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PokerStars Reverse Payout Structure Decision For €25k & €50k EPT Barcelona Events

TAGs: European Poker Tour, Lee Davy, PokerStars

PokerStars officials at the European Poker Tour Festival in Barcelona has changed their payout structure back to 15% of the field for their €25K & €50k events a few days after promising to increase it to 20%.

In a few weeks time, Bernadette Jiwa will be opening up her Story Strategy Course, and I strongly suggest PokerStars enrols. Jiwa is a marketing genius who believes in the importance of understanding your customer better than they know themselves.

PokerStars Reverse Payout Structure Decision For €25k & €50k EPT Barcelona Events In her influential book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Jiwa talks about the same problem she kept coming up against when helping companies improve their relationship with their customers.

“They were enlisting my help with the storytelling part after the idea was fully formed; their first focus was almost completely on the idea itself when it should have been on the prospective user or customer.”

As poker players tucked themselves into bed on the eve of Season 13 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival in Barcelona, Neil Johnson, Head of Everything That Happens Live For PokerStars, wrote a blog post on the PokerStars blog carrying the title: EPT Barcelona: What’s New For The Season?

Amongst the changes were the introduction of a new Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) High Roller, a few lines warning of a push towards casino games in future stops, and most importantly a change to the payout structure.

Amending the payouts after everyone has flown into your festival, paid for accommodation, and are ready to rock and roll is not the way a company branding themselves as the world’s largest online poker room should behave.

Twitter, of course, blew up, with most professionals not happy with the changes. And who can blame them? It’s the players who pay the money to play, and when that money is €10,000, €25,000, or €50,000, then you don’t need to be Phil Galfond to understand their input into payout changes should be mandatory.

PokerNews Interview Neil Johnson

The payout structure for the first five seasons of the EPT was 10%. It changed to 15% from Season 6 onward. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) followed suit this season.

PokerNews sat down with Johnson to ask him why PokerStars made the changes, and whether they had consulted players before making their decision? They didn’t, and on one hand, I can understand why.

There are times in any business when you have to lead the horse to the water. And there is an argument that this is the case when it comes to small stakes poker tournaments and recreational poker players. Johnson said they made the changes after sorting through player data relating to the number of events played per festival. Players were averaging 1-2 events per festival, and PokerStars felt that broadening the payouts to 20% would give people more money to play in more games. As a recreational player, I respect that decision, although I would still like them to seek opinion first.

The High Stakes community is a different kettle of sharks. The same 100-200 players compete in these events all over the world. Satellite qualifiers into the €25k & €50k events are always going to be professional poker players. So why anger them by introducing a significant change on the eve of an event without seeking the opinion of your customer?

How does this happen?

I would hazard a guess that there are now too many chains of command within Amaya, and it takes too long to get approval for proposed changes coupled with a lack of patience that was probably there when the outfit was private.

I am all for making mistakes; that’s how we progress, but PokerStars are making too many. They should have consulted the High Roller community before making the changes, and should do so for future changes.

“This ultimately is a player driven industry and if the overwhelming feedback is that players love it, hate it, or want it tweaked, we’ll certainly go back and look at it. But it will be in place for these 3 events {Barcelona, Prague, Malta}.” Johnson told PokerNews.

Why wait to see if they hate it?

Why not ask before you make the change?

After the interview, Johnson announced a return to the old structure for the €25k & €50k events, meaning a lot of people built up a head of unnecessary steam, and PokerStars wasting a lot of unnecessary time.

“The two most important things we can do are to allow ourselves to be seen AND to really see others.”Jiwa wrote in Meaningful.

We see you PokerStars.

And just in case you were wondering, we are sat over here!

Snapshot Round Up

In a very quick round-up of the EPT13 Barcelona action: Nick Petrangelo defeated 240 entrants to win the €10k Single Day High Roller for €413,000 and Barcelona and Spain soccer star, Gerard Pique, has taken his seat in the €50k High Roller – the event accumulated 102 entrants.

There has also been a new record set.

The €1,100 buy-in Estrellas Main Event pulled in a crowd of 3,447 players, and that’s a new record for a an EPT event.

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