Stern Scandal at WSOP?

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Oliver Lawrence

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May 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/6/97
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Tonight a friend told me of a reported scandal that, if true, will further
damage
what little integrity remains in big-dollar poker tournaments.

He said that Maria Stern's husband "bought" her the WSOP championship
she reportedly won. My friend said that Stern paid everyone involved to
fold to his
wife at any and every feasible turn. And while that may sound incredible,

check out Tom Sims' hand-by-hand record and see what you think.

It shows that Stern won 17 of the first 18 hands played, heads up. And
when
the series of, umm, wins began, she was at a three-to-one chip
disadvantage.
Okay. Sure. I believe that.

Another, oh, oddity: They played 48 hands heads-up. Guess how many
show-downs?
One, the final hand. I believe that was on the up-and-up, too. And
Santa Claus will
side down my chimney this December 25th.

My friend is not a flake or rumor monger. He's a twenty-year professional
player
who props at a local casino. He said that Jack Binion was enraged when
he found out what happened. So enraged that he told Jack McClelland he
wouldn't
be invited back if it ever happened again.

Thank you Tom Sims for recording the, oh, what should we call it, a game?;
yeah, that sounds
right. Without your efforts, the Sterns might actually be thought of as a
champions, instead
of (you fill in the blank).

World Championship. Sure. If women want respect, maybe they should try to
earn it -- not
have their husbands try to buy it.


Oliver Lawrence

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May 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/6/97
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Steve Brecher

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May 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/7/97
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"Oliver Lawrence" <oli...@isat.com> wrote:

> Tonight a friend told me of a reported scandal that, if true, will further
> damage
> what little integrity remains in big-dollar poker tournaments.
>
> He said that Maria Stern's husband "bought" her the WSOP championship
> she reportedly won. My friend said that Stern paid everyone involved to
> fold to his
> wife at any and every feasible turn. And while that may sound incredible,
>
> check out Tom Sims' hand-by-hand record and see what you think.
>
> It shows that Stern won 17 of the first 18 hands played, heads up. And
> when
> the series of, umm, wins began, she was at a three-to-one chip
> disadvantage.

Who was the "everyone involved" who was purportedly paid, other than her
sole opponent in a heads-up situation? And what is meant by "what little
integrity remains in big-dollar poker tournaments" other than the rampant
rumor-mongering and ignorant speculation that has been present on this
group in recent weeks?

The evidence adduced -- as well as what I have heard here at the WSOP from
a source I consider reliable who claimed to have been informed by Roberts,
her opponent -- is consistent with a deal made when they became heads up,
whereby Stern obtained the title/bracelet and her opponent, the chip
leader, obtained the majority of the remaining prize money.

I have mixed feelings about pre-arranging a result, but it should be noted
that such a deal does not compromise the money interest of anyone not a
party to the agreement.

Two or three years ago at a relatively small California tournament my
heads-up opponent said that the tournament trophy would delight his young
daughter; I agreed that he could have the trophy in exchange for a small
portion of the remaining prize money, at which point we stopped playing.
I didn't then and don't now think there is any ethical problem with that.
Regardless, I agree that staged play for a WSOP bracelet is not the same
thing; however I think "scandal" is a strong word in a situation where
there is no contestant whose interest is compromised.

I have been on the scene of "big-dollar poker tournaments" in Nevada for a
few years and I don't think I'm overly naive. I can sum up my view of the
integrity of the WSOP thus: I've played four events so far in this WSOP
and expect to play another one or two; I have no partners nor backers.

--
st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher)

ChristeneM

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May 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/7/97
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In reply to the recent posting "If women want respect, maybe they should
try to earn it -- not have their husband try to buy it."

I earned my bracelet which was the fulfillment of my liftime poker
ambition. I would be unable to either wear the bracelet or get any joy
from it had I not won it fairly. Please do not stereotype womeh...there
are many great female players.

I want to thank everyone who has shared my joy with me by sending their
well wishes and congratulations...this is a very happy occasion for me.

Linda Johnson
Publisher
Card Player Magazine

Oliver Lawrence

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May 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/7/97
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In response to my post exposing -- and yes, I still believe that's the
proper term -- the purchase of a WSOP title for Maria Stern by her husband,
Steve Brecher remarked:

>The evidence adduced -- as well as what I have heard here at the WSOP
from
>a source I consider reliable who claimed to have been informed by
Roberts,
>her opponent -- is consistent with a deal made when they became heads up,
>whereby Stern obtained the title/bracelet and her opponent, the chip
>leader, obtained the majority of the remaining prize money.
>
>I have mixed feelings about pre-arranging a result, but it should be
noted
>that such a deal does not compromise the money interest of anyone not a
>party to the agreement.

Well, Steve, I guess we have different ideas of what the word champion
means. I believe that the money, while important, is merely a byproduct of
championship performance, and a decidedly secondary concern to most
champions.

If Evander Holyfield agreed to take a dive (as Roberts did) because Don
King would pay him a bribe, would you find that acceptable? Would you feel
that boxing's integrity would be unblemished by such an arrangement? Would
the title "Heavyweight Champion of the World" mean anything?

Frankly, I'm amazed at your it's-just-business-as-usual attitude. I'm
aware of your success in tournaments, and I have to believe that a player
of your caliber values titles and the prestige and sense of accomplishment
winning one brings. I realize that money deals are made, but I don't think
they should not be allowed in anything that bills itself as "The World
Championship."

I think we should be outraged. I think we should write letters to Binions,
the media, and anyone who will listen in order to prevent any similar fraud
again. I'm going to. And I think you, and the other influential members
of this newsgroup, should join me in doing so.

BluSTETSON

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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I heartedly endorse Linda Johnson's sentiments........

Don't brand all women players because of the actions of one.

If I can't win fairly, with everything aboveboard, then I don't want to
win at all! There's no pride in winning if there's a question about how
you won.
Houston DLB

PokerMAM

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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In article <19970507220...@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
chris...@aol.com (ChristeneM) writes:

Congratulations, Linda, on a great WSOP win and a fine magazine.
Incredible that women are still put in a position of defending being
winners. However, your reputation preceeds you in the poker world. Class
act!

maggie

PokerMAM

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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In article <19970508010...@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
blust...@aol.com (BluSTETSON) writes:

I would also suggest not believing every rumor that comes around. The way
that story was related, it sounds highly suspicious. From what I have
heard about Jack Binion, I believe if he were " outraged" at someone he
wouldn't give them a "next time". They'd be out right now.

maggie

Jazbo Burns

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher) wrote regarding the
apparently deal made for the title of a WSOP event:

>I have mixed feelings about pre-arranging a result, but it should be noted
>that such a deal does not compromise the money interest of anyone not a
>party to the agreement.

It's true that the money interest of the players in that tournament
were not affected. However, a great deal of weight is attached to
both winning a bracelet *and* to the total money won by individuals
(in much the same way that the media carefully tracks the tournament
money won by golf pros). I strongly feel that if poker is ever to
attain the kind of prestige that golf has, the prizes and prize money
must be distributed with the highest integrity. If deal making
happens (as it obviously does), Binions insists that the deal be made
under their sanction. I feel that the deals should be public
knowledge and that the actual prize monies won should be noted,
especially in calculating lifetime WSOP earnings. Otherwise, this
statistic is meaningless.

--jazbo
--

****** ****** ****** ******
Video poker strategy cards for sale:
http://www.monmouth.com/~jburns/vidpoker.html

Steve Brecher

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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"Oliver Lawrence" <oli...@isat.com> wrote:

> In response to my post exposing -- and yes, I still believe that's the
> proper term -- the purchase of a WSOP title for Maria Stern by her husband,
> Steve Brecher remarked:
>
> >The evidence adduced -- as well as what I have heard here at the WSOP
> from
> >a source I consider reliable who claimed to have been informed by
> Roberts,
> >her opponent -- is consistent with a deal made when they became heads up,
> >whereby Stern obtained the title/bracelet and her opponent, the chip
> >leader, obtained the majority of the remaining prize money.
> >

> >I have mixed feelings about pre-arranging a result, but it should be
> noted
> >that such a deal does not compromise the money interest of anyone not a
> >party to the agreement.
>

> Well, Steve, I guess we have different ideas of what the word champion
> means. I believe that the money, while important, is merely a byproduct of
> championship performance, and a decidedly secondary concern to most
> champions.
>
> If Evander Holyfield agreed to take a dive (as Roberts did) because Don
> King would pay him a bribe, would you find that acceptable? Would you feel
> that boxing's integrity would be unblemished by such an arrangement? Would
> the title "Heavyweight Champion of the World" mean anything?
>

> Frankly, I'm amazed at your it's-just-business-as-usual attitude. [...]

It's unclear to me at what Oliver is amazed: that I expressed "mixed
feelings" rather than "outrage"?

> I think we should be outraged. I think we should write letters to Binions,
> the media, and anyone who will listen in order to prevent any similar fraud

> again. I'm going to. [...]

What specific procedural suggestions should such letters contain that will
assure prevention of or at least reduce the chance of fraud?

While this is somewhat a different subject: I don't think the word
"champion" has the same significance in poker as in athletic competition.
Luck is a significant factor in poker.

--
st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher)

RedHatTxn

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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PokerMAM wrote the following in answer to my original quote:

I would also suggest not believing every rumor that comes around. The way
that story was related, it sounds highly suspicious. From what I have
heard about Jack Binion, I believe if he were " outraged" at someone he
wouldn't give them a "next time". They'd be out right now.

maggie


I didn't say I believed (or didn't believe) any or all of the original
story.

I was commenting on the blanket statement of condemnation of women
players. Don't tar all of us with the same brush.

PokerMAM

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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In article <19970508183...@ladder01.news.aol.com>,
redh...@aol.com (RedHatTxn) writes:

>I was commenting on the blanket statement of condemnation of women
>players. Don't tar all of us with the same brush.
>
>

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I am in full agreement with you (see
my post to Linda Johnson). My comments were directed at the original
poster.

May I further add two more points that make the rumor absurd. 1)There
isn't enough money in Ft Knox to pay off several players and even if
someone was willing to do so, 2)there is no way anyone could talk several
players into purposely giving up their quest for a WSOP title and the
cherished gold bracelet so that the wife could be the winner. This
rediculous rumor was devised in order to discredit a woman player. She was
berated for letting her husband "buy" her title but nothing was said of
the husband who would do such a thing. Pathetic attempt at female bashing.

maggie

Charles Haynes

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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Wait a minute. I thought at first you were complaining that the
tourney had been "fixed" long in advance, but if I understand you
correctly, you're complaining that when it got heads up the players
made a deal? Is that really what you're complaining about?

Interesting.

I've played in a fair number of tourneys, and won a few, and in almost
all of them we made a deal when it got down to two or three
players. Sometimes that deal included who'd get the trophy, and
sometimes we split the money (or most of it) and played for the rest
and the trophy or any one of a number of other possibilities.

If I were heads up at a final table and someone offered a deal where I
got most of the money but they got the title, I'd consider it as just
another deal - not "selling the title."

I do agree that the deal should be made openly, but after that, I
don't see any problem with it.

I get the impression you don't know how tournaments, especially big
tournaments, actually work. Or I don't understand your objection...

-- Charles


Jazbo Burns

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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"Oliver Lawrence" <oli...@isat.com> quoted me as follows:

Jazbo Burns wrote in article ...


>must be distributed with the highest integrity. If deal making
>happens (as it obviously does), Binions insists that the deal be made
>under their sanction. I feel that the deals should be public
>knowledge and that the actual prize monies won should be
>noted,

But left out the qualifier:


>I strongly feel that if poker is ever to
>attain the kind of prestige that golf has, the prizes and prize money

The partial quote seem to imply that I put myself in the position of
dictating how Binions should handle their business, which I do not
(although I don't mind them knowing my opinion).

Secondly, my information is that Binions is a party to the money deals
made as WSOP (primarily so that they can fill out the tax forms to
keep the players & the IRS straight, I suppose). I seriously doubt
that Binions would be aware of or sanction any deal that had to do
with the title itself. A typical deal with a $300000 purse (down to
heads up) with a pre-announced split of $200000 and $100000 and stacks
about even might be to change the payout to $160000/$140000. The
title and an extra $20000 are still worth playing for, but the players
get to reduce their variance in a situation in which the luck of the
cards can be the dominant factor. I don't see anything wrong with
making such deals, but I think it would be better for the game if the
terms were made public (at least in the top-flight tournaments where
titles and total money won seem to carry so much prestige).

Oliver Lawrence

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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[Background: WSOP titles, and the coveted Binion's gold bracelets
that accompany them, are available for sale. A deal can be
worked out between the finalists as to who wins, and how much
will be paid to the various participants.
Some of the newsgroup members feel this wrong and should be
against the rules of the tournament; while others feel that
there is nothing wrong with this practise, and it does nothing
to tarnish the WSOP's reputation.]

Jazbo Burns wrote in article ...
>must be distributed with the highest integrity. If dealmaking>happen

s
>(as it obviously does), Binions insists that the deal be made
>under their sanction. I feel that the deals should be public
>knowledge and that the actual prize monies won should be
>noted,

Sanctions? Are you saying that Binions knows of, approves of,
and participates in the championship sales? Before I read your
post, I assumed they didn't. But after thinking about it for a
while, I agree they must.

So what are we saying here? Let's use Steve Brecher's example
where Stern bought the championship from Roberts for "most of
the prize money." Binions reported that Stern received $140K
and Roberts $73K. Let's assume that Stern told Roberts he would be
paid $200K for the championship and she would keep $13K for herself.

Did Binions (a) agree to the deal (fix) and actually pay out the
$200K bribe to Roberts and $13K to Stern?

Or (b) pay Roberts only the reported $73K and Stern $140K, with the
two of them settling up after the payout? If so, Roberts is a very
trusting man.

If (a) happened, Binions lied to us and everyone else -- major
public relations fiasco if exposed.

If (b) happened (unlikely in my opinion, given the ease with which
the Costa Rica-based Sterns could simply tell Roberts they wouldn't
pay him his $127K), there's serious tax fraud here. Somebody-goes-t
o-jail tax fraud.

Either way, Binions loses. And if they are involved in
misreporting income to the IRS. . . I simply don't understand
why they would condone this practise. It's a lose-lose
situation for them. And, in the long run, for all poker players
who look for respect for their efforts and accomplishments.

Personally, I believe that no deals of any kind should be
allowed at anything recognized as the world championship. But
if they are allowed; I agree with your words, Jazbo, that they
must be made public.

Oliver Lawrence

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May 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/8/97
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TOM SIMS

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
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For various reasons, among them lack of time, I have refrained from
commenting on this matter, other than what appeared in my Daily WSOP
Reports at "www.conjelco.com".

I have a little more time right now, since I am enjoying a "no Final
Table" day at the WSOP, and I feel that the current discussions in
rec.gambling.poker now require that I report my observations of Event #4
at the 1997 WSOP, where Maria Stern became the $2,500 7 Card Stud
Champion.

First, here is the commentary that I made in my "Daily Report" section
about the results of Event #4:


********************

In the first four events, three ladies have made it to the final table,
and two of them have won a WSOP championship. Today the crowd favorite,
Maria Stern, began heads up play for the title with $185,000 in chips,
while Adam Roberts had $200,000. In a very "interesting" confrontation
that lasted about 45 minutes, Maria won 38 out of the 48 hands played,
with only the first and last hands going to a showdown. It seemed that
Roberts was experiencing an almost unbelievable run of poor cards, that
saw him folding with regularity. On five occasions Roberts folded an Ace
doorcard to Stern's bring in bet. This resulted in a steady exodus of his
chips to the other side of the table.

********************


The actual heads-up hand by hand data is available on Conjelco's WSOP
web site.

And here is a comment taken from my hand by hand reporting of Event #4:


=======================================================

All data from this point until the heads up play between Maria Stern and
Adam Roberts was lost, when I inadvertently taped over the data while
recording a subsequent final table.

During the blackout, there was a break with a probable deal being made
between S, J, M and R.

Joe Macchiaverna finished 4th and at 7:14 PM Tom McEvoy finished 3rd.

=======================================================


For personal reasons, I am not going to express my judgment on this
matter, but I will enumerate the relevant facts, and some not so relevant
ones, as I know them, and I will try to be as objective and factual as
possible.


1. I know Maria and Dr. Max Stern and consider them both to be among the
nicest and most pleasant people I have ever met.

2. Both are excellent Poker Players.

3. I do not know Adam Roberts, but have heard that he is an excellent 7
Card Stud player. He finished second in a prior year's WSOP 7 Card
Stud Event.

4. Binion's recognizes that monetary deals are a normal occurrence in
Poker Tournaments and insists that all such deals be done in private,
under the supervision and guidance of Binion's Tournament
Co-ordinator.

5. Poker Tournament Sponsors report the announced, scheduled winnings to
the public, but report the deal figures to the IRS.

6. I am very sure (but cannot prove) that a monetary deal was reached
between the four remaining participants in Event #4 during a break,
and I am also very sure that this deal was a standard "distribution of
money" deal and did not include, or consider "soft play" on anyone's
part during the rest of the tournament. The final four players were
competing for a total prize pool of $273,705. First paid $140,708,
second $73,245, Third $36,622 and fourth paid $23,135.

7. I am very sure (but cannot prove) that another monetary deal was made
between the principals when they got to heads up play. I do not know
know what the terms were, but most of the official money had probably
already been allocated during the four way deal. I will guess that
there was no more than $30,000 or so on the line between the two
remaining participants for sanctioned deal making purposes.

8. I do not know if a private "soft play" agreement was reached between
one or both of the Sterns and Adam Roberts.

9. Any private "soft play" agreement can easily be reneged on by the
"soft player" with very few adverse consequences, making it a
possible "lose - lose" situation for the briber, and lessen the
attractiveness and probability of such a deal.

10. Binion's (and to my knowledge, other Tournament Sponsors) do not
condone, are not a party to, deplore, and actively seek to prevent
any public or private deal that involves any consideration other than
the allocation of the official prize money.

11. If players make a private deal involving money or "soft play", in a
heads-up situation, I am not aware of any rules of poker that they
have broken.

12. Deals involving titles, especially WSOP titles, can cheapen other's
titles and can skew statistical information.

13. Major Tournament "soft play" is not an accepted norm, and in my
opinion is a very, very, very rare occurence.

14. I am sorry that I inadvertently taped over some of the middle portion
of Event #4. It was my belief at the time that Adam Roberts was the
toughest, best player at the Final Table, prior to the Heads-up play.
This opinion was shared by other people that I talked with who saw
the Final Table action.

15. In a heads-up Tournament situation, short term luck is likely to be a
major factor in determining the winner.

16. It appeared to me, and other people who I talked to who saw the
Final Table play, that Adam Roberts lost his competitive fervor once
heads-up play started, and that he showed little interest or concern
with the heads-up portion of the play.

17. A Major Poker Tournament is an intensive, gruelling experience and
may alter the normal pattern and actions of participants.

Tom Sims

Measure with a micrometer * mark with chalk * cut with an axe

... Turtle Tom ... Live From Las Vegas ...


Steve Brecher

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
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"Oliver Lawrence" <oli...@isat.com> wrote:

> [Background: WSOP titles, and the coveted Binion's gold bracelets
> that accompany them, are available for sale. A deal can be
> worked out between the finalists as to who wins, and how much
> will be paid to the various participants.

The fact is that ONE instance of a deal for the title/bracelet is
purported to have occurred involving the two remaining players in a WSOP
event. Deals for (re)distribution of money, on the other hand, are usual
at all poker tournaments and are common knowledge among tournament
players.

> Some of the newsgroup members feel this wrong and should be
> against the rules of the tournament; while others feel that
> there is nothing wrong with this practise, and it does nothing
> to tarnish the WSOP's reputation.]

The posts from those who feel that there is nothing wrong with the
practice of sham play and deals for a title/bracelet must not have showed
up yet on my news server. I can't recall seeing any such.

> Sanctions? Are you saying that Binions knows of, approves of,
> and participates in the championship sales? Before I read your
> post, I assumed they didn't. But after thinking about it for a
> while, I agree they must.

I have no evidence of, nor have I even heard any rumors of, Binion's nor
its agent tournament coordinator Jack McClelland approving of or
participating in a deal to convey a title/bracelet. For what it's worth I
have heard rumors to the contrary, i.e. of negative reaction.

> So what are we saying here? Let's use Steve Brecher's example
> where Stern bought the championship from Roberts for "most of
> the prize money." Binions reported that Stern received $140K
> and Roberts $73K. Let's assume that Stern told Roberts he would be
> paid $200K for the championship and she would keep $13K for herself.

(Please do not put quotation marks around paraphrases. The phrase I used
was "majority of the prize money.") I did NOT say that the majority of
the prize money was the (presumed) purchase price of the title (although I
can see where a quick reading of what I said could lead to a
misinterpretation). What I said was,

> deal made when they became heads up,
> whereby Stern obtained the title/bracelet and her opponent, the chip
> leader, obtained the majority of the remaining prize money.

Roberts was the chip leader. Any usual money deal would provide him the
majority of the prize money regardless of any pre-arrangement for the
title. The speculation is that he obtained, in net effect, a larger
majority than he would have otherwise, or that the quid pro quo for the
title -- assuming there was one -- was a separate out-of-pocket payment
not reflected in an adjustment in the prize distribution. As to the
logistics of how such an arrangement might be made without Jack
McClelland's knowledge or approval: there are many ways it could be done,
some requiring trust, but that is not unusual among poker players.

Tom Sims (our intrepid final table recorder) reported a probable deal
among the final FOUR participants in the event in question. Given that,
and assuming that there was a deal to convey the title, my GUESS is that
the title deal was a separate transaction between Adam Roberts (reported
second place finisher) and perhaps Max Stern, Maria's husband, and that
this transaction was unknown to Jack McClelland. If it happened this way,
it could have been unknown even to Maria.

> Did Binions (a) agree to the deal (fix) and actually pay out the
> $200K bribe to Roberts and $13K to Stern?

(Disregarding the example money amounts...) Jack McClelland's policy is
that all deals must be made with all remaining players and himself present
at the negotiations. Binion's (or other venues at which Jack's group is
running a tourny) writes IRS forms reflecting money actually paid per the
deal, and reports to the press/public the nominal (i.e., false, after a
deal) amounts per the pre-calculated prize payout schedule.

It is my understanding that Jack McClelland and/or Binion's feels that
reporting of deal results would be bad PR for tournament poker.

> Personally, I believe that no deals of any kind should be
> allowed at anything recognized as the world championship. But
> if they are allowed; I agree with your words, Jazbo, that they
> must be made public.

I disagree that deals should be disallowed for two reasons. First, it's
impractical, as there's no way to enforce such a policy, so it's better to
allow the deals but require that they be made in front of all remaining
contestants with Jack as "referee." (Strictly speaking, that requirement
is not absolutely enforceable either, but in practice I believe that it
works as intended whereas a deal prohibition would not.) Second, the
money being distributed belongs to the (remaining) players, and they
should be free to redistribute it as they see fit.

I agree, however, that actual (post-deal) money results should be reported
to the press and public.

--
st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher)

Eric J. Holtman

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
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Steve Brecher <st...@brecher.reno.nv.us> wrote in article

[massive snippage]

>
> (Disregarding the example money amounts...) Jack McClelland's policy is
> that all deals must be made with all remaining players and himself present
> at the negotiations. Binion's (or other venues at which Jack's group is
> running a tourny) writes IRS forms reflecting money actually paid per the
> deal, and reports to the press/public the nominal (i.e., false, after a
> deal) amounts per the pre-calculated prize payout schedule.
>
> It is my understanding that Jack McClelland and/or Binion's feels that
> reporting of deal results would be bad PR for tournament poker.
>

I think this gets to the heart of the matter. How can making such
information public be _bad_ PR for tournament poker? You mean they'd
rather have people believe the final table of every tournament is played
on the square, instead of disappointing the public with the true facts?

No wonder some people (I'm not one of them) think _every_ tournament
is fixed.

--
------
Eric J. Holtman | Managing programmers is like herding cats.
|
| There's no government like no government


Novice

unread,
May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

Please write in plain english .. Instead of the HTML english ..
Former is good for readability

Keysmark (keys...@worldnet.att.net) wrote:
: <HTML><BODY>
: Charles Haynes wrote:

: <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE>I get the impression you don't know how tournaments,
: especially big
: <BR>tournaments, actually work. Or I don't understand your objection...
: <BR>
: <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -- Charles
: </BLOCKQUOTE>
: Well, you are sure correct about that!&nbsp; Obviously, as these recent
: threads show, most of us non-tournament professional poker players are
: being enlighted.&nbsp; And I, for one am very disappointed!
: <BR>
: <BR>I wonder if Golf fans would have thought it was OK if the Masters', a "big"
: tournament by any definition, were fixed?
: <BR>
: <BR>Keysmark (Mark from the Florida Keys)

: <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE>
: </BLOCKQUOTE>
: &nbsp;&nbsp;

: </BODY>
: </HTML>

Keysmark

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

Lee Jones

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

In article <JBURNS.97...@wildcat.monmouth.com>,

Jazbo Burns <jbu...@monmouth.com> wrote:
>I feel that the deals should be public
>knowledge and that the actual prize monies won should be noted,
>especially in calculating lifetime WSOP earnings. Otherwise, this
>statistic is meaningless.

Yep. But let's face facts. One of the big draws of the WSOP is that it's
a MILLION DOLLAR poker tournament. I remember reading about Dan Harrington
in some in-flight magazine, saying that he was a millionaire, thanks to his
WSOP win. Etc. Etc. The PR value of that Million Dollar first prize is
almost inestimable.

However, those of us in, and close to, the business know that it's highly
unlikely that any of the $1M winners have ever actually walked away with
that, even *before* the no-doubt stunning tax consequences.

For Binion's to publish the actual prize distribution would ipso facto mean
telling the world that nobody *really* won $1M, that the last 4-5 folks sat
down and worked something out, and then the last 2-3 folks sat down and
worked something out.

And Sports Illustrated would probably decide that maybe poker was more like
Professional Wrestling than it was like, say, the PGA, and not call.

I guess my point is that we're all big boys and girls here; none of this
should be particularly surprising.

Regards, Lee
--
Lee Jones | "Shoop shoop - deedle leedle leet -
le...@sgi.com | Freeze Frame..."
415-933-3356 | -J. Geils Band

Dave Horwitz

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

Steve Brecher (st...@brecher.reno.nv.us) wrote:

: integrity of the WSOP thus: I've played four events so far in this WSOP
: and expect to play another one or two; I have no partners nor backers.
^^^^^^^^^^^
I'm behind you Steve! Don't forget that $100 bill I took out of circulation
with yours (and a couple of other people's) signature on it. I'll assume
that the "one or two" more events might include the big dance?

-Quick

ChiOralGuy

unread,
May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

Let's not make this discussion about a women's issue, though women are
indeed discriminated against, at the poker table as in the rest of
society.

Instead, this issue is about the integriety of the game of poker. It
amazing to me that Linda Johnson can go on and on about how poker should
become "America's Sport" and get corporate sponsership and TV coverage --
but she is not outraged about this.

Wouldn't the last table heads-up play have been scintillating to watch on
ESPN? What ratings, eh, Linda?

It would have been like watching the Bulls vs. the Rockets in Game 7, and
watching the Suns win 200-0, because "an arrangement" had been made by the
teams.

Shame on poker and shame on all the apologists who defend this farce.

russell rosenblum

unread,
May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

In article
<steve-09059...@87.san-francisco-006.ca.dial-access.att.net>,
st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher) wrote:

> "Oliver Lawrence" <oli...@isat.com> wrote:
>
> > [Background: WSOP titles, and the coveted Binion's gold bracelets
> > that accompany them, are available for sale. A deal can be
> > worked out between the finalists as to who wins, and how much
> > will be paid to the various participants.


First I just want to say that my first impression of Oliver's post was
that Max Stern had literally bribed every entree in the event. Of course I
found this ludicrous. When I later realized that this was just some sort
of alleged deal between two players it made more sense.

Regarding Max Stern, he has no relavance at all. Whether or not Max helped
make a deal, is of no consequence, and I understand why many of the woman
on the group are upset.

Next I think Maria deserves vast congratualtions, and recognition just for
reaching the final table, much less winning (or finishing second if a
bizarre deal was made).

Reality check: deals are present in every major tournament. From what I
understand this includes the tournament held in the Taj Majal where deals
are prohibitted. The fact that Binions oversees deals is to be commended
because it addresses the reality of big tournament poker, and (imho) even
more importantly, discourages collusion, and taking advantage of a player.
If I were at a finial table with Hellmuth, Sunar, and Seed, I would
certainly want to know that a member of the binions staff would oversee
negotiations between the four of us. Otherwise It would be very likely the
three of them would be standing in a room negotiating without me.

One should not forget that poker is a business. Unlike golf, and tenniss,
Poker is a business without sponserships, and without appearance fees for
attending events. If a player has to put up his entree fee himself, he is
entitled to protect that investment as best he can, a deal may be that
method.

I have been in many small tournaments (including one just last week),
where one of the people making a deal insisted that he be called the
winner. The other 3 of us were more concerned about the money do it was
fine with us. I have used this leverage on people before when making
deals, sometimes it is effective sometimes it is not. The difference of
course is that we stop playing, so there is no "tanking" of an event.

By the way an easy way to have made an arrangement like the one suggested,
without ever suggesting a tank could go something like this:

"Lets split it up evenly, and leave 20k and the bracelet to play for"
"No, I think I deserve 200k and you should get 100k"
"Well I really want to win that bracelet, so we have to keep playing"
"Okay since the bracelet seems to have a value, why don't we just play out
the tournament, and say the winner gets 100k and the bracelet, and loser
gets 200k and no bracelet. This way we will both be happy regardless of
where we finish

"deal"

I am not even sure if Binions could veto this deal on any reasonable
grounds. It is fair to both parties. I mean if I were in a super sat, I
would rather win 5k in transferable tokens, than a "must play" wsop buy
in, even if that "must play" were worth 10K.

Jon Wetzel

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May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to

This is stupid rumor mongering. I have been at the WSOP and also have seen
Max And Maria Stern Around LV for years. This is the first I have heard of
it this and really you should have a little better then simple here say
before you go slandering people in a public forum.
Marie Stern is a very capable player. you really should keep your bullshit
to your self.
Jon Wetzel
J...@pokerCentral.com
www.PokerCentral.com

Oliver Lawrence <oli...@isat.com> wrote in article
<5kp225$1gq$2...@news1.snfc21.pacbell.net>...


>
> Tonight a friend told me of a reported scandal that, if true, will
further
> damage
> what little integrity remains in big-dollar poker tournaments.
>
> He said that Maria Stern's husband "bought" her the WSOP championship
> she reportedly won. My friend said that Stern paid everyone involved to
> fold to his
> wife at any and every feasible turn. And while that may sound
incredible,
>
> check out Tom Sims' hand-by-hand record and see what you think.
>
> It shows that Stern won 17 of the first 18 hands played, heads up. And
> when

> the series of, umm, wins began, she was at a three-to-one chip
> disadvantage.
> Okay. Sure. I believe that.
>
> Another, oh, oddity: They played 48 hands heads-up. Guess how many
> show-downs?
> One, the final hand. I believe that was on the up-and-up, too. And
> Santa Claus will
> side down my chimney this December 25th.
>
> My friend is not a flake or rumor monger. He's a twenty-year
professional
> player
> who props at a local casino. He said that Jack Binion was enraged when
> he found out what happened. So enraged that he told Jack McClelland he
> wouldn't
> be invited back if it ever happened again.
>
> Thank you Tom Sims for recording the, oh, what should we call it, a
game?;
> yeah, that sounds
> right. Without your efforts, the Sterns might actually be thought of as
a
> champions, instead
> of (you fill in the blank).
>

> World Championship. Sure. If women want respect, maybe they should try


to
> earn it -- not

RIM

unread,
May 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/9/97
to
I dicussed the above accusations with a knowledgeable poker insider who
told me Max Stern told the second place finisher that he wanted his wife
to win the title and negotiated a deal so she would win.There was no
intimation that anyone else but the second place finisher was involved.

Calks

unread,
May 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/10/97
to

In article <5kth81$dq5$1...@news4.snfc21.pacbell.net>, "Oliver Lawrence"
<oli...@isat.com> writes:

>[Background: WSOP titles, and the coveted Binion's gold bracelets
>that accompany them, are available for sale. A deal can be
>worked out between the finalists as to who wins, and how much
>will be paid to the various participants.

> Some of the newsgroup members feel this wrong and should be
>against the rules of the tournament; while others feel that
>there is nothing wrong with this practise, and it does nothing
>to tarnish the WSOP's reputation.]
>
>

Without knowing anything else about the "Stern Scandal" than what I've
read in this newsgroup, I think the first paragraph of Oliver's
description of the background of the thread is wrong. The titles and
bracelets are not for sale. That is what has been ALLEGED to have
happened in this instance, but to say in the background summary of the
thread that is has happened is misleasding.

Yes, deals are commonly struck at the final table of this and most major
tournaments, but that is a lot different than saying you can buy a title
if you want it. Just getting to the final table of any major tournament,
much less a WSOP event, is a major accomplishment and one which is
achieved by only a small handful of the country's poker players. Again,
I know nothing about what might have transpired in the "Stern Scandal,"
but I find it unlikely that a title was "bought."
Jeff Calkins

Keysmark

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May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to

Novice wrote:
>
> Please write in plain english .. Instead of the HTML english ..
> Former is good for readability
>

I am sending this to see if I fixed my problem. Seems my last msg went
out in HTML format. I had just switched to Netscape Communicator from
Navigator.

Keysmark

Gene Wilson

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May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to


russell rosenblum <rus...@worldweb.net> wrote in article <russell-


> One should not forget that poker is a business. Unlike golf, and tenniss,
> Poker is a business without sponserships, and without appearance fees for
> attending events. If a player has to put up his entree fee himself, he is
> entitled to protect that investment as best he can, a deal may be that
> method.
>

Hi Russell,
I believe that in golf and tennis the players must pay their own entry
fee to the tournament, although there may be appearance fees for some. But
do you really think there would be individual sponsors in golf or tennis
if, instead of playing the finals in tennis, or the last round in a golf
tournament, they made a secret deal instead? No way! That is the most
exciting part of any sporting event, the final rounds. That is what draws
the biggest audience and the most ratings. You take this away, along with
the fact that in poker deals are made without the public's knowledge making
it look like collusion at best and something underhanded at worst, and I
doubt that poker will ever have big corporate sponsors. At least if the
deals are made public the appearance of collusion disappears. Since most of
the public are enthralled with conspiracy theories of any and all kinds, is
it any wonder with secret deals that the public generally looks at poker
with a jaundiced eye? I do not believe that any responsible business can
afford to get mixed up in this kind of publicity, too much chance for a
black eye in the PR department. Do you think Nike would have handed over
$40 million to Tiger Woods if he had made a secret deal in each tourney he
played in? I think not. Maybe if the poker tourney world cleaned up its act
a little then they would get corporate sponsors. Any other opinions on
this? :)

Gene

Chiefchill

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May 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/11/97
to

It seems to me that rumors hurt poker more than deals. I heard a rumor
that Chan made a deal with Phil Helmuth when Phil won his
$10,000 NL World Series. He gave chan $100,000 to play A7 against his
9's. so he could be the youngest player ever to win.

Now doesn't that sound ridiculous, or does it?


Chill

Then God created Poker and said it was Good.

Aloha,

Chiefchill (John Scigliano)


Paul R. Pudaite

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May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

In article <5l028j$5...@fido.asd.sgi.com>, le...@diver.asd.sgi.com (Lee
Jones) wrote:

> Yep. But let's face facts. One of the big draws of the WSOP is that it's
> a MILLION DOLLAR poker tournament. I remember reading about Dan Harrington
> in some in-flight magazine, saying that he was a millionaire, thanks to his
> WSOP win. Etc. Etc. The PR value of that Million Dollar first prize is
> almost inestimable.
>
> However, those of us in, and close to, the business know that it's highly
> unlikely that any of the $1M winners have ever actually walked away with
> that, even *before* the no-doubt stunning tax consequences.

I've heard that Jim Bechtel got it all. The reason was because no
deal had been made when he and John Bonetti were the big stacks and
Glenn Cozen was very short stacked. Then instead of Cozen busting
out 3rd, Bonetti moved in against Bechtel's set. So now Cozen is
virtually all in, and again there's no reason to deal.

P.S. The tax consequences need not be completely stunning. I'm sure
poker players can take advantage of a 401-k plan or whatever the
self-employed equivalent is. (Yeah, right! :-)

Paul R. Pudaite
pud...@pipeline.com

Zagie

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May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

In article <5ktl0i$o96$1...@shell3.ba.best.com>, hay...@shell3.ba.best.com
(Charles Haynes) writes:

>If I were heads up at a final table and someone offered a deal where I
>got most of the money but they got the title, I'd consider it as just
>another deal - not "selling the title."

Call it what you want, but if it looks like a duck, and it quacks
like a duck . . .

You can tell me that I don't know how the big tournaments work,
but I do: The title often gets sold near the end. I had thought that
this seemed an OK thing until this thread came up, and now I
understand how very wrong this is.

The argument is that it took skill to get here, but the end of
a tournament is mostly luck. Guess what happens when there
are two fairly evenly matched football teams and they go into
sudden death overtime? Do you really think the eventual
victory demonstrates that one team really was slightly better
than the other. Of course not! On the other hand, what if
you had a few hundred riding on the outcome of the game,
and found out that they had made a 'deal' just before the
overtime, in which your team, in title, lost? Would your
bookie refund your money?

Tell me, again, how a poker tournament is different? Do you
think there is any chance that anyone had some money
riding on Adam Roberts winning?

==================================
In article
<steve-07059...@193.san-francisco-006.ca.dial-access.att.net>,
st...@brecher.reno.nv.us (Steve Brecher) writes:

>I have mixed feelings about pre-arranging a result, but it should be
noted
>that such a deal does not compromise the money interest of anyone not a
>party to the agreement.

Please re-read my last paragraph.

==================================
In article <JBURNS.97...@wildcat.monmouth.com>, jbu...@monmouth.com
(Jazbo Burns) writes:

> If deal making
>happens (as it obviously does), Binions insists that the deal be made
>under their sanction. I feel that the deals should be public


>knowledge and that the actual prize monies won should be noted,
>especially in calculating lifetime WSOP earnings. Otherwise, this
>statistic is meaningless.

I agree completely. Furthermore, they should limit the sorts of
deals that are made to where they never ruin the incentive to
win. In other words, the deal makers might decide to flatten
the payoff curve somewhat, but never to where one finisher
makes less money than someone who finished below him/her.

This, if done completely above-board, could be accepted.
Still, imagine it in the super bowl:

"As we head into sudden-death overtime, we have learned
that the teams have made a deal. Instead of each winning
player receiving $100k and each losing player receiving
$50k, every player will recieve $75k and they are just
playing for the rings and the glory."

Feh!

Regards,
Zag


David Monaghan

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May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

On Tue, 6 May 1997 21:54:09 -0700, "Oliver Lawrence"
<oli...@isat.com> wrote:

>
>Tonight a friend told me of a reported scandal that, if true, will further
>damage what little integrity remains in big-dollar poker tournaments.
>
>He said that Maria Stern's husband "bought" her the WSOP championship
> she reportedly won. My friend said that Stern paid everyone involved to
>fold to his wife

I don't want to pour petrol ( gas ) on this fire but David Spanier
reported ( in " The Independent " ) on two instances of this happening
last year. In both cases the buyer was well ahead on chips but made a
disproportionately good deal on the prize money to assure themselves
of the title. I can't give chapter and verse on this but if anyone has
access to the back issues he names the player paid off. His column
appears in the tabloid section under games, currently on Fridays but
may have been the Thursday edition at the time.

DaveM

russell rosenblum

unread,
May 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/12/97
to

I think any legitimate sponser would require that their players not engage
in deal making. I think if poker had sponsers than deal making would end.
It is impractical to end deal making before sponserships begin. As for
making deals there was a triple crown race once ( I can't recall if it was
the derby, preakness, or belmont), where a jockey (I think shoemaker)
agreed to splt the purse with another jockey. This agreement was made
after the race ended, but before the results were posted. The race was so
close neither jockey was certain who won. Look at the Tiger Woods example
from another viewpoint. If he had no sponsership and was tied before
teeing off the 18th. If first place paid $200,000 and second paid $50,000.
Would it really be that unreasonable to say "okay $100,000 each, and play
this hole for $50,000." I know it sounds awful, but if there are no
sponserships, then these people's livlihoods depend on this decision, and
I think a deal is reasonable.

Gene Wilson

unread,
May 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/13/97
to

Hi Russell,
I cannot feel sorry for people who think that a mere $50,000 second
place prize will destroy their livelihood, and I do not believe there are
many people who would. If Tiger and another golfer did that, even without
sponsors, I think the golfing world would be quite upset! As would the
sporting world in general, as it is not a _sporting_ thing to do. How about
the TV audience? I bet there would be all sorts of letters and complaints
about it. It is awful and it is unreasonable, and I do not think it would
be done in golf, even if there were no sponsors. Who the hell is going to
feel sorry for someone because he *only* made $50,000 for second place?
Just my thoughts.... :)

Gene

russell rosenblum <rus...@worldweb.net> wrote in article

<russell-1205...@russell.worldweb.net>...

Calks

unread,
May 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/14/97
to

In article <01bc5fbc$29171440$6732b4cd@default>, "Gene Wilson" <(your
EMail I.D.)@cybertrails.com> writes:

>I cannot feel sorry for people who think that a mere $50,000 second
>place prize will destroy their livelihood, and I do not believe there are
>many people who would. If Tiger and another golfer did that, even without
>sponsors, I think the golfing world would be quite upset! As would the
>sporting world in general, as it is not a _sporting_ thing to do. How
about
>the TV audience?

I think there are three major differences between golf and poker which
explain why dealmaking at the end would be improper in golf, but is okay
in poker. The first two differences have to do with money and the last
has to do with the importance of skill. In golf, sponsors put up prize
money and charge admission to spectators to watch the event. Spectators
would feel rightfully cheated if there was a deal made in the last round;
they are paying to watch the players fight it out. Poker tournaments are
different, since they are player-funded, I think the surviving players
have a right to decide how the money is divided, and since spectators have
not paid to watch the match, I don't think their concerns need to be given
too much weight. Finally, the short-term luck factor at the end of the
tournments gives players a logical reason to make a deal. In poker, a run
of bad cards combined with high antes/blinds can quickly wipe out the most
skillful player whereas in golf the outcome will be determined totally by
skill. I think concerns about partners or soft-playing are valid, but
dealmaking per se is okay.

Jeff Calkins

Jeffrey B. Siegal

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

In article <19970514155...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, ca...@aol.com

(Calks) wrote:
> In golf, sponsors put up prize
> money and charge admission to spectators to watch the event. Spectators
> would feel rightfully cheated if there was a deal made in the last round;
> they are paying to watch the players fight it out. Poker tournaments are
> different, since they are player-funded, I think the surviving players
> have a right to decide how the money is divided, and since spectators have
> not paid to watch the match, I don't think their concerns need to be given
> too much weight.

There is a small exception: The WSOP Championship event. In that event,
the players put up all of the prize money, but Binions runs the event at
great expense without charging the players anything. This is a form of
sponsorship. Binions gains a great deal of exposure from the "$1 million
poker world championship" that boosts their prestige and business both
during the WSOP and year-round. If the WSOP were widely perceived to be
on par with professional wrestling, I doubt Binions would benefit so
greatly from being associated with it.

> Finally, the short-term luck factor at the end of the
> tournments gives players a logical reason to make a deal. In poker, a run
> of bad cards combined with high antes/blinds can quickly wipe out the most
> skillful player whereas in golf the outcome will be determined totally by
> skill.

I don't buy that. There is a lot of luck in golf as in any sports
contest. It is not possible for any human being to control physical
entities (balls) to such a degree that their is no luck element in the
outcome. Tiger Woods can play his very best golf, land more than his
share of bad lies, and still lose.

Every sport has outcomes that are determined partially by luck, and in
which the skill difference between players is relatively small (batting
averages in baseball, shooting percentages in basketball, etc.)

--
Jeffrey B. Siegal
Quiotix Corporation
+1 415 782-6012
http://www.quiotix.com

Edmund C. Hack

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

In article <pudaite-1205...@ip129.las-vegas2.nevada.pub-ip.psi.net>,

Paul R. Pudaite <pud...@pipeline.com> wrote:
>P.S. The tax consequences need not be completely stunning. I'm sure
>poker players can take advantage of a 401-k plan or whatever the
>self-employed equivalent is. (Yeah, right! :-)

That would be a Keogh. You can put in up to 25% of your self-employment
income each year, with a max contribution of $30k. Details on how to do
this can be found at major brokerages. 401(k) plans are only open to
corporations.


--
ech...@crl.com / Edmund Hack, Houston, TX
"In the spaceship, the silver spaceship, the lion takes control." - TMBG

Lee Jones

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

In article <5lfa3n$9...@crl.crl.com>, Edmund C. Hack <ech...@crl.com> wrote:
>In article <pudaite-1205...@ip129.las-vegas2.nevada.pub-ip.psi.net>,
>Paul R. Pudaite <pud...@pipeline.com> wrote:
>>P.S. The tax consequences need not be completely stunning. I'm sure
>>poker players can take advantage of a 401-k plan or whatever the
>>self-employed equivalent is. (Yeah, right! :-)
>
>That would be a Keogh. You can put in up to 25% of your self-employment
>income each year, with a max contribution of $30k. Details on how to do
>this can be found at major brokerages. 401(k) plans are only open to
>corporations.

Actually, didn't Jack Keller win a big suit against the IRS? He wanted to
have a Keogh, they said "you don't have a profession", he went to court with
it, and said "Look here at my brief case and my record of playing a zillion
hours each year, and my buy-ins and how much money I win blah blah blah" and
the court ruled in his favor.

Regards, Lee
--
Lee Jones | "Born at the instant The church bells chime,
le...@sgi.com | And the whole world whispering Born at the right time."
415-933-3356 | -Paul Simon

Winner777

unread,
May 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/15/97
to

<<< My friend is not a flake or rumor monger. He's a twenty-year
professional
player who props at a local casino. He said that Jack Binion was enraged
when
he found out what happened. So enraged that he told Jack McClelland he
wouldn't be invited back if it ever happened again. >>>

You have got to be kidding? Think about what you are saying. The
tournament director has the right to tell you how to play your hand, and
if he doesn't, Jack Binion will fire him. Now how can this be right.

If the story is true, oh well, this is a direct result of allowing deal
making. Remember months ago, when I said that there should be no deal
making allowed at the final table. I said that there should be a break
when the final table is reached, there is now, it starts the next day. It
is hard to deal 9 handed. I believe that everybody including, Steve
Brecker did not agree. You can't have it both ways. If you are in favor of
deal making, you have no bitch when stuff like this happens. It will
definitely happen one day when a women makes it to the final two or three
of the big one. The first women to win the big one will be world
famous.With third place being more than half of first, what do think is
going to happen. She will get to be on talk shows, etc.... and bask in her
phony glory.

Ed Hill

Zagie

unread,
May 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/16/97
to
(Calks) writes:

>Poker tournaments are
>different, since they are player-funded

DING!!! You've hit the nail on the head. And as long as
they maintain this difference (that is, deal-making), poker
tournaments will REMAIN player-funded. No sponsorship,
no media, no spectators, no extra money coming into
the pool from any other source.

If the players would, instead, like to see some money
other than their own brought into this pool, they should
try to change the status quo, and do away with deal-
making, or at least bring it above board and set
parameters for it. Done right, this could make even
more exciting the occasional tournament where a
player refuses to deal.

Regards,
Zag


Jeffrey B. Siegal

unread,
May 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/16/97
to

In article <19970515194...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,
winn...@aol.com (Winner777) wrote:

> You have got to be kidding? Think about what you are saying. The
> tournament director has the right to tell you how to play your hand, and
> if he doesn't, Jack Binion will fire him. Now how can this be right.

Hmm. So you are saying that they tournament director shouldn't have a
right to tell participants to compete reasonably and not to "take a
dive?" That doesn't seem right either.

Jim Geary

unread,
May 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/16/97
to

It was posited here that deals were being made at probably every
final table at the WSOP save one. I wonder if one was made at
THE final table. There were three short stacks and Stu had a
commanding lead, the perfect recipe for no deal. Last year, it
was posted here that they had clearly made a deal and Huck Seed
came out of the office (")visibly relieved("). What up this year?

Nevada

unread,
May 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/17/97
to

This year Huck Seed wasn't even invited into the office.


:-)


HitTheFlop

unread,
May 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/17/97
to

In article <russell-1205...@russell.worldweb.net>,
rus...@worldweb.net (russell rosenblum) writes:

>Look at the Tiger Woods example
>from another viewpoint. If he had no sponsership and was tied before
>teeing off the 18th. If first place paid $200,000 and second paid
$50,000.
>Would it really be that unreasonable to say "okay $100,000 each, and play
>this hole for $50,000." I know it sounds awful, but if there are no
>sponserships, then these people's livlihoods depend on this decision, and
>I think a deal is reasonable.

I've seen this golf analogy used several times and I have no reason to
believe that this is not happening in professional golf. I would expect
some players to trade a share of their action with others in order to
reduce the up's and down's of top heavy tournament pay structure.

Best Luck
Ed

Dan Kimberg

unread,
May 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/18/97
to

HitTheFlop (hitth...@aol.com) wrote:
: I've seen this golf analogy used several times and I have no reason to

: believe that this is not happening in professional golf. I would expect
: some players to trade a share of their action with others in order to
: reduce the up's and down's of top heavy tournament pay structure.

I already gave a few reasons to believe it doesn't happen that often
in pro golf. The biggest one is that the difference in pay between
first and second place in most golf tournaments is not that great.
Something like $200,000 at the Masters, but it's not always that much.
Why would a player good enough to win the Masters risk their
reputation, their sponsorships, their tour status, etc., just to avoid
that relatively small amount of variance?

For those few pro golfers who get to this position and do have some
reason to care about the variance, playing honestly for the title is
still important, as titles have intrinsic non-transferable value, both
because the winner is exempt from qualifying for a while (2 years?)
and because winning increases a golfer's visibility much more than
coming in second does.

The relevance of this is that, unlike golf, tournament poker is a
world in which titles per se mean very little. They have almost no
intrinsic value, and even players who get satisfaction from
accomplishment rather than money recognize that the difference between
first and second place is often due much more to luck than to skill.
Currently there's nothing in place that would make a poker player
really want to play his/her best for the title independently of the
money. I think this is a difference between a sport/game that can
move merchandise and one that can't.

dan

TOM SIMS

unread,
May 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/18/97
to


Jim Geary (jay...@primenet.com.deletethis) wrote:

: It was posited here that deals were being made at probably every
: final table at the WSOP save one. I wonder if one was made at
: THE final table. There were three short stacks and Stu had a
: commanding lead, the perfect recipe for no deal. Last year, it
: was posted here that they had clearly made a deal and Huck Seed
: came out of the office (")visibly relieved("). What up this year?


I do not believe that any deals were made this year.


Tom Sims

Measure with a micrometer * mark with chalk * cut with an axe

... Turtle Tom ... Live From Las Vegas ...


Shirley Woo & King Yao

unread,
May 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/18/97
to

HitTheFlop wrote:
>
> In article <russell-1205...@russell.worldweb.net>,
> rus...@worldweb.net (russell rosenblum) writes:
>
> >Look at the Tiger Woods example
> >from another viewpoint. If he had no sponsership and was tied before
> >teeing off the 18th. If first place paid $200,000 and second paid
> $50,000.
> >Would it really be that unreasonable to say "okay $100,000 each, and play
> >this hole for $50,000." I know it sounds awful, but if there are no
> >sponserships, then these people's livlihoods depend on this decision, and
> >I think a deal is reasonable.
>
> I've seen this golf analogy used several times and I have no reason to
> believe that this is not happening in professional golf. I would expect
> some players to trade a share of their action with others in order to
> reduce the up's and down's of top heavy tournament pay structure.
>
> Best Luck
> Ed


Anyone know the actual percentage distributions in golf?
Is it similar to poker where as much as 40% go the the winner, or
is it more evenly distributed?

Thanks.

Scot Wolfington

unread,
May 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/19/97
to

I remember a few years back when several (5 or so) prominent senior pga
tour players were doing this exact thing. They were reprimanded by the
Tour pretty severely. I have no way of knowing but doubt that is going on
now.

Scot Wolfington
Wolfdog

HitTheFlop wrote in article <19970517084...@ladder02.news.aol.com>
...

Scot Wolfington

unread,
May 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/19/97
to

Scot Wolfington

unread,
May 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/19/97
to

Dave Horwitz

unread,
May 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/19/97
to

HitTheFlop (hitth...@aol.com) wrote:
: In article <russell-1205...@russell.worldweb.net>,
: rus...@worldweb.net (russell rosenblum) writes:

: >Look at the Tiger Woods example
: >from another viewpoint. If he had no sponsership and was tied before
: >teeing off the 18th. If first place paid $200,000 and second paid
: $50,000.
: >Would it really be that unreasonable to say "okay $100,000 each, and play
: >this hole for $50,000." I know it sounds awful, but if there are no
: >sponserships, then these people's livlihoods depend on this decision, and
: >I think a deal is reasonable.

: I've seen this golf analogy used several times and I have no reason to


: believe that this is not happening in professional golf. I would expect
: some players to trade a share of their action with others in order to
: reduce the up's and down's of top heavy tournament pay structure.

:

Ummm... it *may* be happening but not without great risk to the participants.
The PGA strictly forbids this and has made it crystal clear that if caught,
the participants will, without exception, get what amounts to a pro golf
death sentence.

-Quick

Steve Zolotow

unread,
May 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/19/97
to

Jim Geary <jay...@primenet.com.deletethis> wrote:

>It was posited here that deals were being made at probably every
>final table at the WSOP save one. I wonder if one was made at
>THE final table. There were three short stacks and Stu had a
>commanding lead, the perfect recipe for no deal. Last year, it
>was posted here that they had clearly made a deal and Huck Seed
>came out of the office (")visibly relieved("). What up this year?

No deal was made in the Deuce to Seven Tourn (and probably many others
as well). Why? Lyle has so much money, that any amount won in a
tournament is trivial to him and he has no incentive to make a deal.
Johnny has so much poker ego that he feels he is much better than any
of the other players, therefore it is not is his best interest to make
a deal. (I hope Johnny forgives me for stating he has a lot of poker
ego, but perhaps I should add that it is justified by skills and
results.) Lastly, I have a policy of not making deals (this includes
settlements in backgammon, insurance in huge no limit poker pots,
etc.) unless I think I'm getting the best of the deal (more than my
equity,)

I am puzzled that so many people care so much about the making of
deals. It seems to me that there are certain final tables, like ours
above, where the players are at least relatively prosperous, and are
quite willing to gamble. There are other cases though in which the
difference between let's say a 1st and 5th is of major consequence to
someone's life. It seems ridiculous to tell a player who scraped
together enough to enter a satellite and whose net worth is negative
that he can't hedge or negotiate a less top heavy distribution of the
prize money.
In most cases a three player deal shifts some of the money from first
to third, with second remaining about the same. The players then
continue playing for title, the braclet, and a smaller amount of cash
than was originally to be contested for. I don't think there is any
reason not post the actual split of the prize money, except perhaps
that it seems more exciting to read that someone won a million.
I am curious how many of the readers/posters who object to deals would
feel the same way when faced with a high ante/blind shootout that
might last from 10 minutes to an hour for a sum that might equal
several years salary and provide a complete change of lifestyle. It
certainly has no effect on the players already eliminated, and none of
the finalists is required to make a deal if he would rather gamble.
In high stake no limit and pot limit games, when all the money has
gone in with cards to come, it is common to make deals, take insurance
or divide the pot into two or more subpots, each of which will be
dealt for separately. No one seems to find this objectionable.
Yes changing the payout scale to reward each money finish slightly
more than the more below would probably end deal making. There does
seem to be a trend to paying more places and making each payout closer
to the one just better and just worse. Is this a good trend? Might
it not lead to a tournament with 200 entrants playing till 100 are
gone and then letting everyone double their money? To me it almost
seems insulting to pay so many places that low money finishers get
back slightly more that their entrance fee. There should be the
possibility of a big reward for finishing first, for those players who
want to play for it all because they think they are the best and
they're not afraid to gamble. There should also be the possibility
of making a deal for those who are overjoyed to have gotten so far and
who don't want to gamble for as much as the difference in prizes. It
seems to me that maintaining a top heavy structure and allowing deals
is as close as we can come to the best of both worlds. (Yes, let
anyone who's interested know what the deal was, but publicize the
posted winning amounts.)


-Zee

I am a big believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have.
Thomas Jefferson


User957094

unread,
May 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/21/97
to

I think people are missing the point regarding what some of us are finding
objectionable here. I don't think anyone has a problem with players at the
final
table deciding to redistibute the prize money in a manner that they agree
is
more equitable given luck factors, personal finances, ...etc. What some of
us
are taken aback by is the BUYING of the championship and the AGREEING
TO TAKE A DIVE on the part of one of the competitors!! This brings the
WSOP
to the level of PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! Maybe thats ok with some people
but I think most poker players not only dream of winning a large amount of
money
but also the TITLE. If that wasn't the case then why did the Sterns
apparently
pay close to 200K for a 10K gold bracelet? I suspect that the title meant
more to
Mrs. Stern than the prize money.

Mark Wright


Robert Copps

unread,
May 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/22/97
to

In article <19970521063...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,

user9...@aol.com (User957094) writes:
>
> What some of us are taken aback by is the BUYING of the championship and
> the AGREEING TO TAKE A DIVE on the part of one of the competitors!! This
> brings the WSOP to the level of PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! Maybe thats ok
> with some people but I think most poker players not only dream of winning
> a large amount of money but also the TITLE.
>


Most poker players know that the guy who won the money won the game.
Moreover, poker players who play for money will always be happy to play
with people who just want titles. We'll call them "Your Majesty", as long
as we get the loot.

--Bob

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