The Party Poker Network waited until the last minute to cancel their first Pokerfest event today. Event #1 was a $215 buyin tournament with a $350,000 prize pool. The event started with massive overlay. Party Poker paused the event for a reported 45 minutes before outright canceling it. Players in a coinciding event reported the same experience. The network then canceled four more Pokerfest events before they ever started. All players received a refund on their entry fees.
Pokerfest event #6, a $530 tournament with a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool, was held Sunday. The event started on time but was paused. The tournament was far from its guaranteed prize pool. The tournament was announced throughout the software and 15 minutes later play was resumed. The overlay was smaller when play started again and when late registration ended there was only $500 in overlay.
Party Poker support has blamed technical issues for the cancellations and unscheduled pauses. As an apology, the network has created two freerolls with a combined $15,000 in prizes each of the next two Saturdays. All prizes are tickets to future Pokerfest events. It may never be known what the difference is between the forgiveness freerolls and the amount Party Poker saved by not launching at least two tournaments that appeared to have sizable overlays and pausing a third, allowing more players to register.
There will be a total of 61 events with the cancellations and rescheduled events. The guaranteed prize pool is nearly $4 million with a main event prize pool of at least $1.5 million. The main event will be held on May 5th and has a $640 buyin.
Pokerfest is just one of several notable bwin.party blunders in recent months. The network dropped the top tier of their VIP program from 50% to 30% rakeback in March. They also secretly rolled out a player segregation program that still has not been fully disclosed weeks after getting exposed by experienced players.
The network has also drawn the ire of many affiliates. The bwin.party affiliate program has stopped paying some affiliates that refer too many winning players or not enough new players. Other affiliates have seen their rate dropped to uncompetitive levels. This has hurt the exposure of both brands.
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