Poker players who showed up at the Borgata’s $200K guaranteed event Sunday were met with an obscenely long registration line that left many frustrated, short stacked, and seatless.
Hundreds began queuing for one of the two starting flights of the $400 buy-in President’s Day Weekend event at 7:30 a.m., and by 10 a.m., the line stretched from the poker room all the way to the Old Homestead Steak House.
For those who never visited the massive Atlantic City casino, that’s about a quarter-mile deep.
I don’t know if you can imagine this, but the line to register for this borgata bird is from the poker room to OLD HOMESTEAD.
— Jamie Giunta (@JamieVGiunta) February 20, 2022
Many of those players set their Sunday aside for a chance at a piece of the first six-figured prize pool at the Borgata since COVID screwed everything up.
The 10 a.m. flight quickly filled up with more than 800 players, and by 11 a.m., it wasn’t certain those waiting would even be able to get a seat into the 7 p.m. flight.
Those stuck in the long line were left standing in the dark until around 3:50 p.m. when Borgata’s Poker Room announced all seats were taken.
Players took to Twitter to share pictures and their frustrations at the Borgata for wasting their time:
@BorgataPoker Presidents Day 200k GTD was the worst I have ever seen a casino run a tournament. They didn’t have enough staff. The line wrapped around the casino and I waited hours just to be told that the tournament is full, then to find out they let people in later.
— Red🦁 (@RedHotNBA) February 21, 2022
There is way too much technology to have to register at a window. 3 hour ride, I spent all weekend here just for this tournament only to wait in line for 3 hours and buy in for a 25bb stack. I waited in line longer than I played 🗑
— Homie Sr (@HomieSenior) February 20, 2022
I am sad and disappointed in how poorly @BorgataPoker was planned for this weekend in all aspects
— Antonio (@PokerTone) February 20, 2022
— Mike Maglietta (@mikemagss11) February 20, 2022
And when players finally got into the re-buy event as alternates, their patience was rewarded by starting the tourney short-stacked.
— Edward Caudle (@EdwardCaudle7) February 20, 2022
And Caudle did, bagging 410k for today’s start.
What was the problem?
The Borgata didn’t get back to CardsChat to help clarify the why, but there are guesses.
Like most companies in the United States, the Borgata needs employees. The Borgata has been looking for qualified dealers, cage workers, cashiers, and basically everything else, for more than a year.
And to compound things, the Borgata decimated its very experienced poker staff when it laid-off nearly 2,300 workers in Sept. 2020. This staff smoothly handled many large poker events since the casino opened in 2003, just when tournament poker began to take off.
The room just started scheduling daily tournaments again last fall and this was the first major event at the Borgata since the room reopened in Oct. 2020.
Also, having only two starting flights — and scheduling them for one day — certainly didn’t help. This was a scheduling error that wasn’t made the last time the Borgata hosted a $400 buy-in event with a big guarantee.
In Feb. 2020, the $400 buy-in $250K guaranteed Almighty Stack tourney attracted 800 players. That event had four starting flights over three days and went off with nary a complaint.
The first two flights in that event took place on their own days, unlike yesterday, when the Borgata tried to jam two starting flights into the one day.
The tourney will finish today.
Share your opinions on what went wrong in the comments section.