Investigation Underway After Six-Figure Dealer Mistake at WSOP Paradise

December 20, 2023
Mark Patrickson

A significant dealer mistake has sparked controversy and an ongoing investigation at the WSOP Paradise Main Event final table.

The error cost Australian poker pro Daniel Neilson a staggering 10 million chips, equivalent to approximately $116,000 in equity.

The incident unfolded during a three-handed play, where Neilson was up against eventual champion Stanislav Zegal.

Neilson, holding AsKd, was out-flopped by Zegal's KcQc. The dealer, however, mistakenly informed Neilson that Zegal's count was 48 million instead of the actual 38 million!

This miscalculation left Neilson with a mere 5.2 million chips, instead of the 15.2 million he should have had after the hand.

Incredibly, the error went unnoticed by everyone at the table and on the live stream, despite on-screen graphics displaying the correct amount of chips Neilson should have had left.

Neilson, who eventually finished in third place, expressed his disappointment over the incident. He said that while he understands that mistakes can happen, he believes that more procedures should be in place to prevent such errors, especially during crucial stages of high-stakes tournaments like the WSOP Paradise Main Event.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart confirmed that an investigation into the incident is ongoing. However, he also stated that it’s unlikely that Neilson will receive any financial compensation for the dealer error.

According to Stewart, the official position in any tournament is that if action was accepted by all parties, there would be no recourse once tournament play has concluded. Harsh, but true.

“The official position in any tournament is that if action was accepted by all parties there would be no recourse once tournament play has concluded.

“Any corrective action would need to take place while the player remains in the event. We do not, nor does any operator in the world that I’m aware, retroactively award ICM value or any monetary compensation in such situations. We are thoroughly reviewing the matter.”

As you might expect, this mistake has brought the potential impact of dealer errors in tournaments that are being shown around the world.

While the dealers are generally very good, mistakes do happen and in this case, it proved very costly indeed.

This is not the first time a dealer error has occurred at a WSOP event. In the 2010 and 2019 WSOP Main Events, similar incidents were reported.

The WSOP organisers, while acknowledging the unfortunate situation, have reiterated that they will examine the procedures in place and consider what they might be able to do to ensure such an error doesn't happen again in the future.

Of course, we would expect the likes of the WSOP to put out a statement such as this, but what can they really do? Human error will always be present in live poker, and any kind of double checking that would really reduce the risk of an error to almost zero will slow the game down too much.

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