When the European Poker Tour (EPT) announced that it planned to raise its player payout from 15 percent to 20 percent during its 13th season, the announcement was met with mixed reactions from players. A number of players felt that the EPT should have experimented with the idea at a few events instead of rolling it out across the board and some players questioned the decision and wanted to know on what basis did the EPT decide to hike the player payout and if they had collected substantial data and player feedback before making the decision.
Neil Johnson, the Department Head of Live Poker Operations at PokerStars recently decided to share as much information as possible to help players understand the rationale behind the company’s decision. Johnson stated that the company had carried out detailed research during the summer and looked at a number of different aspects such as the player base, player participation, event registration and the overall tour. The research revealed that during Season 12, 46 percent of the player pool took part in one or two events only.
This was a concern as the reason why the EPT held tournaments that hosted as many as 100 events was to enable players to take part in multiple events. The company fixed buy-ins at $100 or $200 to give players the opportunity to register at as many events as possible but this wasn’t happening and one of the reasons for this was because players were finding it hard to cash out and hence not having a lot of fun.
The EPT believes that by raising the player stake from 15 to 20 percent, it can utilize the remaining 5 percent to give back to more number of players and basically say sorry that you were unable to make big money but here is some cash that can help you enter another event. Johnson stated that the last time the EPT did a survey was before they raised the player payout in Season 10 and out of the 1,600 responses, 33 percent agreed with a 10 percent payout, 33 percent with 12.5 and 33 percent with 15 percent.
He stated that based on these statistics it was obvious that irrespective of what player payout was fixed, 66 percent of the field was going to remain unhappy. As a result, the EPT decided to take the decision in the best interests of the players and will implement it at EPT Barcelona, Malta and Prague before deciding if they should continue or re-think their decision.