Generally speaking, poker tournaments pay one table (nine players) for every 100 players who enter. So, on average, 91% of the players who enter a poker tournament do not finish in the money, or as Norman Chad would say: "They get squadush!"
When you win a poker tournament, you win the top prize; you win all the chips and you win the last hand. However, everyone else 'in the money' loses their last hand and losing a hand to bust out of a tournament is almost never any fun. Happy-go-lucky Steve Dannenmann is not representative of how most players act when they bust out of a tournament. Add to mix that many players are busted by a bad beat or at least a perceived bad beat and you have a recipe for some, well let's say, friction. So here is the problem: What do you do with dozens of players waiting to be paid off from two or three or more events 'in the money' at the same time? Remember, a good number of these players will in all likelihood be in fairly bad moods. I know, I know, they won money, why would they… hey! Boys will be boys.
Believe me, I have worked alongside many a payout floor person who had to deal with angry, frustrated, freshly busted players; this can be a real problem for everyone involved. So this year at the World Series of Poker® they have decided to go all automated, all the time. Here is how it will work.
You bust out of an event in the money. Congratulations! You are given a card identifying your exact payout position and, of course, which tournament you were playing. You are now escorted to a 'Player's Services Lounge,' which is outside of the big tournament room, across the hall and open only to players awaiting their share of the prize pool and the staff assisting them in getting their money.
"Would you like to sit down and relax? How about a bottle of water, and could we have your Harrah's Total Rewards card, please?"
You can't register for a WSOP event without a Total Rewards card. While you sit and relax (or sit and fume, your choice), your card is swiped, a few buttons are pushed and all of the forms for Harrah's and for you, as well as any tax forms are printed out.
"Would you like your payment in cash or chips, perhaps a wire transfer?"
All of this is also automated. Once this is done and you have signed the necessary forms, you are escorted to the payout window and you are done.
This will all be done away from the tournament area and away from the media and fans. No more roped-off area inside of the tournament room, where you have to sit and wait and from where you can still see those players playing on in the tournament with 'your' chips.
This system is now in place and will be used for all events at the 2007 WSOP. This includes all 55 bracelet events, all mega-satellites, all super-satellites and all non-bracelet 'evening' events. The same system is being used for single-, double- and triple-table satellites (as listed in this recent article on the WSOP satellites) but there will be no need for the Player's Lounge for satellite winners as there is a payout kiosk right in the satellite area; the time lapse from the end of a satellite to the payout will be minutes.