Random Travel

The Rio’s Rake for the WSOP and the Poor Value of Event #53

The main event of the World Series of Poker is underway. A total of 6,420 entrants paid the $10,000 fee to hit the felt this year. I’m not vying for the coveted bracelet, unfortunately, as I was $9,975 short of my entry fee. Participant numbers have seemingly leveled off since the 2006 high of 8,770. 8 of the 9 previous main event tournaments had fields of less than 7,000 entrants. The winner of this year’s bracelet will take home $7,680,021. Players looking to just get in the money need to at least place in the top 1000. 649th – 1000th place will each gross $15,000 of the $60,348,000 prize pool.

Math wizards may be curious about the remaining $3.8 million, considering the total amount of cash in the gate is about $64 million. The WSOP is similar to any other casino tournament in that the host takes money out for entry fees. In the case of the Main Event, 6% is withheld. 1.8%, or $1,155,600, is allocated for “tournament staff”. I’d love to see how that is divided. The remaining 4.2%, $2,696,000, is deducted and marked “entry fees”. It obviously costs a lot of money to host such a large scale event, but how that’s apportioned is a complete mystery to me.

Keep in mind that this fee structure, relatively speaking, is not a bad deal. Small stakes tournaments you’d find in any Vegas casino have anywhere from 10% to 20% withheld. The size of these fees are an important consideration if you’re looking to play in a tournament or two; it can have a large effect on the value of your play and time. PokerAtlas is a great source to find the best structure for your budget.

Making the right value play is important while gambling, especially when playing poker. So, what’s one of the worst values in the 2015 WSOP event schedule? That potentially could have been playing in event #53, the Ladies Texas Hold’em Championship. Now, it’s not necessarily a poor value play if you’re a woman. It would have been a pretty bad play if you’re a man. Yes, according to the WSOP FAQ, men can play in the ladies tournament. The entry fee for event #53 was $10,000. However, women received a 90% discount on that fee. Thus, making their cover cost a cool $1,000. This year, in order for a male player to win the equivalent of their entry, they would have at least had to have made it to the final table.  And you thought the clubs were the kings of price discrimination.
Any WSOP or poker tournament thoughts? Let me know!

Feature photo: “Dealers” by Gene Bromberg via CC sa/2.0

About the author


Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.