PokerStars Live 2017: Payouts and buy-ins

As we prepare for the final live events of 2016 in the beautiful cities of Prague and Sao Paulo, we have a couple of announcements to get everyone ready for the new PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events taking place around the world next year.

There has been a lot of discussion about payouts over the last couple of months and we have taken all feedback on board. Our research and data led us to believe that paying out a slightly higher percentage of players is better for the overall growth of the game. EPT13 Prague will use our new payout structure and all other PokerStars Live Events for 2016 will continue with their previous payout structure. In 2017, all events will use the new payouts system, as was used during PokerStars Festival New Jersey and EPT13 Malta.   

As mentioned in previous communications, the key elements to that system are: 

• All events of €/$/£10,000 or more will retain the previous 12%-15% payout structure.  
• All other events will payout an expanded 17%-20% of the field, but adhere to a 20% ceiling.
• For the expanded payouts, a min-cash will be about 1.5x the buy-in of the event.

A further item considered, and also discussed with some players, was rounding off our buy-ins to simplify for all currencies across Championship and Festival events, so that a 5,300 would become 5,000, and 1,100 would become 1,000. That would have changed the rake percentage paid from 6% to 6.38%, despite the fee remaining $300, for example. Therefore, we have decided to stick to a simplified version of the existing EPT model, which will keep rake percentage as it is today. Buy-ins will no longer be listed as $5,000 + $300, for example, but simply as $5,300. Full breakdowns of fees including entry, knockout, bounties etc. will always be available on structure sheets on the PS Live App and website, as you can see here

We wish to ensure the change is consistent and clear for 2017 events across the globe. However, since we already have a number of qualifiers and promotions in play, this has a unique impact on the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event. Therefore, we will leave the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event buy-in as $5,000 for 2017 and adjust the fee down to $283 from $300 in order to maintain a consistent level across events. 

If players have questions, you can reach us at

This coming year is unlike any other in the history of PokerStars Live Events.  The 17 tours and countless special events PokerStars have run around the world are not fading into the history pages; they're the foundation stones and the DNA of a brand new experience.  As we enter our 14th year of bringing you poker around the world, we're energized and connected in a ton of fun new ways and are excited to bring you the best of PokerStars wrapped into our Festival and Championship experiences.  

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This will be the 12th straight January that I have spent in the Bahamas enjoying the beautiful Atlantis Resort and watching old and new faces unite, but this time we'll be coming together for the start of a brand new chapter, and I am honestly looking forward to it more than I have in a long time. While I am personally bittersweet about seeing the likes of the UKIPT, APPT, LAPT and certainly the EPT fade off into the wintery sunset of Prague, a new era of PokerStars Live Events is coming and the sunrise over the Bahamas will be carrying the welcoming breeze of a fresh start and a broader horizon.  

Neil Johnson is Department Head, Live Poker Operations for PokerStars. Follow him on Twitter: @NeilJPoker.

Neil Johnson
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour