The World Series of Poker has made a change to the payout structure of the 2015 Main Event, guaranteeing payouts to far more players but removing the $10 million guarantee that existed last year for the winner.
That announcement is a change from the initial plan that was released last month, in which the $10 million guarantee that was offered to last year’s champion was to be extended to this year’s Main Event.
Why did the WSOP change its mind? It may have been because of the overwhelmingly negative reaction that the $10 million guarantee received upon its announcement.
Many players immediately took to Twitter to point out that such a guarantee made the payouts in poker’s biggest event very top-heavy, potentially consolidating a large portion of the poker economy in the hands of just a few players.
With much of the field made up of amateur, recreational players who barely dream of winning the tournament as a possibility, they said, the $10 million guarantee didn’t really create buzz, but paying more players certainly would.
While WSOP officials initially argued against these points, they eventually decided to send a survey to members of the poker community to get their opinions.
It seems as though the broader poker world agreed with the players who were against the big top prize, as the WSOP decided this week to scrap it and put into place two other promotional ideas instead.
Top Thousand Players Will Cash in Main Event
First, the WSOP Main Event will now guarantee that a minimum of 1,000 players will make the money, allowing more players to walk away saying they were winners in the most prestigious poker tournament in the world.
Last year, just 693 players made the money, meaning that about 44 percent more players will make money in 2015.
The 1,000 payouts are contingent on a field of at least 5,000 players, but that’s essentially a guarantee: every WSOP since 2005 has hit that mark, and the last nine have seen over 6,000 runners.
“The dream of life-changing money is core to the DNA of the WSOP Main Event and we also want to make it easier to experience playing in poker’s Big Show,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director. “Our players understand numbers, and 2015 now presents the best odds ever to leave the Main Event a winner.”
With so many people to pay out, however, some winners will have to be content with taking home a little less cash.
The minimum payout will be just $15,000: still significant when compared to the $10,000 buy-in, but less than the $18,406 that those who just barely squeezed into the money made last year.
Many other prizes will have to be reduced slightly as well, and if the 2015 Main Event draws the same field as last year’s tournament, the winner will “only” take home $8 million.
Top Nine Players Will Win $1 Million
The other change will add a little more glory to reaching the November Nine.
In 2015, every player who makes it to the final table will be guaranteed a prize of at least $1 million, setting them clearly apart from the rest of the field.
Last year, Mark Newhouse earned $730,725 for his ninth place finish.
The WSOP Main Event will begin on July 5 with the first of three Day 1 flights.
The tournament will continue through July 14, when the final table will be determined, and then pick up again in November to crown poker’s 2015 World Champion.