Season XIII of the European Poker Tour (EPT) began in August and at that time, a change to the payout structure of the tournaments was announced. It was decided that it would best for the players and the poker economy to increase the number of players in each tournament that cashed, expanding the payout positions from 15 percent of the field to 20 percent.
In an interview with PokerNews, PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson explained some of the thought process behind the decision:
We started looking at the payouts in a vacuum and to see what made sense. We took all the preconceptions out of it. We saw that if we would pay out 20 percent instead of 15 percent, we could give 5 percent of the field a do-over. It’s effectively like saying ‘Thanks for coming, I hope you had a lot of fun. Sorry you didn’t make it into the big money, good luck the next time because here’s money for another shot.” If someone has a buy-in to play another poker tournament, that’s a good thing. So that’s the direction we ended up going.
“To keep a healthy poker economy, a solid liquidity for live tournament poker, you need more winners,” Johnson added.
As you can see, the idea was to allow more people to go home happy, even if it meant decreasing the amount of money that would go to the top few finishers. That made many pro poker players unhappy, as they rely on those big payouts to help make up for the tournaments in which they bust out of the money. Not long after the interview, PokerStars went back to a 15 percent payout structure for €50,000 Super High Roller and €25,000 Single-Day High Roller events.
Today, via the PokerStars blog, Johnson announced that the powers that be have rethought the payout issue some more and have reworked it yet again. He said that there was a lot of feedback, causing them to discuss specifically two main issues: how deep the payouts go and what the minimum cash should be in a given tournament. As to the payout depth, he wrote that 20 percent is now the “floor” for payouts rather than the “ceiling.”
As for the min-cash, he said:
…. many players were ok with a 1.1x type cash but many felt like they just got their money back and didn’t ‘win’ anything. Since one of the key points in our change was to create more winners and more winning moments and the 1.1x cash doesn’t necessarily qualify as a winning moment to some of our players an amendment was needed. Therefore we decided to go back and raise the min-cash to something with more substance and it is now in the 1.5x range.
Thus, the EPT has implemented the following:
• 12 to 15 percent payout structure for all events with buy-ins of €10,000 or more
• 17 to 20 percent payout structure for all other events
• Min-cash will be “around” 1.5 times the buy-in for the events with deeper payout structures