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2012 WSOP First Week Characterized by Controversy

The 2012 World Series of Poker has gotten off to a rocky start leading some high-profile players like Brian Hastings to conclude they’ll play fewer events at this year’s series.

Despite being its ninth year running the WSOP, the staff at Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s) have shown multiple instances of incompetence so far this series.

Verbal Declaration Rule Leads to Unprofessional Retweet

In Event #5: $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em, a new rule was announced at the final table: participants must verbally declare all of their action. Daniel Negreanu, who was present at the table before busting in 5th place, more or less refused to acknowledge the rule which was created for the benefit of viewers of WSOP’s live stream of the final table. After Negreanu busted, Caesars officials informed the remaining four players that if they didn’t obey the rule they would receive a one-orbit penalty.

This did not sit well with poker pro Jon Aguiar (‘FatalError’ online) who after enjoying the spoils of his 3rd place finish took to Twitter to express his displeasure about the way Caesars staff handled the final table (read from the bottom up):

In an interview with QuadJacks the following day, Aguiar made several more great points about why the rule should be removed. He also discussed a highly controversial retweet made by Seth Palansky via the WSOP corporate Twitter account.

Palansky has since admitted to using the @WSOP account to retweet someone calling Aguiar a “bitch” for his complaints. The tweet remained up for at least a couple of days but has since been removed. Here is how it appeared:

Palansky apologized for using the @WSOP account to retweet the claim of Aguiar being a “bitch” saying that he should have used his personal account instead. As of yesterday, he was still employed by Caesars.

$1,500 No Limit Re-Entry Debacle

Eleven players were disqualified yesterday from Day 1B of Event #9, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry. The event permitted players who busted out on Day 1A to re-enter on Day 1B. However, due to some confusion on the part of Caesars’ staff, eleven players re-entered on Day 1B after having already busted out that day.

Among them were poker pro Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla who was accused of being a scumbag by some people for having re-entered the tournament. Failla took to Twitter to clear his name:

Several other top pros corroborated Failla’s claim stating that he would have never re-entered the event had he known it was not permitted to do so while others insisted he most definitely knew what he was doing.

Caesars is offering a refund to any player who can verify through Rio’s video surveillance that they were busted out by one of the eleven disqualified players. However, if you lost 99% of your stack to them and busted the remaining 1% to someone else, tough luck.

Once again, the blame in this situation again seems to lie on Caesars management for its mishandling of the re-entry situation.

Rundown of Other Gripes

Poker players have never been short of things to complain about, but many of the grievances aired against Caesars so far at the 2012 WSOP seem to be pretty legitimate. Here’s a quick summary of a few other situations that have caused a stir in the first week of this year’s series:

  • Players being turned away at registration of Event #3: $3,000 Heads-Up NLHE/PLO and then half of the field being awarded a first-round bye but not before waiting around for over an hour to receive news of their fortune.
  • Female participants having a challenging situation during bathroom breaks due to Caesars having converted nearly all nearby women’s restrooms into men’s restrooms.
  • The new ChipTic player tracking software used this year malfunctioning during Event #5 which caused play to remain six- or seven-handed for extended periods of time while officials scrambled to implement an alternative method for monitoring players and breaking tables.
  • Russ Hamilton championship banner re-appearing in the Amazon Room.
  • All-American Dave” facing resistance from Caesars officials when delivering meals via his healthy-food catering service that dozens of poker pros have subscribed to this year.

Amid these problems, Aguiar has channeled the spirit of various world protests to remind Caesars and the poker community who matters most at the World Series of Poker:


To conclude on a lighter note, congrats to friend-of-PokerTips Leif Force for winning his first WSOP bracelet in Event #3: $3,000 Heads-Up NLHE/PLO!


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