3 controversies overshadow One Drop satellites

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 03, 2012 Posted in Tournament News, WSOP News | No Comments »

As thrilling as the 96-player, $25,300 buy-in, Mega-Satellite to the Big One for One Drop tournament that was held at the Rio was, the real story coming out of the event was the obvious chip-dump during heads-up play between Gus Hansen and Shaun Deeb (there would also be a mini-controversy revolving around the method Deeb was paid). Even more amazing could be the Aria satellite into the One Drop tournament, that saw Phil Hellmuth (who wasn’t even an entrant in the tournament as far as I can tell) be awarded the seat that the MGM Corp. had purchased. In this column I’ll take a look at all three of these controversies.

Shaun Deeb chip-dumps to Gus Hansen

Deal-making in poker is nothing new, and nothing out of the ordinary, but typically (unless it’s allowed by the tournament organizers) these deals happen behind the scenes and the people involved tend to hide the deal from the general public. This WASN’T the case on Saturday night when Shaun Deeb and Gus Hansen played heads-up for a Big One for One Drop seat (worth $1,000,000) while the second-place would ostensibly receive $1,000,000 in cash.

It was obvious Gus wanted the seat and Deeb wanted the cash, which is why when Deeb raised over 3 million pre-flop (leaving himself with a single 5,000 chip) and then folded to Hansen’s all-in flop bet we knew the two had cut a deal.

While some people have cried foul, it’s hard to fault the two based on the fairly silly structure of the satellite that didn’t take into account that more than one seat may be on the line (the second-place finisher would see his seat in One Drop moved to the bottom of the alternate list). While the two could have been a bit more coy about it, in the end everyone got what they wanted and nobody was hurt.

Shaun Deeb paid in Tournament Lammers

An interesting, and somewhat amusing, sidebar to the satellite was the way that the Rio decided to pay Shaun Deeb his $1,000,000 second-place prize. Since it was a satellite victory that technically awarded a seat into a larger tournament (albeit for $1,000,000) the Rio attempted to pay Shaun Deeb in tournament lammers, which are basically Rio-Bucks players can use to buy into tournaments –think Disney Dollars but only good for tournament buy-ins at Harrah’s properties.

In the end the Rio allowed Deeb to cash in his lammers for the $1,000,000 payday.

Phil Hellmuth “wins” Aria Satellite to One Drop

We now know why Phil Hellmuth never registered for the Big One for One Drop, as it seems the Poker Brat was handpicked months ago to represent the Aria in the tournament. The Aria (part of the MGM Corp) held an invitation only satellite to the One Drop tournament that would see one player win the seat, but multiple players win pieces of the action on that player. In the end the participants decided on Phil Hellmuth to represent them in One Drop –which seems to indicate that this decision was premeditated.

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