This year’s edition of the European Poker Tour (EPT) is set to begin this week with the initial tournament in Barcelona.
PokerStars Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson has announced a range of changes such as the introduction of a Pot Limit Omaha High Roller at every stop of the EPT along with the possibility of introducing chess, backgammon and pinball tournaments in every stop. But the biggest change announced by him was that player payout would now be fixed at 20 percent of the playing field.
In a statement, Johnson said
It isn't going to have the top-end impact that some people may think. It's been something that we've been working on right down to the wire to make sure that the impact is overall a positive one for all players and also fits our goal of having more winners.
Johnson said that the minimum cash will be 1x-1.2x the buy-in for all players having 15 percent and 20 percent payout. He said that the decision was made in order to offer a better experience for all players while ensuring that winners received life-changing winnings. The EPT organization had moved from 10 percent to 15 percent in the tournament’s sixth edition. The move was welcomed and seen as a gold standard for payout percentages in tournaments. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) which had retained the 10 percent payout policy till last year also shifted to 15 percent this year.
Players who are regulars on the EPT have had mixed responses to the decision. Poker pro Mike McDonald said such a payout affects the bottom-line of winners but added that he understood that the new policy would help the EPT increase the number of players who register for tournaments.
Another player Jason Wheeler said that he understands the need for balance between rewarding higher number of players in a tournament against the few at the top but wanted to know if there was data to support the EPT’s decision. He questioned if the move was made to satisfy shareholders rather than players. Wheeler highlighted that most players he had spoken to were opposed to the 20 percent payout but added that if there was data to substantiate the decision he would back the initiative.
Other players like Tobias Peters and Jack Salter have also opposed the decision saying that 20 percent payout for recreational players was too much. Salter said that if there was data supporting the 20 percent payout it would be understandable for the EPT to test it out in one tournament but doing it across the board was too drastic.