WSOP Main Event Payouts: “1/6 Going to First Is Absolutely Insane”

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Once again next year, the World Series of Poker Main Event will carry a $10 million guaranteed first place prize. First making an appearance this year, the eight-figure guaranteed payday for first place helped draw in 6,683 entrants, with Sweden’s Martin Jacobson taking down the title proudly draped in a flag from his home country.

WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel took to Twitter on Friday to thank players for their feedback on the
preliminary 2015 WSOP schedule, which was released earlier this week. In response, he was met with a bevy of payout suggestions about the Main Event, several questioning the need to guarantee $10 million to first.

“Everybody loves the $500 and the MM, everybody hates the $10m GTD first place. Listen to your customers. You’re above gimmicks,” wrote Eric jakz101pokerCrain. David Davidp18 Peters added, “1/6 going to 1st in this big of field is absolutely insane. Payouts in MTTs are way too top-heavy as it is, don’t make it worse.” Last year, the tournament had a $62 million prize pool, with $10 million, or 16%, going to Jacobson. Here is the Tweet from Effel:

Justin looshlePechie also weighed in on Twitter, opining, “Flatter payouts are better for poker IMO. 1/6 of money to one person in a 6k field will be looked back as absurd in 10 years.” David “ODB” Baker added, “If you guys don’t deliver the numbers, we as players suffer. Not worth a few extra potential bodies.”

Last year, Jacobson and Felix Stephensen played heads-up for $5 million in real money in the Main Event, as the latter ultimately earned $5.1 million for second place. With such a disparity between the first and second place payouts, former WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess Tweeted:

Also up for debate was the number of places to pay in the Main Event. Last year, almost 700 people finished in the money, or about 10% of the field, with a minimum payout of $18,000. “In order to get 2x at bottom, there’s no good way to pay 1k places without a large field,” said Effel.

Well leave the final word on this topic to Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu, who Tweeted, “I agree strongly that flatter payouts are more important than guaranteeing a $10 million 1st prize. Increasing the chances of cashing increases the chance that recreational players will play not only this year, but also in future years.” Phil Hellmuth agreed. Negreanu added:

What do you think? Leave a comment here and let us know.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been saying this on different forums for nearly 10 years now, only to get completely bashed by everyone who read my posts. Happy to see that others are finally starting to agree.

    I also still think that the bubble in MTTs is stupid and that a small/gradual pay-out structure would be great for poker. For example, instead of just the bottom 10% of the field getting 2x (or 200%) of the buy-in, pay 15% of the field and have the bottom pay-outs be 20% of the buy-in, then 40%, then 60%, etc. going all the way up to the normal pay-out structure. This way, you wouldn’t have so many fold-fests before the bubble and you also don’t have all-in-fests after the bubble. It would also eliminate massive hand-for-hands which are completely boring and tedious.

    I wonder if this will ever be a thing in the future…

    • The size of the top prize in the WSOP ME is irrelevant. Concentrate on flattening the prize fund landscape and you will see attendance rise and beat the $10 million. The Main Event – unlike High Roller events – does not need $$ at the top to attract thousands because it already is a magnet for every serious player on the planet. Flatten the payouts and see attendance swell.There is – of course – the possibility that the WSOP does not want the numbers to increase and in this case they are right to restrict the field by making it exclusive by making it $$ top-heavy discouraging poker players from playing.

    • Totally agree that $10M for first is ridiculous and has no bearing on attracting more players. Recreational players do not for the most part have $10k to spend on a tournament, so having said that, I believe that all WSOP events should payout 20% of the field with the prize pool being heavily weighted towards the top 1%.

      This will allow more recreational players who come to the WSOP with poker budgets under $5,000 greater chances to min cash and beyond in the events they play which are the $1k to $3k range events. Give them a chance to make money that can be used in other events as well as sit n go’s and satellites where they could earn seats to the main.

      The more recreational players going home around the world that can say they made money, the greater the chance more people will come out the next year to do the same.

      But don’t think $10M for first place in the main will change anything, it won’t. Giving players a way to make $10k to buy in will…

    • Flatter payouts would def increase the draw of recreational players. They have 75 events, there’s an easy way to test it out.

    • Hey negraneu u fuckin tool. Why do you never make comments about the site you are representing??
      Ur a fuckin scum, i assume my comments get blocked, but fuck you negraneu

    • People keep saying there will be more turnout if there is a flatter pay scale which I’m not sure is true, but nobody seems to be considering ESPN advertising the broadcast of a tournament with 10 million for first and what WSOP makes from their tv deal. Will more people watch a tournament that has 10 million for first? probably. Do the people watching care if the payouts are top heavy? No

    • People keep saying there will be more turnout if there is a flatter pay scale which I’m not sure is true, but nobody seems to be considering ESPN advertising the broadcast of a tournament with 10 million for first and what WSOP makes from their tv deal. Will more people watch a tournament that has 10 million for first? probably.

      How do you explain more people watching in past years than the last couple then?

    • online poker is banned and the poker boom was more than 10 years ago

      So it has nothing to do with the 10 million 1st place money.

    • why would that hurt ratings? Having commercials on ESPN advertising 10 million for first certainly doesn’t hurt. WSOP no doubt cares about their ratings. Point is, they may have different goals for the tournament than the people playing the event have but nobody seems to have considered the ratings for the main event in their comments and quotes

    • why would that hurt ratings? Having commercials on ESPN advertising 10 million for first certainly doesn’t hurt. WSOP no doubt cares about their ratings. Point is, they may have different goals for the tournament than the people playing the event have but nobody seems to have considered the ratings for the main event in their comments and quotes

      I was referring to ratings for the main event.

    • Did they really not deal and play for 5 fucking million dollars? Even if they did not officially, can anyone confirm it?