WSOP 2021: Kelly Minkin defends herself against un-reg/re-reg allegations

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: October 08, 2021 16:32 PDT

Every so often there's a budding controversy involving supposed rules violations at the WSOP that turns out to be the proverbial tempest in a teapot. One such hullabaloo erupted on Friday, featuring two prominent pros, Adam Hendrix and Kelly Minkin. At issue was a happening from Thursday, when Minkin was allowed to unregister -- and then hours later, re-register -- into Day 1 play of Event #15 in the 2021 WSOP, $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em.

Hendrix, who posts on Twitter as @AdamHendrix10, offered up one of those situations when he posted about a "well known pro" who first asked to be unregistered from the event, and then later re-entered the same event. The first part is allowed, up until the first card is dealt to a given player. The second part is a no-no. The reason it's not allowed is to prevent players from table shopping -- unregistering to avoid an overly tough starting table.

Hendrix accused the unnamed player of doing exactly that:

"In general it's to not participate in a table lineup you think of as tough," Hendrix added in a follow-up Tweet.

Other pros soon brought out the virtual torches and pitchforks. Canadian pro Pablo Mariz's response was typical: "This is very wrong and 100% cheating… shouldn't protect the name of the person…"

Except it turned out that a rather different situation had unfolded involving Minkin, the anonymously cited player. And Minkin was quick to respond to the budding controversy.

'So far from accurate'

Minkin became aware of the exploding controversy within an hour or two of Hendrix's post. She quickly replied, posting, "This is about me and this is so far from accurate." Minkin then went on to explain that a different situation had occurred, a situation involving her and one of the other two players who was waiting at the late-registration table with Minkin:

JB Bryan and another player, who were seated with or near Minkin when she asked to unregister, confirmed her version of the events. Not only was Minkin allowed to unregister, she wasn't told that she couldn't re-register, which is among the WSOP's more arcane rules. She also didn't re-register immediately, but waited until a couple of hours had passed, perhaps (but that's not known) after the allegedly harassing player had busted.

Meanwhile. the angle-shooting accusations continued to fly. It wasn't until Hendrix did further checking and retracted his initial post that the controversy waned:

WSOP staff has wide latitude in certain situations

Despite retracting his accusations regarding Minkin, Hendrix did lob a grenade toward the WSOP with his comment that the series "needs to work on this policy for the future." The situation is rather different, though, than the reliance on the strict text itself.

The WSOP tournament rulebook runs to 32 pages of fine print and is designed to cover virtually any situation that might come up. The key, though, is "virtually." The WSOP's rules can never fully cover one area, and that's the many forms that human interactions can take. There are a lot of hard-and-fast rules at the WSOP, but there's also a catch-all rule designed to cover the most extreme and unusual "human" situations. It's Rule 51:

"Where a situation arises that is not covered by these rules, Rio shall have the sole authority to render a judgment, including the imposition of a penalty, in accordance with the best interests of the Tournament and the maintenance of its integrity and public confidence."

It sounds formal. In practice, though, this means that the tournament's directors have wide latitude to craft a new solution to a situation if the rulebook's formal text doesn't really fit. That's what happened here. This wasn't an angle shot at all, all parties now agree. Instead, it was a reasonable attempt to defuse a potentially poisonous personal situation.

Featured image source: Twitter/America's Cardroom