Thursday, July 30, 2009

VERY Dangerous WSOP Final Table Poker Cheats Scenario!

Yesterday, I received information from a pretty good source that one of the nine finalists in this year's WSOP Main Event final table did a horrible thing. I cannot verify that it is true, but based on the source, I think it is, and if it is, it presents about the most dastardly poker cheat possibility ever seen at the World Series of Poker.

The info I received is that one of the players because of urgent financial need has sold his eventual Final Table winnings to another party for $1,350,000. In other words, that desperate player gets his money now while the buyer will get a minimum of $1,263,602 in mid-November when the prizes are handed down to the final table players.

What does this mean? Well, first, the player gets the cash he needs now. He of course loses out on the chance of earning more money based on a higher finish than eighth place. At it stands now, seventh place will pay $1,404,002, eighth place $1,300,228 and ninth place 1,263,602. So the player has taken the amount of money now that is between the prize money that will be given for seventh and eighth place. How good a deal this is for him depends on which player it is and how much in chips he has going in.

For the buyer, it is an excellent deal. At worst, his investment will lose $86,400 if the player comes in 9th place. But if the player comes in 7th place or better, he picks up a minimum profit of $54,000, which is equivalent to 4% for a 3-month+ loan of $1,350,000. However, if the player finishes higher or even wins the tournament, the buyer will make a terrific score. Again, to put it into perspective, it depends on who the player is and how much he has in final table chips going in. Naturally, if it's a player in the top four chip-positions, then the deal is that much better for the buyer.

There is also the IRS issue of how the taxes will be paid and reimbursed, but it can easily be worked out between the player and the buyer.


I have blogged several times about the cheat dangers involved in the WSOP format of playing the final table four months after it's determined. This latest poker cheat scenario really brings it to life. What has happened here is similar to those dirty companies that pay of inheritors percentages of the estates' values they stand to inherit before the people willing the money and property die. There are companies that operate on the same principal in other (life) industries as well, such as the movie and TV industry where actors, directors and producers can sell out their future earnings from royalties, residuals and upcoming contracts for the bulk of that money now. But none of these carry the same illicit danger that the world of professional poker does.

For instance, let's take this one step further. Say the WSOP final-table player who sold out decides to take further advantage of his situation. Knowing that he has no real incentive to win the tournament because no more prize money is coming his way, what's to stop him from arranging to dump his chips off to one of the other eight players at the final table? All he's gotta do is approach one of them (and he has three+ months to do it) and demand either a share of that player's eventual prize money or straight cash in advance. To put this all simply: it is a horrible scenario, and I truly hope that some important forum like the Poker Players Alliance starts campaigning to return the WSOP Championship Event to its prior format. It is all about ESPN and promotion to jack up broadcasting and merchandising revenues.

If this WSOP format continues, huge ugly poker cheating scams like this will proliferate.