Over the last week, a controversy developed related to the awarding of WSOP Main Event prizes, stemming from the 2014 Challenger Cup Series, a leaderboard from Alex Dreyfus’s Global Poker Index “Challenger Cup” that was to award three packages to the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
The problem? The players who won the WSOP prizes hadn’t been paid their packages until the issue was recently brought to light via a blog post from one of the winners.
Fortunately, for the three players involved, it appears now they will be headed to the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Dreyfus, who is a longtime web entrepreneur and respected member of the online gaming community, announced Monday via Twitter that the packages will be paid.
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) June 13, 2015
The GPI Challenger Cup is run by the Global Poker Index, a website that ranks the top live tournament players over a 36 month period by performance in all global qualifying live tournaments. The scores, which are updated weekly, take into account finishing position, buy-ins and age of the tournament. The GPI rankings can be found at the Global Poker Index website page.
The GPI Challenger Cup is one of the leaderboards run by the Global Poker Index, and ranks the top players at low and mid-level buy-in tournaments (less than $2,000) across the globe. To promote the Challenge Cup, in June 2014 a promotion was introduced that promised to award three packages to the 2015 Main Event to top finishers from three continents — North America, Europe and Asia. A recent 2+2 post by Dreyfus dated May 31, 2015 indicated the promotion would also award a $10,000 Main Event for next year.
Despite that the Challenger Cup leaderboard continues to run, it now appears that there is no such prize for 2015’s standings.
Big Cock Poker blog owner and North American title winner, Aaron Massey posted on his blog that European winner, Erwann Pecheux had contacted him in early June about being stiffed in the Challenger Cup. Massey was not aware of his win so he started to investigate the matter with Pecheux. Neither Massey, Pecheux or a third winner — Dean Blatt — had apparently been contacted about claiming their prizes.
After originally stating that there was no prize, Dreyfus relented by telling Pecheux that he did indeed win the package, but that it would be under a 55% staking deal (55% to the player, 45% to GPI) but would also require media and patch commitments. According to Massey, Dreyfus, in an apparent negotiation, offered to pay the winners $3,000 up front or only take a 30% stake in the 2015 Main Event winnings (up to $300k).
Massey had screenshots proving that the terms were publicly updated recently. He also had transcripts of the email correspondence between the two parties. Soon after the issue became public, Dreyfus promised to pay all three winners their prizes under the previous terms and conditions.
Dreyfus maintained that the staking and media terms were always a part of the Challenger Cup package deal. While it’s common for packages of this nature to include media responsibilities, Dreyfus admits terms for the Challenger Cup were not posted. He also said stated that there were some inaccuracies in Massey’s blog but did not elaborate.
In regards to the ending of the Challenger Cup, Dreyfus noted that the attention the promotion received from the promotion itself was dwarfed by the recent controversy. Dreyfus stated on Twitter his disappointment with the reception the promotion had originally received:
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) June 13, 2015
To a cynic, Dreyfus and the GPI comes across poorly here. It appears that while good intentioned, that once the Challenger Cup was announced, that the promotion was largely ignored by the community — including the players who were at the top of the standings. At the conclusion of the promotion in late 2014, little or no effort was apparently made to contact the winners. Only when one of the winners discovered the issue, did the ball get rolling on paying the prizes, but not before an unfortunate shaming on BCP and 2+2.
Fortunately the issue was resolved shortly after it went public. So with Dreyfus’s Tweet on Monday, the positive here is that in the end, the three winners from last year’s standings appear like they are going to be paid in full and make an appearance at this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event.
Now that should make an interesting story for the post-tournament interview should they win.
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