it an official sponsor.

    This is a deal that went bust and Chan isn’t happy about it. Because he sure wasn’t voicing these complaints about greediness last year when he was running around the floor patching up just about every TV player with his logo.