EPT Change Tour Payout Structure Once Again

PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson

Back in August, PokerStars announced that they were changing the payout structure for EPT tournaments so that instead of the usual 15% of the field making the money, that in the future 20% of the field would receive a payout. In the month that followed Stars have now amended their changes on two occasions due to the reaction from players.

The whole reason behind the initial change was to give more players the chance to at least win their money back. The number of winners was increased, although by doing so the min-cash was reduced to just 1.1x the buy in. This was explained to Pokernews at the time by PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson as giving an additional 5% of the field a "do over" (meaning a free-ride), effectively 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.'

However, by paying that many more people, the top-end prize money was inevitably affected, which disgruntled the pros on the tour who need the incentive of a big win to offset the variance inherent in large field MTT's.

In response to this criticism, PokerStars responded by changing the % of field payouts back to 20% for for €50,000 Super High Roller and €25,000 Single-Day High Roller events, which inevitably contain largely serious, pro-players who were against the change.

In light of continued debate about the new system, earlier this week Johnson announced some more changes, which represent a much bigger compromise to players concerns. Speaking on Monday Johnson said:

"Specific to the payouts, while we listened to feedback at the time and made changes to two of the events then and there, we’ve listened and read even more since. As mentioned in discussions during Barcelona, we strongly believe (and have crunched the numbers and the available data as well) that paying out a slightly higher percentage of players is better for the overall growth of the game we all love. It allows for approximately 5% more players to go home feeling like they won something and/or have another shot at winning top prizes at final tables in a new event. We also spoke with the High Roller community as there are definite differences in the poker economy between players playing five and six figure buyin events and players playing three and four figure buyin events (point #1 below)."

The announced changes now mean that any event with a five-figure buy-in or more will remain at the 12%-15% payout structure whereas all other events will have a payout structure of between 17%-20%, with the 20% being "a ceiling rather than floor".

Players had also complained at the min-cash amount and as a result the min-cash in events has been increased to 1.5x so that players in the money feel like they have actually "won" something, rather than just been given their money back.

While the initial idea was met with some harsh criticism, especially from the pro-players, it is at least encouraging that PokerStars have obviously listened to their customers and come up with a good compromise by amending their plans to keep more players happy.



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