Last month, World Series of Poker officials announced that the Main Event would again pay $10 million to first place. This sparked controversy between players whether the event should pay $10 million to first or whether it should pay more players. Debate continued to the point where officials started listening and now the 2015 Main Event structure has been changed.
In a press release issued earlier today, officials announced that the Main Event will drop the $10 million guarantee for first place and instead they will pay 1,000 players. According to WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, “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. Our players understand numbers, and 2015 now presents the best odds ever to leave the Main Event a winner.”
More Players Paid and Potential for Final Table to Leave Millionaires
As part of the press release, WSOP revealed what the prize pool will look like next year provided that numbers remain the same. A total of 6,683 players entered the 2014 Main Event and if participation remained flat, first place would receive $8 million in 2015 with every player at the final table guaranteed at least $1 million.
Payouts for the bottom half would remain relatively flat in this structure. Based on last year’s numbers, players finishing in 694 through 1,000 would receive $15,000 each. From there, the money ladder begins. According to the presser, this strategy is being used to help boost attendance in the Main Event.
Paying 1,000 players would be equal to approximately 15 percent of the field based on 2014 numbers and officials believe that spreading out the prize pool will encourage repeat players. Last year, WSOP officials awarded a $10 million guaranteed prize for first place. This was expected to significantly boost attendance but in the end, attendance only increased 5%.
Change Should Help Boost First-Time Participation
While some professional players will likely balk at the changes, these changes should result in higher participation by first-time and amateur players. While cashing in a major tournament isn’t a big deal for many professional players, it is a significant accomplishment for many amateur players.
A player that manages to earn their way into the Main Event via a satellite may have dreams of becoming a world champion, but many will settle to just walk away with a profit. Cashing in a World Series event is also inherently different from other tournaments. The World Series of Poker is recognized worldwide as being poker’s premier tournament series and pros are often judged by their performances in WSOP events.
A five percent increase in prize payouts may not look huge, but psychologically it will have an impact on some players. A player that looks at a 6,600-player field may question whether they can make it to the money at 660th place. However, when that number becomes 1,000, players start to believe that they have enough skill to “make the money.” And if you make the money in a poker event and can catch fire, anything can happen. At least that is the mindset of some players.
Complete Schedule Forthcoming
The presser concluded with a promise of a complete schedule to be released shortly.
A preliminary schedule was released last month revealing that the 2015 World Series of Poker will run from May 27 through July 14. Several events were confirmed, including the first ever $565 Colossus Event that will boast a guaranteed prize pool of $5 million. Officials hope this event will produce the largest live tournament field in history.
Once again, there will be over 60 gold bracelet tournaments on the schedule, capped by the Main Event on July 5 through July 14, 2015. The complete schedule along with structure sheets will be available on WSOP.com.