Thursday, February 14, 2013

The 2013 WSOP and the Ladies’ Discount

Was just about to sit down to write something here today when I saw the 2013 World Series of Poker schedule has finally been released early this afternoon. Came a couple of weeks later than usual, but from a first glance it appears that perhaps some extra time was taken coming up with a few new ideas and sorting through various particulars.

There are 62 events this time, one more than last year. There’s a “Millionaire Maker” event early on in which the buy-in is $1,500 and first place is guaranteed to be $1,000,000 (Event No. 6). (Most $1,500 NLHE events tend to yield a first prize of a bit more than half that much.) A “turbo”-formatted event comes up in mid-June (No. 34). There’s a four-max. tourney (No. 38), an ante-only one (No. 45), and a $111,111 buy-in One Drop-branded “high roller” affair, too (No. 47). And there is a non-bracelet open-face Chinese poker tourney scheduled in there as well.

Among the other items grabbing one’s attention at a first glance is the Ladies event (No. 51) which weirdly sports a new $10,000 buy-in, but with a “Ladies Discount Price” of $1,000. That represents an interesting response to the issue of men entering the event, something that has become a kind of minor, irritating tradition since 2010.

Funny this came out today. Kind of makes the “Ladies Discount Price” seem like a Valentine from the WSOP, even if it represents the same buy-in the tourney has been every year since 1992.

I helped cover the Ladies Event last summer for PokerNews, and wrote a post here called “That’s a Bummer, Man” in which I talked a little about the relatively small fuss created by the 10 or 12 men who played the Ladies Event last year.

Anti-discrimination laws made it impossible for the WSOP to prevent men from playing in the Ladies event when some started doing so three years ago. But a provision stating that businesses in Nevada are allowed “to offer differential pricing, discounted pricing or special offers based on sex to promote or market the place of public accommodation” opens the door for the WSOP to try this approach when it comes to discouraging men from participating in the Ladies event.

Not knowing of Nevada law’s allowance for this sort of separate pricing, I’d never considered this option for the Ladies event, although to be honest even if I had known about the so-called “Ladies night” provision I don’t know if I’d have ever come around to considering staging a WSOP event in which the entry fees weren’t uniform.

My first reaction was to appreciate the WSOP’s creativity in finding a way to address the situation while operating within Nevada law. Sure, if we step back and think about a law allowing for differential pricing based on sex it’s easy to understand why some would object to it as unfair. Because... well... it is. But that’s a separate argument and issue, really, as all the WSOP has to worry about is operating its events within what state laws and the Nevada Gaming Control Board allows.

I don’t like men playing in ladies events. It happened at EPT Deauville last week, actually, with two men making the final table of the ladies event there. They ultimately finished third and fourth, and every single person I talked to about it seemed glad neither had won.

I also helped cover the Ladies event at the 2010 WSOP, and wrote a post “On Covering the Ladies Event” in which I talked about what I felt about the issue of men playing and what I believed the Ladies Texas Hold’em Championship (No-Limit) brought to the WSOP and poker in general.

I’ll have to think about it some more, but my first response is to say I guess I’m okay with men having to pay 10 times the buy-in for the Ladies event this year. But I’m wondering also, why was $10,000 chosen as the entry fee? Why not $100,000 or $1,000,000? Is there a law preventing that?

Actually $10K was probably the right price to set as a first attempt here, although from some of the early responses it sounds like there may still be a few men for whom the high price won’t offset other ideas supporting playing (including notions of the tourney’s expected value). And I wonder, will those men get even more attention this year thanks to their having paid more to play?

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1 Comments:

Blogger darrelplant said...

Anyone paying $10K is going to have to make the final table in a field of nearly 1000 just to break even, if the numbers from last year are an indication. 7th place or better for a 100% profit. Need to have a pretty high estimation of themselves to do that.

2/15/2013 12:37 AM  

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