Pub poker crisis as Redtooth come up short on tourney prize pool

Jon Pill
Posted on: November 25, 2020 06:01 PST

Redtooth Poker, the UK's largest pub poker league, has found itself the subject of some controversy this week. The issue arises out of Redtooth's recent announcement that the 2019 and 2020 leagues will share a prize pool in a single combined final.

Originally this was to be two separate tourneys with a £25,000 guaranteed prize pool each. The combined field in 2021 will be a single £30,000 guaranteed event instead.

This has led people to ask where the other £20,000 has gone.

Redtooth's facebook post on the subject explained that, "Following consultation with Orleans and rescheduling flights with British Airways [...] players that qualified from both tournaments will compete in one big tournament for a £30k prize pool. The two winners, one from each year will both receive a £5k sponsorship package with the opportunity to return to Las Vegas in 2022."

The new event will take place in May 2021.

The missing dough

The Redtooth Poker league is effectively a franchise.

Pubs can apply for a pack containing branded chips, tables, cards, and access to the league. They then pay a subscription which is Redtooth's main source of income. From that Redtooth fund league prizes, trophies, and the flights and prize pool of a Vegas tourney for the top finishers each year.

Combining the two years means roughly double the player pool but little increase to the prize pool.

"Milky159" posted on the twoplustwo forums complaining that, "They have taken away £20k from the prize pool after people had already won into the event."

Not everyone feels this way. Many were quick to point out that Redtooth's main competitor folded this year. To their mind, restructuring of the prize pool is a better option than trying to get the money from a liquidator.

In a detailed post to the Redtooth website Managing Director Martin Green broke down where the funds have actually gone.

"Following negative online comments by some players regarding VEGAS100 rescheduled date," Green wrote. "I feel compelled as Managing Director to go into some detail about how we have come to calculate the prize structure for VEGAS100 2019/20 and 2020/21.".

Unprecedented times

The breakdown of funds is fiendishly complex. Redtooth is a league, not a single tournament, so there a dozen or so main prizes. The tournament is just the tip of the iceberg.

Green manages to summarize the effects of COVID on the organization thus:

  • "We[][that is Redtooth][] received 8 weeks regular subscriptions from a 52 week year
  • We gave away £30k worth of FREE Restart Packs [for pubs to use in September].
  • In January 2020, we took delivery of 4,000 dated league winners trophies at a cost of £80k, the majority of these will have no use and will have to be thrown away [...]
  • 70 seats and a £5k sponsorship package equate to over 50% of the regular VEGAS100 prize pool of £150,000."

He is upfront about the lost value. He explains that most of the prize pool goes into the all-expenses-paid seats.

"Players suggesting that the prize pool is £20k light, then they are correct," Green writes. "In fact, the prize pool in total for VEGAS100 2021 is £70k light, but you have to take into account [...] that Redtooth are only trading at 15%."

The majority of fans appear supportive in the comments. Or else are treating the situation as the best of several bad alternatives.

After all, this year's stoic mantra is to shrug and say: "unprecedented times."

Featured image source: Flickr