When we buy into poker tournaments, the tournament fee – or rake – is always listed in the tournament description…right? Well, in a particular Texas poker room, that might not be the case.
Ben Ross, a player who participated in a one-day tournament at Watauga Social Lounge this past weekend, was ejected from a tournament after discovering the tournament prize pool did not add up to the total buy-ins for the tournament.
Not Adding Up
Ross had made it to the bubble of a $100 tournament at Watauga Social Lounge when realized the prize pool was not adding up to what it should have been. With a $60 add-on, he found that $12 had been taken from each player’s add-on before it was added to the prize pool.
Rake is okay, right? Obviously the dealers and the venue hosting the tournament have to profit in some way, or they wouldn’t be able to function as a proper business. Well, Watauga Social Lounge’s advertising of the tournament never once mentioned a 20% rake of the buy-in, which raises major questions of the poker venue.
After Ross eventually exposed the truth, an argument erupted between him and tournament staff, and Ross was told to leave the venue after deeming it a “rathole” for its questionable antics. A video of the whole ordeal can be found on YouTube.
“He’s kicking me out for calling this place a rathole from them stealing money,” Ross said as he was escorted out of the building. “They took $12 per player on the add-on that nobody had any clue about. Y’all are stealing money, and you’re stealing my money.” Ross was very upset at the fact that he was kicked out of the venue when he was only two places off the money. “You can’t kick me out two people from the money!” Ross exclaimed. “Why didn’t you kick me out two hours ago?” Ross eventually went to PokerAtlas, the popular poker room review forum, under the name Jamin99 where he explained the whole situation: “Called them out for stealing $396 from the prize pool of the tournament they tried to rake the $60 add-on at 20% with 33 add-ons they did add the money back to the prize pool however revoked my membership and kicked me out with 7 people left in the tournament and 5 made the money min cash was $347 and 1st was $1,551. I called the place a rathole 🐀 so if you do play there keep your opinions to yourself or you will be banned.” Ross was eventually refunded his buy-in and a $25 dollar “seat fee,” which is supposed to be an alternative to rake, as Texas poker rooms are not legally allowed to operate with rake. He was also given his $225 in bounties he accumulated during the tournament.
After Ross exposed the truth about the hidden rake, the room returned the $12 per player that was secretly taken from the add-on. Poker rooms in Texas are not allowed to earn money from the games operation, so this hidden rake violates the gambling laws of the state.
The room seems to be embracing Ross’s outburst and has yet to make a statement about the hideous situation. In fact, they are making light of it. In a tournament early this week, an advertisement for a tournament states, “come and get this cheddar at this rat hole – dissatisfied customer.”
Authorities will surely look into this, and it may not bode well for Watauga Social Lounge. This is one of the most disgusting acts a poker venue can do, and personally, I would never step foot in this aptly named “rathole.”
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