What wasn't fair, though, was the structure: it was exactly the same as that used for the $1,500 NLHE open events running throughout the WSOP schedule, despite those events beginning with $3,000 in chips. More than a few women complained, and this writer even suggested a fix for next year's event.
It appears today that Harrah's not only heard those complaints, but actually decided to do something about them.
The main reason we know they decided to make a change is that today's Event 42, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em World Championship, started with a stack of $3,000 in chips.
That was a surprise to those of us in the media who came in to cover the tournament today; we had expected exactly the same starting stack as found in the Ladies Event. The new stack was good news for the players in today's tournament, as their starting chips were matched up with the structure of the tournament.
I asked Seth Palansky, the WSOP's new communications director, why the shift had been made.
"We felt it was the right thing to do," Palansky said. He told me that the number of complaints from women who had ponied up a grand for the Ladies Event had been so high that WSOP management decided to rectify the situation for the only other $1,000 event on the WSOP schedule, and that Harrah's would be revisiting the issue after this year's WSOP finished to make sure that such an inequitable situation didn't recur.
The solution wasn't a perfect one by any means, especially considering that every player who put up $1,500 for an open-field NLHE event so far this summer was paying 50% more for the same structure as the seniors got today. But I think Harrah's deserves a pat on the back for doing something about this situation.
It would've been easy to ignore the women's complaints from earlier in the WSOP and simply give the seniors in today's event the same starting stack the ladies received. Instead, Harrah's decided to take the initiative and rectify an obvious mistake without waiting an entire year to do so.
The alternatives to the way Harrah's handled the situation would have been keeping things the same, changing the structure of the event with no warning, or raising the buy-in to $1,500 on short notice. None of those options was palatable, so they went with the alternative that would make the greatest number of people happy for the short term while keeping an eye on coming up with a fix for the long term.
There will surely be people who complain about the decision made today. Some of them will likely be women who feel that if they were shortchanged, the seniors should have been too. But the fact is that two wrongs don't make a right.
Harrah's has shown throughout this WSOP that they're listening to the players much more than in the past, and that they're genuinely concerned about making the WSOP the best possible experience for the greatest number of participants.
Even if the women in Event 15 came out on the wrong end this year, they should be glad that their complaints have actually helped out some of their peers. Whatever the solution Harrah's comes up with for next year's Ladies and Seniors events, the situation should be an improvement over this year.