WSOP 2015 ME – More Payouts, More Millionaires

By Phil Fuehrer

A few days back the WSOP reversed course on their $10 million guaranteed first place prize announcement for the 2015 Main Event – and, I couldn’t be happier.  Instead, there will be 1000 payouts – up to 20% of the field.  Additionally, if the 2015 field size meets or exceeds the 6683 that played the Main Event in 2014 then the entire final table will win a minimum of $1 million.  In 2014, only the top 7 broke the $1 million mark.

The WSOP ME has tended to pay out about 10% of the field, however, after last year’s $10 million guarantee for first, social media began buzzing about two items: 1) more people should be paid in a $10,000 tourney with field sizes that exceed 6000 runners, and 2) making the final table should be worth at least $1 million.  In response, the WSOP opened up an online survey, which is still accessible, to poll players’ opinions.  In the survey, respondents were asked how much “the WSOP Main Event Winner deserves” if the field size stays at 6683 players with choices ranging from $5 to $13 million, as well as how much a min cash should come in at (ranging from $11,000 to $20,000).  Two additional questions asked how much of the field should cash (7.5% to 20%) and what would make a player more likely to partake in the tournament (choices included the $10 million first place prize, 1000 payouts and a guaranteed $1 million for making the final table).

According to PokerFuse reporting the WSOP listened to the responses with Seth Palansky, WSOP.com’s Editor-in-Chief, noting that, “More than 86% of respondents support the 1,000 places paid and Top 9 becoming millionaires.”

The guarantee is now that 1000 places will be paid provided there are at least 5000 entrants.  That would be 20% of field cashing but based on actual/anticipated turnout the payouts should go to somewhere around 14.5% of the field – close to a 5% increase over the usual payout numbers.  It looks like a min-cash would come in at $15,000.

The WSOP has released a comparison of 2014 to 2015 if the number of entrants were identical (6683).  First place would still receive life-changing money taking down $8 million instead of $10 million.   The entire final table would be millionaires instead of only the top 7.   Nearly ever position payout would be slightly reduced, as compared to 2014, to pay out an extra 306 spots.

I believe this move creates a far healthier poker community while still creating an attractive main event (9 millionaires and an $8 million first place prize).  And, I’m very happy to see the tournament organizer (the WSOP) listening, and reacting, to their customers.  Now, if I only had the funds to actually participate….

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