Friday, January 17, 2014

Borgata Brouhaha

Reading today about this trouble at the Borgata where the first event of the big two-plus week Winter Open had to be suspended before the start of today’s third and final day of play thanks to the discovery of some sort of issue affecting the tournament’s integrity.

As Rich Ryan reports over on PokerNews, Joe Lupo. Senior VP of Operations at the Borgata, said this afternoon “we have reason to believe the tournament was compromised,” and given the importance of “ensuring the integrity of the tournament” play was halted for 24 hours.

Ryan goes on to share that someone speaking for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement mentioned “a situation involving counterfeit chips,” and via Twitter and elsewhere one finds many more references to some shady-looking 5K chips apparently being introduced into the tournament at some point.

In fact, Luke Edwards, a player in the tourney, yesterday tweeted a picture showing some differently appearing 5K chips. Some are saying over 1 million of the phony chips made it into the event, an amount that if true would represent about 1.13% of the total chips that were supposed to be in play.

Learning that got me scurrying back to the old story of the extra chips accidentally introduced into the 2006 World Series of Poker during a color-up at some late stage prior to the final table, something like 2.4 million worth which in that tournament represented more than 2.7% of the chips in play.

There were 4,812 entries total in the $560 buy-in event at the Borgata, a tourney that had three Day 1 flights and allowed re-entries. They’d gotten down to just 27 players to start today, meaning the money bubble has already burst long ago as the top 450 finishers made the cash.

Will be especially curious to hear the rest of this story. Assuming the extra counterfeit chips are indeed the cause of the tourney being compromised, it will be interesting to find out (1) what comes of the investigation into how the chips were introduced into play, and (2) what will be done about the tournament at this late stage.

Regarding the latter, all of those entries ended up building a total prize pool of $2,325,835, thereby besting the $2 million guarantee. About $900K of that prize pool has been claimed already by players who have cashed thus far, with something like $1.43 million still left to be divided among the final 27. In other words, it’s exceedingly awkward spot to try to fix an issue such as the one that appears to have arisen.

Indeed, I can’t think of any solution, really, that wouldn’t seem unfair to someone. Can you?

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