Poker Community Upset at WSOP Colossus Payouts

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The final numbers for the 2015 World Series of Poker Colossuswere unveiled on Sunday night and, although the tournament broke records across the board, a chunk of the community was outraged over the 5.7% of the prize pool allocated to first place. Meanwhile, 2,241 entrants of the 22,374 who entered will finish in the money, with a minimum cash of $1,096.

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WSOP’s Seth Palansky told PocketFives on Sunday that the payouts for the $565 buy-in tournament that had an $11.1 million prize pool should come as no surprise: “It’s the same standard payout we use. Just look at any other of our events and adjust for the number of players and spots paid… The mathematical formula is called the Golden Ratio. All correlate up and down in relation to other places.”

We did the math. Here are the first place prizes and the percent of the prize pool allocated to the winner for each of the four events to finish thus far at the 2015 WSOP. However, no event approached the 22,000-plus entrants the Colossus had:

Event 1: $75,704 (22%)
Event 2: $466,120 (23%)
Event 3: $251,022 (20%)
Event 4: $201,812 (24%)

Twitter was ablaze with players saying the 5.7% to first place was too low and that too many places paid out. Take PocketFiver Blair blur5f6 Hinkle (pictured), for example, who Tweeted, “Some poker players were calling the #Colossus WSOP event the lottery. After payouts, it’s been downgraded to scratchers tickets.”

Allen albari Bari added, “The 2,200 people that cash in the colossus should do the right thing and hand the winner $150.” Bari and Hinkle are both WSOP bracelet winners.

WSOP officials were responding via Twitter late into Sunday night. WSOP Vice President Ty Stewartwrote, “We like getting praise, but sometimes you have to do the right thing. Going top-heavy for PR value + short-changing thousands would have been worse… I think it’s dangerous to look at one pay spot in isolation. Shouldn’t look top down, gotta look bottom up all the way up the tiers.”

Another explanation from WSOP’s Twitter account was released on Sunday: “It’s the principle of what goes up, must come down.The more you pay (a record 2,241), the less for top. Winner gets 1,130 ROI, highest ever.”

Of each $565 entry into the Colossus, $500 was allocated to the prize pool, while $50 was withheld for tournament fees and $15 was withheld for tournament staff. Therefore, $65 of each $565 buy-in never reached the prize pool. Multiply that by 22,374 and you’ll see that the WSOP raked $1.45 million, more than double what the winner will receive.

WSOP officials told PocketFives that payout structures were posted ahead of time, but we were unable to locate any information. The conversation on Twitter seemed to insinuate that the payouts were being done on the fly given the number of entrants was unheard of in live poker. As Stewart put it, “There is no roadmap 4 paying 2,241 players.”

What do you think of the Colossus payouts? Comment here and let us know.

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19 COMMENTS

    • Flatter payout structures are good in general in larger events. Very top heavy structures are a reason why lots of great players fail at traveling for live events. There are simply not enough big prizes to win to accommodate the amount of great players our there.With all that being said I fully understand why people are upset about this. Since the prize pool was estimated to be over 10 million lots of players went out of their way because they wanted the chance to play for a million dollars. This was a fair assumption and they were not afford the opportunity to do this. Nor were they given any warning about this.Is the World Series doing this for the good of poker? Maybe it was a situation where it benefited both parties. Its good for grinders and its also great for them. If more people walk away with money those people will have more money to spend on their properties and on future events during the series. Its not like they did this for the main event but after the main event it probably doesn’t matter if there is more money in circulation since most people go home after that.

    • They’ll get the same amount.75% of the crowd was people genuinely happy they got to say they played in a WSOP bracelet event .

    • Having been in the room when they announced the payouts I think it’s safe to say it was nothing short of a disaster. If you’re gonna give first place historically low payout (5.7%) this should be announced months in advance and not after day 2 has already started. Most of the people out there knew that the tourney was a crap shoot but were lured by a million $ cash prize. 640k was quite underwhelming and a disappointment given the record numbers. Having said that they’ll get as many if not more people.. Could have easily gotten another 10-15k entries if they had the capacity to support it.

    • I know tournament costs are high but 1.45m seems a bit rediculas. Glad a big light has been shun on poker organisers because this sort of shadyness is becoming all to common!

    • I know tournament costs are high but 1.45m seems a bit rediculas. Glad a big light has been shun on poker organisers because this sort of shadyness is becoming all to common!

      The worst part is the majority of that is going to the house and not the dealers.. These guys worked their asses off and worked around the clock with little to no breaks. It’s a shame they don’t get better treatment because trust me you can take for granted a great dealer compared to a horrible one. Nothing like having a 15 bb stack and getting 1 hand every 5 mins because the dealer decides to shuffle 15 times and can’t figure out antes/blinds without players help. Basically if you could breath and had a pulse they would take you to deal. Unfortunately they didn’t reap the rewards of the extra rake

    • Does seem that 10% fee for the host is a lot compared to the first place payout. When the house gets more than first place that’s a public relations problem. Someone should have run a calculator and advertised “anticipated payouts” before the event began. I see why people are hot.

    • ” The more you pay (a record 2,241), the less for top.”I mean its still 10% of field. not like they paid extra spots

    • I’m sure the morons that aren’t happy will be extremely happy when they bust in 90th place and still make more than 10k. Yes we play to win 1st, but what are the ODDS of that happening. I am a big fan of the payouts.

    • Its not like they did this for the main event but after the main event it probably doesn’t matter if there is more money in circulation since most people go home after that.

      When they announced 10 million guaranteed for the Main everybody was upset that it was too top heavy and forced WSOP into flattening the structure. Now everybody is mad that Colossus was too flat. Can’t win

    • There’s something wrong when the biggest winner, by far, of this event will be the house.

    • When they announced 10 million guaranteed for the Main everybody was upset that it was too top heavy and forced WSOP into flattening the structure. Now everybody is mad that Colossus was too flat. Can’t win

      I kind of agree, although the WSOP needs to be more transparent and communicative about the payout structure for events. Kevmath and I cannot locate a table or anything that says what percent should have gone to first, for example.

    • Think about the little guys you big scary whales!!! Placing 2000th and making the $ of 20K ppl is a big deal for the guy who worked his butt off to afford to get into a wsop event of that magnitude. Not all of us “play for the win.” I truly wish that was the scenario tho. Poker is a tuff game for the novice and any little cash is a big accomplishment. You play online weekly for the same payout structures.

    • Think about the little guys you big scary whales!!! Placing 2000th and making the $ of 20K ppl is a big deal for the guy who worked his butt off to afford to get into a wsop event of that magnitude. Not all of us “play for the win.” I truly wish that was the scenario tho. Poker is a tuff game for the novice and any little cash is a big accomplishment. You play online weekly for the same payout structures.

      Most of the amateurs I came across were excited for the chance to win 1 million not 20k