In February 2013 PokerStars have updated payout structures for popular 180 players and 90 players MTT sit and go tournaments.
Both structures became more flat. 90 players payout now pays to 13 players instead of 12, which is a rather slight change for overall strategy. A serious change happened in 180 players MTT SNG. Now 27 players get paid instead of 18 before. This is a 50% increase so now instead of 10% finishing players getting paid, which is kind of usual for MTT, 15% of players get prizes.
Both new structures have been added to ICMIZER. Old ones haven't been removed, so players can compare interesting MTT situations using different payouts to see the effect on their game.
My thoughts about this update
When structure becomes more flat, usually it means that bubble becomes less strict in terms of ICM effect on player pot odds based decisions. One of the strictest bubbles can be found in 9 max SNG tournaments, where jump from 0% to next payout is 20%. It also happens to be the same payout jump, which happens when player moves from second to first position.
Note that in 180 player MTT first place payout has been left untouched, its still 30% of prize pool. 2nd - 1st place jump is 10%, which is pretty large, even when compared to 9 Max SNG.
But bubble payout difference becomes very small, only 0.65% of prize pool jump from 28 place to 27, when players start to get paid (0% to 0.65% for 27 place). Previous 180 players payout bubble jump was 1.2%, which is almost 2x more than new one.
Also notice that payouts for 19-27 places are hardly different from buyin: in 15$ tournament you get 16.11$, so making it into the money doesn't really give you too much. Compare this with previous payout of 29.7$, and you will understand that players will be less likely to try to fold too many of their hands into the money.
This change automatically fixes some leaks of recreational players, as their previously incorrect calls become much better mathematically wise now. It also guarantees that they get paid more often, and generally can last more games, than they could before due to 15% of paid places.
Abusing bubble with open raises and pushes or 3 bets will become less efficient, and I expect that professional players will see a drop in their ROI due to this single fact.
Simple 180 player MTT bubble effect change analysis
Let me show you two seemingly same spots. In both we are on the bubble of 180 players MTT with average stack of 10 big blinds. Let’s look at old 19 players bubble.
To check this situation please follow this link: old bubble call range against random shove in 180 players MTT at 24.7% call range
We are pretty hard pressed here, our Push/Call ratio is almost 4 (100%/24.7%). It means being first in is very beneficial for players, as correct play against that is quite often a fold.
New 180 players MTT bubble spot with 28 players can be analyzed if you open this link: new bubble call range is much wider, 33% of hands
ICMIZER shows that we can call with 33% of hands, which makes Push/Call ratio close to 3, so we got more freedom now.
I'll give you another reference point. If we played by ChipEV and just followed our pot odds here, we would be able to call with 66% hands, as can be seen here: calling a 10bb shove without ICM effect
• ICM MTT calculator added to ICMIZER