There's another series of big tournaments at the Bellagio this week, bringing in the big name players. When I went to check out the 10-20NL game Sunday night to see if there were any fish, there was a five handed game that included WSOP bracelet winners Huck Seed (main event, 1996), and Joe Awada (7-card stud, 2004), and also another guy I don't know, but whose picture is up on the wall in the poker room there. Figuring this was probably not a soft enough table for me, I left.
Most of the big-name players now are sponsored by internet poker sites to play in the major tournaments and wear gear baring their name and logo in exchange for the entry fee for the tournament. Many unknown players are being sponsored, now, too. I met two such players yesterday playing 2-5NL at the Wynn. One guy sat down to my right wearing a polo shirt with "goldenpalace.com" written all over it. He said he had just come in 10th at some $10K event over at the Plaza. They sponsor him because he is the winningest player on their website, having made around $400K playing mostly $150-$300 limit. He came to play $2-5 because he wanted to play with his buddy, who was already playing at the table. They were about 21 and still in college in Chicago. Anyway, the details of his sponsorship is that they pay the $10K entry fee, but he has to pay his own travel expenses.
Another player at the table was a girl in her late 20's (I think) wearing a "cardroom.com" hat. This is a relatively unknown website, but I had met a guy on the strip a couple months ago who worked for them. He gave me a t-shirt and his email address, and he told me that cardroom.com wanted to sponsor some players. Needless to say, I tried emailing him; unfortunately, I got no response. When I saw this girl with the hat, though, I asked her where she got it.
"They sponsored me for the $1500 tournament today," meaning the first of the big tournaments at the Bellagio. I told her about my encounter with the cardroom representative on the strip.
"Oh yeah? What was his name?" she asked.
"I think it was Josh."
"Oh, ok. He doesn't work for them anymore. I could give you Todd's number, though, if you want."
She told me that they don't pay the entry fees. She didn't explain it very well, but from what I understand, cardroom will add 30% or something to any winnings that you get. While this would be nice, I'd prefer to just get the entry fee paid for, since that would decrease the volatility a lot more. Also, I imagine it would make tax season a bit more complicated. In any case, I figured it was worth looking into.
So, I got Todd's number. Just a few minutes ago I called him and left a message. Somehow I doubt anything will come of it, but it's worth a try.