The $565 buy-in Colossus tournament that helped kickoff the opening weekend of the 2015 World Series of Poker was one of the most successful initiatives in WSOP history.
Over 22,000 entrants, most of them amateurs, turned the Colossus into a record setter – the tournament allowed players to enter multiple times and the number of unique players was about 11,000.
Unfortunately, some poker players who failed to read the fine print turned much of the Colossus talk into arguments about payout structures, rake, and long lines.
Forget the fact that the WSOP Colossus was likely the softest field tournament at the WSOP in a decade and attracted over 250% more entries than the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
And amazingly, the LA Times led with how huge the first prize is!
“Here’s how to make a 1,130 times return on your investment: Enter the World Series of Poker Colossus event, where an initial $565 investment can turn into $638,880. Well, at least for the winner.”
Forget that 22,300 of the tournament’s 22,374 entrants weren’t complaining, at least by my unscientific calculations.
None of that matters when a few dozen poker players are dissatisfied with the payout structure, and decide to try and hijack what was one of the most important poker moments in recent memory.
Instead of celebrating the Colossus they … defecated… on it.
It’s a shame that during one of the true bright spots for tournament poker since the heyday of the poker boom, a subjective argument over payout structures would detract from the success of an event that brought thousands of amateur poker players to the World Series of Poker.
And to be clear, these players not only flooded the Rio; they flooded the card rooms all over Las Vegas.
It’s as if some poker pros don’t understand that having thousands of amateurs inundate your games more than makes up for your unhappiness with a payout structure.
The worst part of the whole thing is the payout structure was known in advance…if people bothered to look.
Instead they decided to complain after the fact.
Flat payouts are better for pros
Yes, the tournament featured an extremely flat payout structure, but so what?
All this means is bad beats and coolers won’t have a huge impact on pay jumps, more people will get paid, and more amateur players will be putting their name on the Bellagio and Aria cash game waiting lists – something every poker player should want.
Unfortunately, the poker community has become used to “playing for first” and used to the top-heavy payout structures where only the top two or three finishers are really rewarded, so they think this is best.
The idea that finishing first should earn $1 million while finishing sixth is only worth $80,000, instead of $600,000 and $125,000, is a disservice to the sixth place finisher. Most of the time the difference in skill between two final table participants is negligible, yet the rewards are vastly different.
How many times have we seen a player on the cusp of becoming the chip leader and taking a stranglehold on the tournament suffer a crushing bad beat and get eliminated in fifth place?
Furthermore, look at how many top level players have never won a major tournament. It’s not a lack of skill, it’s just variance.
In my opinion, poker pros should have been calling for flatter payouts for years, particularly now that sponsorships are so hard to come by. It’s become a challenge to survive as a tournament pro, and flatter payouts would lessen the need for backing as tournament winnings would be more consistent.
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