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IPT Announces Slashed Payouts and a Payment Plan
Nov 6, 2006, 4:47 PM

In a shocking reversal of earlier pledges, International Pool Tour officials began informing players on Nov. 3 that the $3 million in winnings owed to them from the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship would be reduced by two-thirds to $1 million.

The announcement was just the latest bombshell from the troubled tour, which had notified players days earlier that the three remaining events on its 2006 schedule — representing $2.27 million in prize money — would be postponed, likely until spring 2007.

The developments fanned a growing firestorm of protest from the tour's 150 members, as well as the 50 additional players who competed in the World Open in early September. Players and their pool-industry allies began preparing for legal action against the IPT and calling for the creation of a players' union that could bolster their position.

“What needs to happen is that all of us players need to come together and put a stop to this,” said IPT member Charlie Bryant, who had yet to be paid his $25,000 in winnings from the World Open.

Tour founder Kevin Trudeau had promised players their tardy prize payouts for weeks after the conclusion of the World Open on Sept. 10. In an e-mail to players dated Oct. 23, Trudeau announced that a financing package related to the tour's pending purchase by Asian billionaire Stanley Ho had been finalized, allowing prize funds to be delivered within the following week. But on Nov. 3, IPT bosses including Executive Director Jon Denny and Tour Director Deno Andrews began notifying players that they would be paid one-third of the money they're owed from the World Open. Payments would come in three installments over two months, they said. “We've been instructed to tell players that that's all that can be done at this time,” Andrews told BD. Trudeau was not available for comment at BD's press time.

Both Andrews and Denny insisted that the IPT was not preparing to file for bankruptcy, and that the company was moving forward with plans for a 2007 season.
“I continue to work on the television production, sponsors and sites for 2007,” Denny said. “We are actively involved in 2007 and have had positive response from blue-chip sponsors.”

Competing in the 2007 season could be a hard sell to players, in light of the World Open's slashed prize fund and uncertainty regarding the remaining events in the current season. In a terse e-mail released on Oct. 30, tour officials announced that they were postponing the final three events of 2006: the $1.27 million IPT Masters 8-Ball Championship, set for Nov. 26-Dec. 3 in Chicago, Ill., and the $1 million King of the Hill Invitational and 2007 Tour Qualifier, both set for Dec. 12-17 in Las Vegas. The events likely would be postponed until February or March of 2007, and both likely would take place in Chicago, the release stated.

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