Off Topic: 16 Players chop WPT Side Event, Negreanu sparks Twitter discussion about tipping

The last week has brought with it an interesting reminder of just how peculiar the world of poker can be sometimes. The general theme has been one of giving things away and attempting to facilitate some financial equality, but people have always had very different ideas about what that means.

The 16-way equal chop

WPT’s latest side event in Maryland has provided one of the more unusual stories this year, with players making the bizarre decision to equally chop a tournament with 16 players remaining.

The $360 tournament at Live! Hotel & Casino began with 1,652 entries which created a very small overlay, with the overall prize pool reaching just under $500,000. By the time the idea of a deal was passed around the two remaining tables, $294,000 was still there to be won.

Tournament Director Jason Heidenthal had gone home when the action was down to 18 players at 11pm, although he was monitoring the tournament from home. His Tournament Supervisor then delivered a surprising phone call to inform him that the players were discussing a chop.

Action soon resumed but after two more eliminations a second phone call came in. The 16 remaining players had agreed to a completely equal chop of all the remaining money in the prize pool. Heidenthal was shocked, having never seen a chop agreed by so many players, but gladly consented to let the players pocket $18,386 each.

The deal raises some questions, with some players in the tournament clearly having thrown away equity. Does this constitute being taken advantage of?

Should the Tournament Supervisor attempt to protect players in this situation or allow negotiations to pan out naturally without intervention? Some players will clearly have had significantly more chips than others, but still accepted an equal chop regardless.

Part of the reason why could be found in the fact that the chop amount represented a career-best score for 12 of them.

Whatever the content of the negotiation process and whatever the reasons why all 16 players accepted, it is likely to be a unique situation in live tournament poker and one which reopens the debate about chops and what role the tournament management team should play in them.

Negreanu sparks Twitter discussion about tipping

Twitter’s poker community took a moment to discuss tipping this week, with Daniel Negreanu at the forefront of the conversation. The Canadian tweeted about his own habits and how tipping as much as 400% on certain services was a good thing to do.

Apparently, grocery checkout assistants were exempt from his view, but anyone who provides a personal “intimate” service would be the beneficiary of a large tip from him.

He went on to explain that feeling emotionally invested in charitable acts was important for him and seeing someone’s gratitude after receiving a generous tip was good for the emotional wellbeing of all involved.

Mike Matusow added his own story to the thread, describing a massive losing day in which he took a $183,000 hit. Matusow claims that as he left the casino he saw a homeless veteran and gave him the last $1,700 in his pocket.

Other poker players weighed in, with Bryn Kenney taking a swipe at Mike “Timex” McDonald with the following tweet “Mike could have 100 million and still wouldn’t tip cuz he “doesn’t see the value in it”.

McDonald soon tweeted a response to defend himself, pointing out that there are many ways to do good, other than tipping huge amounts.

Faraz Jaka and Bill Perkins also commented on the thread, with wealthy businessman Perkins outlining the need to optimise the use of excess funds to do good in the world. The conversation rolled on for quite some time, with a surprising number of people being critical about others wanting to do good in their own ways.

Article by Craig Bradshaw