In a recent PokerStars blog post by Lee Jones, an interesting new format for tournament payout structures has been proposed – the double bubble. What this concept essentially entails is that 50% of the field will receive their buy-in back and the top 8% will share the remainder of the prize pool in more or less the traditional way. According to Jones, these tournaments should make their first appearance during the next PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA).
His blog entry explains the idea that paying out a greater number of people is essentially good for poker, as it ensures that more players will have a good day. That, combined with the fact that a winner in any big tournament will still receive a big, basically life-changing amount, makes this decision both reasonable and justified.
Bird in the Hand
Players often talk about how they don’t enter tournaments for a min-cash. But as explained by Jones, once the bubble phase kicks-off, a lot of players with shorter stacks will resort to the something is better than nothing mentality and do whatever it takes to walk away with at least some money in their pockets.
My point is this: whatever people’s plans and dreams are at the beginning of a tournament, for most folks, there comes a point where locking up some money right now is preferable to the possibility of more money later. Call it the “Bird in the hand” theory. Lee Jones, PokerStars Blog
PCA as the Perfect Testing Ground
Although this may not be a revolutionary idea, it certainly is an interesting one that may appeal to players whose primary reason for playing is to have a good time. And as is often the case with poker, it will probably attract a number of pros who believe they will have a significant edge in that kind of setup.
PokerStars believe that a tournament like the Caribbean Adventure will be a perfect testing ground for this novel idea – it attracts a big enough number of recreational players and in general the atmosphere is more laid-back and relaxed in comparison to other similar poker festivals.
There are certainly arguments to be made both for and against this concept, but probably the best thing to do is simply to wait and see what happens. PokerStars tend to do their research before coming out with these types of novelties. Since they have decided to give it a go, there is likely a good reason to do so that includes the numbers to support it.