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Any day now, the World Series of Poker will announce its full 2016 summer tournament schedule. Players anxiously await the dates for booking plane tickets and accommodations as the WSOP staff puts the finishing touches on the documents.

One of the tournaments that many players anticipate most is Colossus II, a return of the NLHE event that debuted in 2015. What has been announced thus far is that the $565 buy-in tournament will allow reentries, offer a $1 million first place prize, and open with three starting days – June 2, 3, and 4 – of two flights each.

Last year, however, there were some glitches. Many players were unhappy and now want to see if the WSOP is going to rectify any of the 2015 complaints for the upcoming summer event.

Colossus 2015 – The Good and the Bad

Last year’s inaugural Colossus tournament had its high points. There was a massive turnout of 22,374 entries after four starting flights, and of those buy-ins, there were 14,284 were unique entries who hailed from 98 different countries. The prize pool surpassed the $5 million guarantee by a wide margin when it was set at $11.187 million, out of which the winner was paid $638,880.

The top 2,241 players were paid at least $1,096, which was one of the problems. When the money bubble burst, there were approximately 300 eliminations in the first 30 minutes and about 550 in the first hour. Another 350 followed in the next 30 minutes. This mass exodus from the tournament created a payout line at the cashier cage that required many players to wait up to three hours.

As for the payouts themselves, the first prize was a point of contention for many due to low percentage of the prize pool. Most winners are paid 10% of the prize pool, which would have made a $1 million-plus payday, but the $638,880 prize was less than 6% of the total pool. It also meant that the rake collected by the WSOP was nearly twice the first-place prize.

WSOP noted that it was more important to play more players, which required a flatter payout structure than in most tournaments. WSOP Executive Director made a point to note that the winner “gets 1,130 ROI, highest ever,” but many professional players remained unhappy.

How WSOP Can Improve in 2016

Pay 10% of the prize pool to the winner.

It looks like that is already in place. The press release touting the upcoming series noted that Colossus “returns with $1 million 1st place prize.” If they stick to that, those complaints can be avoided.

Ensure available player seating.

Even though the Rio ballrooms have limited space available, the massive turnout for the 2015 event is indicative of the potential for 2016 entries. With six starting flights over the course of three days this year, it seems that seating will be available for all players. It will also be the second tournament of the WSOP, preventing overlap with too many other events.

Clarify reentry details.

Per a January 28 conference call held on Twitch by WSOP executives, players in the Colossus II will be able to enter every one of the six flights and cash multiple times. They can forfeit all but their largest stack to head into the money. Since reentry tournaments in various venues have different rules, and considering that many of the players in this tournament could be new to the WSOP, it would be wise to hand out detailed instructions for reentries when entries are purchased.

Prepare for initial bustouts.

When players are busting out by the hundreds once the money bubble bursts, there must be ample staff to direct those players. There should also be extra payout cages established in order to process those payouts in a timely manner. Forms and instruction sheets can even be handed out to players as they get in line to move the payment process even faster.

Consult with players.

When the details of the tournament are announced, WSOP executives should be open to listening to complaints as well as compliments. Social media allows for quick interactions, but overall good customer service is the only way to grow the WSOP for new players and retain the professionals who make up the player base.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.