my first reason is players dont have to win anymore to make a decent living. now you might say yes but they want to win. that might be true but as with any living creature there is a difference between wanting to and having to. thus for a percentage of the modern player there might be that safety net in their subconscious that hey 2nd wouldnt be that bad thats still 800k.
i could even see myself succumbing to this in the wsop. thats life changing money for me.
This is a contradiction. You're saying tour players don't care about winning because there's so much money for 2nd place. But if there's so much money for 2nd place, all the top players will have so much money that 2nd place money hardly matters to them. 800k is hardly going to improve their quality of life, so why would they think "hey 2nd place would be great cuz it's so much money!" Any rational human in this spot would think "so it's 800k for 2nd? Gee I already have 10mil in the bank, might as well go for the win, duh!"
You're right, there is a difference between wanting something and having to do something. Having to win to feed your family would put tremendous pressure on the player and would almost certainly make them get more nervous and play worse, not better.