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And while players didn’t exactly respond in droves, enough data was collected to conclude that an earlier start time and a slightly revamped structure was the most viable solution.
No surprises there, as the super-deep structure and late starting time often resulted in a winner not being determined until nearly daybreak.
Last Monday, Party/Borgata answered the call by announcing sweeping changes to the $50k, including:
The problem was the “improved” structure transformed the $50k into a deep stacked semi-turbo of sorts.
Instead of fusing or eliminating the early levels when players are 500 big blinds deep, several critical mid-tournament blind levels were eradicated altogether.
Abiding by this structure, New Jersey’s biggest weekly tournament would more closely resemble a virtual shove fest than one in which skillful pre and post-flop play was rewarded.
Compounding matters, those who registered near the end of the extended three hour late registration period would sit with under 20 big blinds – far less than ideal, given the relatively high buy-in.
Almost immediately after the announcement was made, several of Two Plus Two’s more active members responded to the changes:
Four days before the newly implemented changes were set to roll-out, the Party rep announced a second change to the tournament’s structure.
The mid-blind levels were back, and several of the pre-ante blind levels were consolidated into one new 25/50 level.
Now, players would start with only 200 big blinds, but still have enough maneuverability to showcase their post-flop prowess. Suffice to say, the amendment was universally praised.
But how did the changes function in practice?
The tournament lobby pretty much says it all:
In total, 378 players showed up for the newly-restructured 50k Guaranteed.
After an elongated struggle among its final three combatants, the $50k ended at exactly 3:04 am, over two hours earlier than the average pre-update completion time. Not bad, especially when you factor in the surplus of entries.
First-place paid out nearly $13,300, shattering the previous top prize record by a landslide. Even more impressive, second-place paid out more ($9,355.65) than first did the two weeks prior.
And while some players will argue that paying out approximately 19% of the field is still far too generous, overall Party/Borgata’s feedback-inspired upgrades proved widely successful.
That, and they didn’t have to give away a dime to make it happen. Unlike another site, which was willing to foot the entire bill of its Sunday Major.