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Poker News | Online Poker | Tournaments

Trump Taj Mahal First to Accept Online Tournament Registration

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There is a new way to buy tickets for poker tournaments, and it may be coming to a casino near you. PTSeats.com, a privately owned ticket agency based in Miami, Florida, takes form as a website that allows poker tournament players to register for an event with a participating casino online, thus avoiding the hassle of buy-in lines and early arrivals to casinos prior to the start of the tournaments in which they wish to play.

Fabricio Schaffrath, founder of PTSeats.com, began developing the concept in 2006 after having his own difficulties with registering for tournaments at a casino in Florida. To simply buy in to a small evening tournament, he would have to leave work at his graphic design studio early or ask a friend to purchase his entry, and sometimes, he made the trek to the casino to find that the tournament was sold out. Out of his own frustration, he began assembling a team to research and develop the idea of online tournament registration.

The result is PTSeats.com. Schaffrath spoke to PokerWorks.com about the company's beginnings. "After developing the concept in 2006, we started negotiations with the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, along with a few other casinos, in December. After we got the approval of the commission, we went live on August 17, 2007."

The process of registering is a simple one. From the home page, the customer can choose the casino. After picking the specific tournament, the form of payment is entered on the site, which is secured by Verisign. Once payment is confirmed, an e-mail is sent with the confirmation number, along with table and seat number for the event. Arrival at the casino then only requires a printout of the online registration to begin the game. No lines, no cash, no hassle.

There is a service charge associated with the online ticket purchase, which normally ranges from 3 - 6%. Schaffrath explained, "It depends on the buy-in. Up to a $100 buy-in, the fee is $3. For $120 buy-in, there's a $6 fee. Half of the fee is to cover the credit card merchant account charge. Now for a $10,000 buy-in, with the Taj Mahal for example, the casino will absorb the merchant account fees, and our fee for online registration will be $50 (less than one percent of the buy-in). But each casino will be different, depending on the agreements our company signs with them."

Poker players seem to be embracing the idea, as hundreds have already bought their tournament tickets for the Trump Taj Mahal events since PTSeats.com launched little more than a month ago. More casinos will soon sign with the service, and their tournaments will be offered online when those deals are completed.
Schaffrath discussed the casinos that may soon be affiliated with his site. "I am in talks with the Wynn and Venetian in Las Vegas. I have meetings with Harrah's and Caesars Palace in Atlantic City who are going to sign up with us; they are almost done deals. The Borgata is also very interested, and they are going for further approvals. I also have casinos in Biloxi, Tunica, and other places that are interested in our services. All of the casinos I've talked to want to do it, but it's not only the poker room director that makes the decision. It goes to upper levels, then the commission of the state. There are a lot of steps to make the deals because of gaming licenses for each state and each casino."

Thus far, the poker community seems to be embracing the idea. Card Player Magazine is the official magazine of the site, according to Schaffrath, and Phil Gordon is endorsing PTSeats.com . On the front page of the site, Gordon's picture appears with a quote: "Getting a seat at the poker table just got easier! PTSeats.com is a fast, easy, secure and convenient way to get your tournament tickets."

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