Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | The Works

Main Event, Day 1D – Say What? Sold Out?

Share this
A man in a suit walks out into the crowded hallway. At this moment, at least to the hundred or so people in line he looks a bit like the Grim Reaper. He takes his place in the center of the hallway and says “I'm sorry to say but at this time we will not be selling any more seats for the Main Event. The tournament is sold out.” There's a brief moment of silence. The players waiting to register are stunned, shocked, in disbelief. The quiet lasts less than a second.

“What do you mean it's sold out? There's only been 2,800 seats sold and they said on the Internet that they were going to sell 3,000.”

“Is this the final word. I want to talk to Jack Effel or Jeffrey Pollack.”

“Why can't we go ten handed?”

“I'm going to sue your sorry f***ing ass.”

“I flew in all the way from Australia to play in this and you're going to tell me I can't play? Are you f***ing kidding me? This is ridiculous.”

Those were just a few of the comments I heard as I happened to be standing in the right place at the right time. I had a friend who was trying to sign up and she had just arrived in Las Vegas and was not at the Rio yet so I went to stand in line for her. There were players standing in line with their suitcases by their side, obviously having just flown into town. These reactions were genuine ones from players who were getting shut out of the biggest event in poker... the Main Event of the 2009 World Series of Poker. Players swarmed around the poor customer service manager, Kevin, who was merely the messenger of bad news. None of them wanted to believe it... but it was true... they weren't going to allow any more players in.

I heard a rumor of them having a day 1E tomorrow and pushing back everything a day or of letting a 2nd group of players start playing later this evening. I went and found Jeffrey Pollack who was standing next to Jack Effel. I asked him if there was anything that was going to be done about the sell out and he told me that there was nothing that could be done, they'd reached their operational capacity. Phil Gordon at this time came up to talk to Pollack and Pollack deferred him to Effel. Gordon proposed a solution to Effel about after four levels having a certain designated number of players join day 2A rather than day 2B. Effel said that he'd thought about a lot of different options, including the two I had mentioned earlier, but in the end they decided they couldn't do that because they had already turned people away and it wouldn't be fair to those who had left.

The players getting shut out weren't giving up easily. The line stayed intact despite numerous efforts from the Customer Service of Harrah's telling them that there was nothing more that would be done. Finally, Jeffrey Pollack decided to hold an impromptu meeting in the now vacated Poker Palooza ball room. Chairs were brought in, a water container and plastic cups, and a podium with a microphone front and center. Pollack took the microphone surrounded by the largest collection of suits I've ever seen in one room at the Rio. Media members stood on one side furiously scribbling notes and the angry players sat in the middle, led by Tom Franklin, a leader of the WPA.

A player in the front row asked, “What I want to know is why some people are getting preferential treatment and getting in? I've heard of some big name pro's who weren't registered being able to get in.”

Pollack responded by stating “that there has absolutely not been any preferential treatment given to anyone.”

I know better and I'll be writing another more in depth article on that one later.

Players continued yelling at Pollack and I could tell it was starting to fluster him. At this moment, Seth Palansky, head media guru at the WSOP stepped in and asked, “Why didn't you show up earlier?”

This was not the right thing to say as faces in the seats turned red and started yelling all at once in Seth's direction. Jeffrey steps back up and takes charge again. “It would not be appropriate to let the people in this room play,” he said. A clearly frustrated Pollack almost whispered into the microphone, “I apologize. I apologize.”

“Come back next year,” Pollack adds.

This isn't an acceptable answer to some who know this is their one opportunity to play or who have come from thousands of miles away. Finally, a suit whispers into Pollack's ear and he says, “This is all we have to say on the matter.”

Security guides Pollack and the others out a side door to avoid confrontation with the angry crowd.

“One more question,” a player pleads.

Pollack turns and walks out of the room.

And that's the end of any chance of those players taking part in this year’s Main Event.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed