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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Message from the Tournament Director

Springfield, VA - Just an update on a couple of items:

1) The high hand jackpot is being “retired”. After two hits paying out a total of $60, management has decided to end the progressive part of the jackpot. Now a standard $5 bonus will be paid to a high hand of four-of-a-kind or better while using both your hole cards. This bonus will be paid out “as the cards lie”, meaning that you do not have to go to a showdown to win the bonus (no "rabbit hunting" allowed). For example, if you flop four-of-a-kind and bet everyone out, you will still get the bonus, even though everyone folded out. This is to prevent someone from wanting to alter their strategy to get a call down to the river (of course, that could lead to a bad beat, which leads me to the following):

2) The bad beat jackpot will remain in place, currently at $20. The money for this jackpot comes from any additional funds from the tournament fee. The minimum qualifying hand for the bad beat jackpot is losing with a full house consisting of aces full of jacks (three aces and two jacks). One hole card must be played by the winner and loser in order for the bad beat jackpot to be paid. Approximately 75% of the jackpot will be paid to the loser with the remaining 25% going to the winner. This jackpot will also fund the high hand bonus (and possibly bounties) and other operating expenses (such as the Player of the Year and Rising Star trophies) not covered by the tournament fees (this will make sure the tournament fee is never more than $5, except for first time Main Event players who will pay $10 for their first Main Event tournament), so its value may fluctuate.

3)The Main Event tournament fee for first time participants is $10. This is due to the cost of the winner's trophy that was incurred by the inaugural Main Event participants. For returning Main Event participants, the tournament fee is the "standard" $5. The excess funds from the tournament fees will go into the bad beat jackpot (subject to further distribution as explained above).

4) The “Rookie of the Year” award has been changed to the “Rising Star” award. This is because I do not want to limit the award to just new players, since there may not be enough “rookies” in future years. This award will go to the best new player or player who has shown the most improvement from the prior year. Of course, “improvement” can be measured on different levels. Although I will take the poll into consideration, the Tournament Director will make the final decision. This award has been retired.

5) I am going to tweak the Player of the Year point values for next season, giving extra points for the cashing players. In addition to the current point system, the following will be implemented (with a minimum of 5 players):

· 3 bonus points for first, 1 bonus point for second
· 5 bonus points for first, 3 bonus points for second, 1 bonus point for third
· 7 bonus points for first, 5 bonus points for second, 3 bonus points for third, 1 bonus point for fourth

In the unlikely event there are more than four cashing positions, then the first place bonus points will increase by 2 and then the second place will receive the previous first place bonus and so on. This gives a little more weight to winning events (and a pretty huge weight to winning large events).

6) Questions have been asked about the 2009 schedule. Even with the current economic conditions, the MPT will continue in 2009. Although nothing has been planned as of yet, I imagine the two Shore House events (be they Spring, Summer or Fall) will continue on to 2009.

Due to recent changes in the playability of video poker in Atlantic City, alternate venues may be chosen. We are establishing dialogs with the other casino properties in order to have new tournament hosts. With the market the way it is and the rumors of possibly four casinos going Chapter 11, this may be a daunting task. I would not be opposed to holding the event at the Sheraton (or other viable hotel), providing the cost is acceptable (I’ve stayed there many times before I got comped rooms in AC and it is a very nice hotel). I believe the Las Vegas event will happen again in 2009. I would consider other venues such as Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun, Reno/Tahoe, Tunica, Gulfport/Biloxi, New Orleans, etc, or even a non-gaming venue (if you can imagine that). We could have had an event at Turning Stone over Memorial Day weekend, but there was not enough interest.

2008 was a busy year for the MPT, as we expanded from four tournaments in 2007 to seven regular events plus the Main Event in 2008, in fact, having six straight months of tournaments! I think for 2009 we may set a six tournament schedule plus the Main Event. My job keeps me from really having one until after April 15 (although I am currently planning on being in AC in January), I am close enough to be pretty flexible regarding the schedule. The main thing is booking the venues far enough in advance where we can get a good attendance.

I believe that is all for now. I welcome your questions and/or comments regarding anything that I have mentioned. Thank you for making the Tour as great as it is, because it is the players who make the tour what it is, and I look forward to a successful Main Event (with a few surprises in store) as well as a successful 2009 tour.

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