The Australian Poker Tour has issued a public apology after players aired concerns over changes made to its Player of the Series (POTS) at the recent APT Gold Coast series, held at Southport Sharks last week.
The issue centred around the APT’s decision to replace the 3% previously raked from series prize pools for both the POTS and Race to Vegas promotions with a smaller 1% rake for the Race to Vegas promotion alone, and the organization’s failure to communicate this change effectively.
Under the new POTS model, only the top players in each of the Diamond and Sapphire tiers were to be awarded, rather than the top five players from previous POTS leader boards, with cash prizes replaced by fixed price tournament entries only.
Many players, including eventual APT Gold Coast POTS winner Bert Perry, were critical of the APT for only highlighting its new POTS structure in small print at the bottom of series structures. Perry won a ticket to $3,300 buy-in The Vault for topping the POTS points tally.
While the APT initially defended its actions on social media channels – suggesting it was up to players to inform themselves – APT Chairman Gigi Fab later published a statement from the Board of Directors and Senior Management apologising for the lack of communication.
“At the last APT Gold Coast series, we missed the mark when it comes to communication of recent changes – the major point being how our POTS competition was to be conducted moving forward,” the statement read.
“Significant changes to the competition were made in an effort to benefit the players long-term and these changes were not effectively communicated in a way to deliver the message to the competing players.
“In simple truth we missed the announcement that would signify the difference in structures for the POTS payouts. We updated our graphics but this alone was not enough of a message, and we apologise for the grievance that it has caused the players in the hunt for the POTS at APT Gold Coast.”
The APT has also awarded additional prizes to the players who finished fourth and fifth in its Diamond Tier and Sapphire Tier POTS races at APT Gold Coast as “a gesture of good faith.”
However, it is unlikely disgruntled players will fade softly into the night, with a number having also highlighted grievances around prize pools and payouts.
Notably, the APT’s statement says the company is “currently undergoing an internal and external audit to ensure we provide accurate numbers and transparency to the poker community we serve and that continues to support us. These updated figures and payouts will be posted when the audit has been fully completed.”
In comments posted to social media accompanying the APT’s statement, a spokesperson said, “After an audit last night and a review of pools, we have established some residual payout for Road to Vegas … but its [sic] not that much … will release today.”
Also catching the eye was a single post from one of Australia’s most accomplished players, Alex Lynskey, who said on Tuesday that he had boycotted APT events a while back due to what he described as “shady dealings”. Lynskey alleged that he and some other professional players had been sponsored into some APT events in the past “on the promise that our buy-ins/re-entries into the tournaments would be covered.
“I later realised that these funds were never added into the prize pool, so APT effectively freerolled their player based to cover the marketing costs of having well known faces in the fields.”
The APT has denied Lynskey’s allegation, describing it as “100% untrue.”