PCA Payouts Flattened

There are more players at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this year than last, but thanks to a new flat payout structure, the first-place prize is significantly smaller.

When Canadian Poorya Nazari beat a field of 1,347 to take first at the 2009 PCA, he walked away $3 million. This year, the player who manages to best a field of 1,529 will take just $2.2 million.

The difference is that while 199 made the money in 2009, a total of 224 will this year.

And while the first payout level was just $2,500 above the $10,000 buy-in last year, it is $5k above it now.

“More players are getting paid and the players are getting paid better,” said PokerStars live poker specialist, player liaison and event host Neil Johnson. “It’s a much more significant return on your investment and it’s better for the poker economy as a whole. We get more players paid better.”

According to Johnson, the $3 million Nazari is credited with winning can be a bit misleading.

Last year PokerStars guaranteed the $3 million first-place prize and had to adjust the rest of the prize pool to compensate.

That meant a $1.9 million gap between first and third place money and inevitably, a chop was agreed upon when play went three-handed.

“I don’t care how much money you have, you are not flipping for that,” Johnson said. “We all know they are going to chop it at the top anyway, so all of PokerStars payouts are a little flatter at the top now.”

The bottom line is that 15% of the field is now getting paid rather than the one-time standard of 10%.

And while those at the bottom of the payout structure will do better than they have in the past, the money is coming straight from the top.

A fact not all the players are happy about.

“It’s terrible, I hate it,” said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. “We all are going to work harder and outlast more players and get less money. It’s a terrible idea.”

WPT title holder and recent PokerStars Sunday Million winner Mark Newhouse thought he would be playing paying for a much bigger first-place prize when he flew over the Bahamas this year.

Like Negreanu, he’s disappointed.

“I think it’s stupid. We were all expecting almost $4 million and they come out with this,” he said. “It’s a bad idea. You would think that they would want it to get bigger not smaller. It’s better for poker for first prize to get bigger.”

However, Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein said while the payout structure may hurt the eventual winner, it’s better for the field as a whole.

“I think the flatter payouts are a better thing,” he said. “The winner, sure he’s going to want more money, but if you think about it, what’s better for PokerStars? They’re an online gaming site and they would benefit more from putting the money back into the community.

“Also, in a tournament like this where there are so many online qualifiers for which a minimum cash would be a big deal; it’s a good thing. It creates better stories and it’s different here than say at Bellagio where everyone puts up their own $10k. In that instance steeper payouts might make more sense, but for this tournament, I think they did the right thing.”

In the end, the final four players will all make over $1 million and Johnson said he’s heard more positive opinions from the players than negative.

As a result, he believes even the players who run really deep in the event will walk away happy.

“The final two tables are all making six figures,” he said. “I can’t imagine anybody being unhappy with that.”

To find out who will get a piece of the $14,831,300 prize pool and follow all the 2010 PCA action, tune in to PokerListings’ Live Updates.

- With Files From Ed Sevillano

2010-04-28 07:24:18

I like a much flatter and higher percentage of players receiving prize money. Why?? Because, the more people that can be profitable at poker, the more that poker will be talked about and the more people, money, and interest comes back to the game. It is simple marketing. During the depression, almost every company stopped spending money on advertising. One did not. Once people had money again, which company grew the fastest?? The name of that company was Goodyear. Ever heard of them?? Flat is much, much better for the game as a whole. Think Big Picture people!! And, to noroll, I liked your suggestion.

2010-01-25 03:50:04

Well… I’m glad I spent 2-3 hours doing some heavy thinking and making numerous calculations to come up with my payout structure suggestion…

So it’s of NO interest to anyone out there?

Just curious…

2010-01-08 16:42:43

… And here are the payouts as I would like them to be. Same prizepool, but only 1080 players (12%)are paid and the structure is more “flat”: (more like a straight line you could say – as opposed to the structure Pokerstars is using which could be described as a steep curve)

1st $213,600
2nd $160,200
3rd $120,150
4th $93,450
5th $71,200
6th $53,400
7th $37,825
8th $26,700
9th $17,800
10-12th $13,350
13-15th $9,968
16-18th $7,476
19-27th $5,696
28-36th $4,450

91-99th $2,136

199-216th $1,068

397-414th $757

766-810th $534

991-1080th $392

2010-01-08 16:29:12

Here are the payouts for Pokerstars’ Sunday Million (January 3) with 8900 players, 1350 (15%) paid:

1st $254,184
2nd $186,900
3rd $132,521
4th $89,000
5th $71,200
6th $53,400
7th $35,600
8th $19,580
9th $12,460
10-12 $9,256
13-15th $6,853
16-18th $4,450
19-27th $3,827
28-36th $3,471

91-99th $1,602

199-216th $854

397-414th $605

766-810th $427

1261th-1350th $302

2010-01-08 14:17:53

Flattening payout structures is a good idea. Paying 15% of the field isn’t. I would say 10-12% should get paid. Going deep in a tournament is an achievement; reward that!

Take Pokerstars’ own Sunday Million as an example: Making say top 100 is a great accompishment. You have to play well to get there. But in top 100 it all turns into a quasi-lottery and whether you finish 16th or 5th will often be determined by a huge pre-flop coinflip. That’s the nature of tourney poker, we all know that and live with that. But what I find mindnumbingly stupid is that 5th place pays 16 times the amount 16th place pays! (yes you read right – 16 times!!!!!) Can anyone explain to me how that’s “fair”?

I really see NO arguments for steep payout structures. No arguments that reflect the differences POKER-wise in finishing 5th or 16th as in the example.

But surely Negreanu, a poker pro and ambassador of bringing poker out to everyone will not base his opinions on his own financial interests, or?…..

Big Slick Kick
2010-01-08 14:03:26

Where’s my comment?

2010-01-08 11:10:32

I agree with DC about Barry Greenstein. Always such a class act. I have mixed feelings about the payouts. It’s good in a way that more get paid but you can also see it from the point of view of the last few guys who stand to make more. Daniel’s only wrong in insinuating that just because you make it further, you’ve worked harder than the others. A lot of times those guys just got luckier. Of course, that’s poker

top heavy/big bottoms
2010-01-08 04:56:12

I think Daniel would be ok if it was winner take all, or you had to win it twice somehow.

Carl Morrissey
2010-01-08 04:09:41

Of course name pros will want a heavier top payout. Danny boy claims he always wants whats best for the game. IMO his lame hunger for personal glory is all his drive. Pretty greedy, attention starved and pathetic.

TC in DC
2010-01-08 01:57:26

Leave it to Barry Greenstein to understand how this is better for the game as a whole. Always a first-rate class act that maybe the others pros mentioned here could take a clue from.

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