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World Series Of Poker: Phil Hellmuth Under Fire For Unusually High Markup Fee In Turbo Event

Hellmuth Sold 30 Percent Of $10,000 Buy-In At 1.8 Markup


In the world of tournament poker, it is not uncommon for players to seek investors for their tournament buy-ins. Some of the game’s elite sell pieces of their action, or swap it with a similarly skilled player, in order to reduce variance. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t afford the entry fee, but reducing your exposure in a higher buy-in event can be a wise decision.

That’s what Phil Hellmuth apparently has done for a $10,000 buy-in turbo event scheduled to start Wednesday at the World Series of Poker, but the amount of markup he charged raised some eyebrows. Hellmuth, winner of 14 WSOP bracelets, charged his investors 80 percent markup, which means that Hellmuth received $1.80 for every $1 invested. Hellmuth sought $3,000 from investors (30 percent of the buy-in), which means that he took in $5,400 for the stake.

Hellmuth used a crowdfunding staking site to reach people outside of the poker community.

It’s a high price, but definitely not unheard of in poker. Some have estimated that the game’s best could charge 200 percent markup for the WSOP main event, arguably the softest tournament of the year in terms of average skill level of the field. Markup depends on the event.

However, to make matters worse for the “Poker Brat,” he has a reputation for showing up late to tournaments. He did so recently in a $300,000 buy-in. The fact that the event is a turbo caused some of his peers to cry foul. Because the speed of the tournament moves so quickly, showing up late to get some extra sleep makes far less sense than it does it other tournaments.

Some of his critics said Helluth was dishonest, but there were plenty of people who came to his defense. Supporters said he should charge whatever he can get.

Here’s a snapshot of the extended Twitter debate.