When players take part in a poker tournament, they expect to win a prize based on what is offered. The WSOP offers gold bracelets or circuit rings with prize money while other brands just offer prize money and bragging rights. During a recent Illinois charity poker tournament, players were unexpectedly paid in precious metals and are not happy with the outcome.
Details of the Event
The Midway Poker Tour took place last weekend for the very first time. It is a new tour that held a charity poker event at the Sheraton Hotel, which is located in Elk Grove. The buy-in to the event was $1,000 and organizers said the prize pool was a guaranteed $100,000. A portion of the rake was to be set aside and go to charity to help children in need.
By the time two starting flights were over, a total of 226 entries had been paid. On Day 2, 31 players remained in the competition. Each of these players would finish with a prize and guaranteed a four-figure prize. Standard format for a poker event, right? Wrong!
Based on state law when it comes to gaming events for charity, players are not allowed to receive over $500 in return on top of the buy-in. The amount remaining must be paid in prizes. For the Midway Poker Tour, this was coins and silver bars. Players who finished in the money were given $1,600 in cash and the remainder of their prize was provided in precious metal.
While this is not necessarily a huge deal, the players were not aware of this issue. The players thought organizers would give them cash for their win, which is typical to land based tournaments. Reports suggest that they bought a lot of precious metals from Andy Mettille, the co-owner of AMPM.99 in Wisconsin. He was supposed to be at the tournament to convert it to cash after it was over. The state’s Attorney General caught wind of what was going on and said that it could not be converted on-site as this would be illegal based on state law.
AMPM.999 responded to the allegations, telling PokerNews that they had nothing to do with the tournament and no knowledge that it was taking place. They say all that they did was fill an order for silver.
Where’s the Founder?
Dan Bekavac is the owner/founder of the Midway Poker Tour. He was not on-site during the event when payouts took place and was not reachable that day. Because of this, players started to dig into his history in the game. According to several tweets, Bekavac has been known now to pay players after big wins. This includes actions at PokerBros after selling himself for big buy-in events and vouching for bookies who don’t pay up.
Players of this recent event were reportedly not able to exchange the silver for cash and then soon realized that the silver was not enough to cover the payout they should have been awarded. In general, the silver amounts were coming up about 30% short of market price.
According to the company in Wisconsin that sold the metals to the new poker tour, the metals were valued above the spot price. It seems that for now, the event was a huge mistake and players will most likely take action for false advertising or some other claim in order to be paid what was owed.