Epic Fail: Overlay Fiasco at Westgate HPT Event Has Players Fuming

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  • Fine print points out that three-hundred entries would force event organizers to kick in $5,000 in added cash, prompting casino to announce half price deal after tournament was already underway
  • Matt Barkley calls Westgate's 50% buy-in promo "exploitive"
  • Chris Moneymaker refers to fiasco as a complete "cluster f***"

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Some players reportedly entered the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) event at the Westgate paying only half the price due to low turnout, according to reports.

Ultimately a field of 329 players was tallied competing for what they thought to be a $500K guarantee.  Tournament fine print suggested otherwise.

"Guarantees will not be offered for Event #7 with less than 300 entries."

Three-hundred entries would force event organizers to kick in $5,000 in added cash, as well as move about $60,000 over from the collected rake and staff fees, PokerNews.com pointed out:

The buy-in breakdown indicated $1,440 from each entry would go to the prize pool, meaning the event needed 347 entries to meet the prize pool guarantee and still collect the full amount of rake and fees. Any number between 303 and 347 would essentially mean reduced rake for the players who fired in the event.

In an effort to bolster the player participation, Westgate blasted an announcement over the loudspeakers that folks could now enter at halfprice.  This came after the majority paid in full.

Poker player Darren Rabinowitz said he was “extremely irritated” that he paid twice as much as some other players while fellow pro David Barker griped via Twitter:

Truly baffling at the ineptitude of some of the poker community. This shit ain’t rocket science. #hpt

Matt Barkley tweeted:

The 50% off your buy in during dinner break that @WestgateVegas is offering in order to fulfill their #HPT guarantee AFTER having a clause where they were only on the hook for 50k to begin with is one of the more exploitative marketing approaches I've seen. #VEGAS

HTP organizers are pointing to the Westgate in making this decision.

"I had no say so in this," HPT Tournament Director Jeremy Smith wrote on Twitter. "It was a Westgate decision."

"The allegations, if true, are certainly alarming," Mac VerStandig of The VerStandig Law Firm told PokerNews.com. "It would be my sincere hope that the Nevada Gaming Control Board would appropriately exercise its supervisory powers."

Poker Fraud Alert’s Todd Witteles called what the Westgate did “shady” but expressed doubt that players could take legal action against the casino.

"Casinos do have a right to pay the buy-ins for players in tournaments," he wrote. "Provided the buy-ins really go into the prize pool, then the casino can foot all or some of the bill for selected players in the tournament.

"Unfortunately, I don't think there are many laws in Nevada's gaming statutes governing tournament guarantees."

Poker icon Chris Moneymaker summed it up nicely but referring to the incident as a "cluster f***".

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