Compensation Can Be a Tricky Subject in Poker

Could you resist a chance to play poker with a legend?

Right now most of the poker world is focused solely on the convention center at the Rio.

But all of Vegas has been invaded by poker players from around the globe and there is action everywhere. Some of the more notable action takes place at Aria.

They say it’s the opportunity that makes the thief. That opportunity always comes along suddenly and that’s when the character is defined, in the spur of the moment, before you have time to think it through.

One guy bought into the daily $125 tournament at Aria but got a receipt for the $25,000 High Roller.

He couldn’t resist the temptation and sat down to play with the big boys.

It must been quite an experience for him and I’m sure he was sweating profusely behind his sunglasses and headphones.

Low-Stakes Player Got into $25k High Roller for $125

Tom Marchese 6
Tom Marchese busted to the "unknown" player.

Obviously it was the wrong move to sit down and play but after that he chose the right strategy.

When the field constitutes of world-class players there are so many moves from everyone that it’s often correct to play a solid ABC game.

That’s what he did and it’s probably not a wild guess that his aim was the min-cash of $40,000.

He played for about seven hours before he got a tap on his shoulder and was asked to follow along.

He did, for a bit, then he ran out of the casino.

Since you need an ID to register for a tournament his sprint didn’t do much good. But at least he got some exercise and a story to tell his friends.

He will not get another story because he is barred for life from Aria.

Apparently he knocked out a few pros. One of them was Jason Mercier. Now Mercier wants compensation from Aria.

Shit Happens in Tournaments and Life

ken lennaard 9
Ken Lennaard admits he acted like a punk ass in the early stages of his poker career.

It’s the opportunity that makes opportunists.

Compensation? My two immediate questions are how and why.

The question “How much” Mercier already answered himself, “…up to the buy in of $25,000.”

Shit happens, especially in tournaments. It’s called life.

Speaking of life, I think Mercier needs to compensate the other 9.9 billion people not as lucky as him in the lottery of life.

I watched him when he first broke out on the poker scene. Pretty much every punk ass kid behaves badly with instant success.

That is especially true in poker, myself included.

As many know it was always the sponsored pros that had the worst attitude during the peak. But the various companies never knew that, because they where never at the floor among the tables.

Even punk ass kids know how to put on a good poker face when the ATM is present.

The Neverending Battle for Compensation

Viktor Blom
Viktor Blom was never compensated for losing $4.2m.

I remember when the World Series was played in a tent at the valet parking of Binion’s. At a break a rugged-looking downtown denizen peeked into the tent.

He saw thousands of dollars just laying there on the table with just an old dealer to protect it. He grabbed a handful of tournament chips and ran.

With chips presumably worth $25,000 he was probably thinking, “I’m rich, bitch!”

The pistol-armed guards ran after and soon caught up with the opportunist.

Now, if I came back from break and my chips were gone, I would demand compensation. They would look at the video from the eye-in-the-sky and I would get my chips back.

That would have been adequate compensation.

What if I was playing with Jason Mercier and he recklessly folded his hand on my nuts and killed my hand? How would he compensate me for that?

What if he had a giant burrito for breakfast and changed the atmosphere and air at the table making me sick and eventually I go on to tilt off all my chips as a result?

What if I decided to go all in with J-2 because I couldn’t stand it? What if I cracked kings? Should I compensate Mercier? Should he compensate the guy with the kings?

What if Mercier said something stupid, making me so upset that I couldn’t play poker for the whole day?

It sure seems reasonable that he should compensate me for that.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of


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