A social media row brewed up this week over the much-hyped $60 million in prize pool guarantees invested by PartyPoker in its Powerfest series when eagle-eyed players noticed that the guarantees on some events in week three had been unilaterally reduced in the middle of the festival….apparently without announcement.
This was particularly questioned by players who had already registered for the events, raising the issue of whether the publicity and advertising had been rendered misleading by the changes.
One event, flagged by a cash game streamer who had pre-registered, originally carried a guarantee of $1 million which was slashed in half by PartyPoker, he claimed in social media posts.
PartyPoker player liaison staffer Colette Stewart was reportedly quick to respond, advising: “…unfortunately, our final week’s GTEs were based on us running alongside the final week of WCOOP, and rather than cancel the 3rd week we decided to run the full schedule with a relatively small amount of amended tournaments, the above being one such tournament. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. Website and other content should be updated accordingly today.”
That was mid-week, and by the start of the weekend players were still claiming that there had been no further notifications or information. There was also criticism that the guarantees had been cut without prior notification and publicity.
Going into the weekend the discussion was taking place across several major poker forums and Twitter, and Ms. Stewart was back with the company line Friday, posting her thanks for the feedback and commenting: “I believe transparency is the way forward and we aim at all times to be as open and as honest with our players as we can be I am always on hand across social media to answer any queries (when possible) and help our players and the community.”
But that did not address the issues at the heart of the matter, which remained the subject of discussion.
Various questions surrounding the cut in guarantees arose in the exchanges; respected industry writer Steve Ruddock observed: “I think changing it before the series is ok, but changing it during the series is questionable.”
He added: “However, the main issue from a Partypoker customer perspective is the fact that a player who had pre-registered for a $1 Million Guaranteed online poker tournament was not immediately or automatically refunded once the event no longer guaranteed the total payout that had been previously advertised”.
Poker player Michael Josem opined it is really a contractual issue: “I think that the key timing factor is when someone has paid/registered. At that moment, you’ve got an offer of a service, and paid acceptance of it.”