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Post  Math Backwards on Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:51 pm

Went out to play for the first time in a while. Thought I would sit right away since I was ninth on the list. Next thing I know, all these people start plopping their gold cards on that table and I am on the wait list.

So it turns out that DPT is charging $199 for the cards that give priority seating and the money going to the prize pool. Now, if memory serves, DPT had a real issue when APT started charging for VIP cards.

From the DPT website
"ALL OF THE MONEY SOLD FROM THE PARTNERSHIP IN POKER PROGRAM WILL BE USED IN THE PRIZE FUND FOR THE MONTHLY, MID-WAY, AND FINAL EVENTS!!!!

Q: Is this legal?

A: Yes, because everyone still gets to play in the same tournaments as the P3 Members, and no one else has to buy a card, pay an entry fee, or any other financial concern in order to participate. All that the P3 members are getting is the right to sit down first, and to have the UBPT track your score. There is absolutely no tournament, event, activity, or anything else exclusively marketed to, or promoted to, or benefiting the P3 members other than what has been listed and explained. That would be illegal!

They think this is legal? I'm pretty sure this constitutes consideration. The basic definition of gambling: consideration (a fee of some sort), chance, and prize. So some get to play for free. The others are still buying in for a chance of a bigger prize pool. If this were not the case, then just sell it as priority seating. Unfortunately, there are prolly enough d-bags who would still pay the $199, just so they can be first.

Another consideration: there is inherent advantage of not being on the wait-list. By making non-VIP's wait to get seated, this gives VIP's the advantage of playing more hands and building up a chip-stack. True, not all of them are good players... but when they play first, some of them will necessarily have the chips of those who bust out early. When everyone who first sits is VIP, then at least one VIP will have a chip advantage over those who didn't pay the $199.

Also: being wait-listed is a disincentive to play. Especially for the casual player. This furthers the consideration aspect.

If we are going to wager, here's mine: DPT relied upon the opinion of Harry, instead of a ruling by CBI. Perhaps Mr. Masters would like to make a wager on how CBI will rule. Especially since he has been so quick in the past to drop a dime on the competition.

Disclosure: I have never been involved in any poker tour, aside from being a casual player. Doubt I will be playing DPT as long as this VIP crap is going on. Obviously, having a low number on the sign-up list is pretty meaningless. So much for expanding the poker playing base....

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Post  grasshopp3r on Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:52 pm

In Brian's world, what Brian does is legal; everyone else is committing crimes against humanity.

Yes, I recall that there was another operator who was doing something similar that got busted (I think that it was the same folks who were involved in the snake death murder scheme). However, I hope that Brian has discovered a loophole or some creative structure.

The waitlist thing is annoying, but I can't remember the last time that I actually played in a bar game. Many of the games will allow you to call ahead or even put your name on the list in advance.

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Post  Denver Poker Tour on Fri May 01, 2009 2:22 pm

The Denver Poker Tour VIP card is legal. In fact, we went right to the CBI and a local District Attorney's office for their opinion. They asked the typical questions in regards to our program. We explained that since the VIP card holders were only getting to sit first and have their points tracked, this was offering no other "special consideration" or "incentive". In fact, attorney's from the District Attorney's office even came down to play in our game, and felt that there was no advantage either way. In fact, one of the DA's even came 2nd to last on the list, I came in off the wait list last. I ended up winning the tournament and he took third. Makes for an interesting argument about the advantage that one may have sitting down first or coming in last.

The situation arose with the APT VIP program due to one issue speciffically.

They were offering players who purchased the APT VIP card invitations to participate in VIP card tournaments, where the VIP card holders would be eligible to in a $10,000 WSOP seat, a Cruise for Two, and many other prizes SPECIFICALLY available only for APT VIP card holders. CBI and the Attorney Generals office ruled that this constituted a "Buy In" to the specific members only tournament, and therefore illegal.

The Denver Poker Tour VIP Program doesn't do anything near that. Our program has been around since last October 2008, and it has been looked at multiple times by the local authorities and ruled legal each time. Many players have felt that their time is worth more to them, than other players have. In fact, the players spent $199.00 in order to sit down first. ALL of the money sold from DPT VIP cards also goes into the prize pool. The players have seen this money at the monthly tournaments, and will see it at the Finals shortly.

There have been also two other ways to get a DPT VIP card other than purchasing it. The ways to do this has been posted on the DPT site for years. Many players have taken advantage of this option, and we see them out there everyday.

The Denver Poker Tour and myself continue to operate in Colorado and across the nation, still being the industry leader, and the largest free bar poker tour in the USA. The choices and business decisions that we have made over the years has been able to create a better game for the players and a better business for ourselves. There have been poker tours come and go over the years, as well as players.... But I guess the critics of mine will always be around. That's fine, it helps us learn what the players are looking for in a poker tour. We listen to their comments and sometimes make changes that will benefit all parties involved. In fact, the DPT VIP Gold card program was their idea.

Thank you again for your comments, and good luck to you out there.

Brian Masters
Denver Poker Tour

PS. For the record, as much as people want to think I had something to do with the fall of the Amateur Poker Tour, maybe I did. Let me just say something. They were breaking the law. Period. Matt Sowash and Andrew Hicks ran an illegal business that has been said to have ripped off players and investors for the sum of over $2,000,000. Employees, players, investors, and I were all called into the appropriate law enforcement offices to discuss and testify about what they were doing.

But go ahead and blame me personally for what happened to them if it makes you feel better.
But do you blame Horse because the Fox ate the Chickens?

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Post  Math Backwards on Fri May 01, 2009 3:32 pm

I don't/won't defend APT. But that's not the point of my earlier rant.

I called in to get on the list; I was in the top ten on said list, and I still had to wait. Calling in, or getting there early is pointless when VIP can walk in at the last moment and drop their card on the table.

When I play free poker, I make a point of getting there early and eating (if they have food) or having a beer. Some of the late arrival VIP's were drinking a soda.

I understand that you can pocket some more cash by using VIP money in the prize pool to replace some of the money the bars pay you, but it seems to be a short-sighted business model. As a casual player, I will never have a VIP card. So, now there is a real disincentive for me to look at the DPT calendar and patronize an establishment holding a DPT event because I know that even if I arrive early, I will very likely be on a wait list.

The thing about lost sales is you can't put a number on them. The VIP program effectively lowers your player base. You may not be hearing about it because most that walk away and decide to play another tour, or stay home and play online will do so quietly. A player like myself who would play twice per week, will spend close to $1,000/year at DPT bars. I can guarantee that I am not the only one walking away from your tour over this. Which is a shame because I like to play in your game on occasion.

Your business may be getting higher profits with the VIP program, but your bars are doing worse. They may not notice it immediately, but they will. The better your bars do, the better you will do. Think long-term.

You are better off getting paid by the bars than from a handful of players. Those with VIP cards will come out and play even without VIP cards. They are your core and they are not going away. They need no special treatment. So, why alienate the rest of us?

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Post  Denver Poker Tour on Mon May 04, 2009 12:51 pm

I appreciate your comments and have thought about them over the weekend. I discussed them with a few of my manager's and they reminded me of something... There are still two other FREE VIP card programs out there. The White one and the Black one.
The ways and means to obtain these cards are on the DPT site. Most of the requirements are based upon your performance and attendance with the DPT.

"Why should there be a VIP card?"
It is our way of awarding players who frequent our events. Yes, it is a special incentive or favor for most players. The other thing to consider is that VIP card holders ALWAYS show up to play. This is guaranteed business for not only us, but the establishment as well. DPT VIP card holders are required to be there at least 15 minutes before the game. They are also required to sign up for the same game, even though they get to sit down first. If you feel the DPT Dealers / Supervisors are NOT enforcing this rul, then send me an email with the location and dealer name, and I will personally take care of the matter.

People want a VIP card because they sit down first. This means they play with the DPT quite frequently. This is a repeat customer. This is guaranteed business.

Consideration that I might be losing players because of the VIP card, is a distinct possibility. Player numbers are down nationwide. Player numbers are down for my competitors. Player numbers are down for me. But other possible reasons numbers are down.

1. Poker is a fad... some proclaim.
2. Bush / The Messiah: killed/is killing the economy
3. People have moved on from the game
My personal opinion is:
4. The smoking ban in Colorado is hurting the local establishments. Our numbers saw a drastic drop in player attendance when the smoking ban went into effect. All of the whiners that complained that they don't go out to establishments that allow smoking, said they would go if there was no smoking. Well they haven't. Proof that smoking and poker go together? Our biggest clients Halftime, Greenfield's, Long Shots, The Shack, University Grill, ALL have patio areas where our players can smoke.
5. There are so many "Poker Tours" in Colorado, that if I lose a game, they pick one up. If they lose a game, maybe I pick it up. Two years ago, there were 5 competitors of the DPT, and I was operating 15-20 games a night. Now there are 27 competitors, and I operate 10 - 15 games a night.

There are variables on this business for everything, and someone would go insane trying to figure and balance it all out. Look what its' done to me in the last 5 years! Shocked

But PLEASE keep your comments coming. Great players like you help us figure out what our company can do to make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Brian Masters
Denver Poker TOur

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Post  grasshopp3r on Mon May 04, 2009 5:56 pm

Let me clarify my little barb. I wish the DPT all the success in the world.

I also find hypocrisy to be repulsive.

However, there is a tangled web of liquor and gambling laws that combine to create an uncertain regulatory environment that is subject to interpretation. I urge Brian to help change the laws as it will help to grow the overall market. Yes, there will be more competitors, however, the pie should be much bigger.

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Post  Math Backwards on Tue May 05, 2009 7:44 pm

It's not in Brian's interest to change existing poker laws. As long as he in within the law, his job is to make money.

Personally, I think selling VIP cards sacrifices some long-term gain for short-term profit. But without crunching numbers that may not be available, it becomes a matter of opinion.

Brian, I am impressed with your thoughtful responses in this thread. Calm and collected. I didn't know that was you. Thought you were as big a douche as I am. Very Happy

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Post  Wetdog on Fri May 08, 2009 4:47 am

I said it years ago on Rick's forum and I'll say it again.

VIP programs suck balls.

It's like having a private game in a public venue.

Never mind the rattlesnakes. Two legged snakes are worse. All you did with your ADD experiment was show that in the the short run, luck is the prime variable. ONE TIME, DEALER! You, sir, are the enemy. We are playing over the long run and you do a one-shot play and come up aces and think that means anything. GG, idiot.

You are playing like a Wall Street cheater, working for the quarterly numbers, while the real players are looking 10 years out. Why don't you look at the real numbers? FREE poker players don't want to buy your VIP coupon book, ala Bob Stupak. They'd rather play where there's a real value, be it a bar tab or a cash prize put up by the venue.

I've talked with bar owners and people who played with your tour. Bar owners hate your tour because they don't like your players. They don't buy drinks or food. Players hate your tour because it's not fun. Your core players (VIP's who bought their cards and feel they have spent enough?) are cheapskate a.ss.holes and it drives out the people who are supposed to fuel your business. Great business model you crafted.

Go ahead and make your quarterly numbers. As long as you and your bankers are impressed, who am I to say what you should do? A bunch of cheapskate a.ss.holes congratulating each other can whoop it up on the other side of town. You don't make a wave over here, and I like it.
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Post  Stallion on Fri May 08, 2009 10:41 am

DPT VIP Cards Popcorn
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Post  Denver Poker Tour on Fri May 08, 2009 2:13 pm

Interesting comment... so my question to you would be:

Are you aware that there are three types of DPT VIP cards? Two of which are free?
And if not DPT VIP cards, then how would you reward players who frequent our games more than players that don't?
The casino's of the world even do this.

As far as your comments about the DPT players not spending any money, well that is your opinion. But the fact that my company operates an average of 15 tournaments a day at local Denver area establishments proves you're wrong.

Wetdog, you have never liked me. I'm fine with that. But if you feel that you can do a better job in this market, then why don't you?
But stop insulting me and my game. You may not like it, others may not like it either... But thousands of other players do. I can't make everyone happy, and no matter what I or my company does, I am sure I will never make you happy. So I won't even bother.

Funny thing, yesterday I had a meeting with my senior staff and this was actually brought up. They said to me "Brian, you can't please everyone, so don't.You don't have too, its a business and they can go elsewhere."

Brian Masters
Denver Poker Tour

PS. Just this week alone, the Denver Poker Tour added three more new locations. Two of them had a previous relationship with another tour. They didn't like them, they wanted my company.

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