The World Series of Poker is, without a doubt, the largest, most prestigious live poker event in the world. It draws the most players, pays the highest winnings, and employs the most staff. But there’s a massive debate taking place in regards to whether disgruntled WSOP dealers are being paid too little, or too much.
According to a post on the TwoPlusTwo poker forums, which incited the ongoing argument back in March, WSOP dealers are being paid ‘$10.79 down’ (i.e. every half hour), and may be threatening to stage a walkout.
On one side of the argument, we have those who believe that $10.79 down, which equates to $21.58 per hour, is more than enough to satiate the financial needs of someone whose job takes little education and minimum training.
On the other side, some are contending that WSOP dealers have to put up with a lot of crap from emotionally charged poker players, and that expecting to be paid something comparable to last year’s wages, but only get approximately 2/3 of that, would disgruntle anyone.
That was the position taken by one 2+2 member known as “Mcbrag”, and enthusiastically shared by American poker pro Brian Hastings.
Tired of the critics who belittled the role of WSOP dealers, Mcbrag posted:
|“Blah, blah, blah my 80 year old grandfather,…a trained monkey,…Walmart,…people lined up to replace…all of which are bull****.
“The bottom line is the dealers at the WSOP accepted their position with the understanding that wages would be comparable to prior years. A $10.79 down rate is off approximately $5.50 per down from week 1 last year. It is the lowest down rate in the history of the WSOP. Basically, they are being paid 2/3rds what they expected to be paid. It doesn’t matter if a monkey or your 80 year old grandfather could do it (they couldn’t by the way). A wage (carrot) was dangled in front of the dealers and what they got was 2/3rd of what they expected (moldy piece of cheese).
“Management knows it’s so bad they didn’t even announce the down rate at the dealer meetings prior to the shifts. They just quietly posted it on the wall above the time clocks. Prior years they ALWAYS announce the down rate at the dealer meetings and there is always a smattering of applause.
“If you, as workers elsewhere, cannot agree that being offered X amount and being paid 2/3rds X would make someone disgruntled, then nothing else I have to say will change your mind.”
IMO: Why WSOP Dealers Deserve More
Perhaps the standard poker dealer would and should be pleased to make $21+ per hour, but like many have stated throughout this debate, this is the World Series of Poker. Not only is it the largest poker stage in the world, lasting 1 ½ months, many dealers are traveling across the country to work it, and paying for their own accommodations at the same time.
Take an NFL referee for example. The typical annual salary for a rookie ref is $78,000. Adjudicating the Super Bowl, however, earns a referee a tidy sum of about $10,000 for officiating one game.
It’s not the job they are doing, so much as the importance of their job in such a massive event. If a dealer makes a mistake during a typical weekend tourney in Vegas, that’s one thing. Making a mistake on the poker world’s largest stage, especially at a critical moment, could change the outcome of a massive tournament entirely.
Those who participate in the WSOP should fully support the hiring of properly trained, professional dealers who are well compensated for their superior services. Instead, according to some sources, tournament officials are hiring virtually anyone who knows how to deal holdem poker, and willing to do so for a below-average rate.
Pros say WSOP Dealers Need Non-Holdem Primer
David “Bakes” Baker chimed in on the debate with a tale of gross negligence on the part of officials in charge of hiring/training WSOP dealers.
|“…It also annoys me that I have to instruct most of my dealers in non-holdem games on every decision point…
“One dealer told me that he was told nothing about the game before the tourney, merely that it was Razz and that ‘the players would tell him what to do’. This is unacceptable imo, if there are dealers who have never dealt the game, they need to either receive a primer beforehand or only deal hold’em. I know that there are enough dealers in the total pool that know the games, I just think there needs to be more of an effort to get them in the proper tournaments, even if this means incentives. Many of the tables I play at are just simply dealing too few hands per hour.
“Plus, the status quo right now is the WSOP throws these poor dealers into the fire, and they get ‘instruction’ by the bad apples berating them. Most of this is over really silly stuff like calling the high/low card in razz. Again, I’m not blaming dealers as a group for this, there is no economic incentive for dealing schools, individual dealers, or casinos to train dealers for these games in many cases.”