Kremser-Gate – Thomas Kremser, the former Tournament Director of the EPT and one of the most respected people in the game, is allegedly at the centre of a cover-up concerning financial irregularities in EPT prize pools that, if true, will surely come as a massive shock to the European Poker community and anybody who has ever played in an EPT event, as revealed in the following pokerQ4.com exclusive.
In May 2011 it was announced via a press release that TK Poker Events – Thomas Kremer’s tournament operations and consultancy outfit – had broken ties with PokerStars, the EPT’s main sponsor, after a 7 year partnership. The announcement from Thomas Kremser and TK Poker Events which cited the need to review ‘the nature of their relationship’ and ‘the ramifications of the Black Friday moves his for his staff,’ amongst other reasons for their parting of ways, came as a big surprise to the poker media and regulars on the EPT circuit alike.
In a statement shortly after the press release, Thomas Kremser further explained his decision to part ways with the EPT saying:
“The time is right to explore new adventures and also to adjust our business model to emphasize closer cooperation with licensed casino operators.”
However, pokerQ4.com understands from a very respected player and tournament advisor on the European Poker circuit, who wishes remain to anonymous, that the reasons given publicly for the split between Thomas Kremser Poker Events (TK Poker Events) and PokerStars are very different from what went on behind closed doors. They are at best a face-saving exercise for the two parties, at worst a cynical cover-up instigated by PokerStars so as not to be embroiled in a scandal that would further compound their delicate legal position following Black Friday actions by the Department of Justice against online poker operators in the US.
The real reason for the split, according to our source, is that shortfalls were discovered in EPT prize pools – meaning, in essence, players were paid out short. At this stage it is important to stress that there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Thomas Kremser or TK Poker Events or indeed PokerStars, however, the news does the beg question how this could have happened, where the money went to and just how many EPT prize pools are now in question?
From my own experience as both an organiser of several live events and a player in many more, it is not inconceivable that shortfalls in EPT tournament prize pools could have gone unnoticed for quite some time. With EPT prize pools regularly exceeding €5 Million, shaving off a few tenths of a percent here and there must be very easy. Think about it, can you honestly say that for every live event you have ever played you have checked that the percentage distribution of the tournament prize pool matches the total amount of money in play?