Hustler Casino launched Hustler Casino Live, an interesting poker stream, one year ago. But the casino canceled its $250,000 guaranteed poker event rather than celebrating its stream’s anniversary. It claimed that some unexpected circumstances made it cancel the tournament.
It was part of Larry Flynt’s Grand Slam of Poker Memorial Tournament, featuring several events taking place between July 17 and August 7. They had more than $400,000 guarantees, most of which it had allocated for a $350 buy-in tournament with over ten starting flights, a $50,000 first-place prize, and a $250,000 prize pool.
Still, Hustler Casino announced on Twitter on August 2, after holding the first four flights stating that it had canceled the remaining events. The gaming operator added that it would play Day 2 for each player that had qualified, and they would play for the existing prize pool. Industry professionals reacted fast to the announcement prompting the casino to reimburse all players.
Is This a Troubling Trend?
This isn’t the first time that a gaming operator has canceled a poker event with a huge guarantee. The Social Club, based in Houston, closed its doors in December 2021 after pulling the plug on a series it had planned. Prime Social held the Enchanted Xmas Series on those dates.
The Las Vegas-based Orleans Poker Rooms canceled a $250,000 guaranteed No-Limit Hold’em Championship early this summer. Even so, Hustler Casino’s cancellation was unique since it canceled the tournament while it was going on.
Ari Engel, a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet champion, revealed that he didn’t expect a successful American casino to cancel an ongoing guaranteed tournament. The poker pro added that the unprecedented announcement annoyed poker players like Todd Witteles.
Witteles tweeted, asking Hustler Casino to explain their decision further. He wondered if Los Angeles had experienced a major earthquake that he didn’t know.
Adam Hendrix, a high-stakes professional player, agreed, adding that the casino ought to have explained more than stating that the cancellation was due to unexpected circumstances. He stated that such a move would tarnish the name of such a reputable casino that regularly hosts big-streamed games.
Hustler Casino’s Response
Shaun Yaple, Hustler Casino’s General Manager, tweeted that a larger club stepped on them after releasing their schedule, thus making them re-group and start planning for the future. But, Doug Polk, a talented poker pro, didn’t agree with Yaple. He stated that holding tournaments’ reality is if a club declares an event that another company rides out.
The pro tweeted, stating that players aren’t responsible for reaching an operator’s guarantee. Yaple wrote a statement to PokerNews claiming that the casino knew that people would criticize its decision to cancel the tournament and had considered other plans after discussing with its management, event director, and ownership.
The casino executive said that initially, they wanted to add more days or flights to the event, but it wouldn’t be an efficient solution. It couldn’t support many players if it would have invested heavily in adverts for several days. So, the casino decided to cancel the tournament in its early stages.