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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Structure comparison of Vegas summer tournaments

Some may know that I am a big fan of Snyders' Patience Factor as it is a very good tool to compare the quality of tournament structures. But I am aware that this tool only gives "correct" results for the early stages of a tournament. In general this is a minor problem as the later stages reflect the earlier stages anyway.

But you have to be more careful with your results in deepstacks tournaments and/or those that differ significantly in how flat or steep the blindlevels are. Which is definately the case in the summer Vegas events.

So for my upcoming tournaments in Vegas I added two columns to Snyders' PF-Calculator to get the numbers for Harrington's M=20 and M=10. While Snyder uses the blind-off time for his calculations I now use the starting stack for my considerations. The basic idea is to say "if I can maintain my startingstack how long will I be in the comfortzone and when will I reach push-and-fold mode". This defines the critical area of the tournament and usually the one were bust outs start to come faster (before slowing down again).

In addition I then checked the jumps needed to maintain M=20. Usually you should expect to increase your stack (at least that is the goal of a tournament). So with lower jumps from level to level this goal can be achieved much easier then with big jumps. Again you can find a critical area with a lot of busts combined with those big jumps as the majority can't keep up with the pace of the blinds. For my calculations I only look at the values after M=20 has reached the startingstack as it is usual and neglectible that there are up to 100% jumps in the very early stages.

While this method is not so intuitive like calculating the PF it may help to define the overall quality. So let's have a look at the Vegas events in June:

I looked always at the lowest buy-In events which is the $340 for Venetian and Caesars, $235 for the Golden Nugget.

Venetian DSE III (12,000 startchips & 40 min. levels)
M=20 reached at level 4
M=10 reached at level 6

Blind-Off Time (Snyder) = 289.20 min.
Critical time frame = 160 – 240 min.
Critical jumpfactor = 75% to level 4 & 63.64% to level 6 (160 min. & 240 min.)

Remark: The blind jumps at the DSE are surprisingly wild. Between 33-50% in the early stages and then 75% and 63% during the critical time frame. From there they almost never go above 39% and even go as low as 11%.

Caesars Mega-Stacks (15,000 startchips & 50 min. levels)
M=20 reached at level 3
M=10 reached at level 5

Blind-Off Time (Snyder) = 318.75 min.
Critical time frame = 150 – 250 min.
Critical jumpfactor = 55.56% to level 8 (420 min.)

Remark: The Mega-Stacks never jump more then 55% (even with the antes kicking in) and stay quite constant. Jumps in later stages go as low as 29%

Golden Nugget Grand Series (12,000 startchips & 40 min. levels)
M=20 reached at level 5
M=10 reached at level 7

Blind-Off Time (Snyder) = 312.73 min.
Critical time frame = 200 – 280 min.
Critical jumpfactor = 55.56% to level 6 & to level 8 (240 min. & 320 min.)

Remark: Although not counting this for the evaluation it should be noted that there is a 133% jump to level 4 (just before the critical time is reached)! Later stages show everything from 15% to 71% in a wild mix.

Taking all into account it looks like the Venetian is slightly ahead in terms of structure this year. With critical time frame and critical jumpfactor almost identical you have to survice just one steep cliff (lasting 1h 20min). From there it's an much easier sail then.

For Caesars you have to survive another critical time after 240 min and even from there have to deal with higher jumps then the Venetian in general.

The Nugget has the weirdest structure of all. With the critical time frame and the critical jumpfactor overlapping there is a extended critical period from 200 min. till 320 min (2h!). The big jump before that isn't helpful either.

Any feedback on this approach is welcome. I also posted this on 2+2 in the "structure comparison" thread (page 2) if you prefer to respond there.

Addition (on May 25th, 00:47am):
Thanks to "dcarp" for making me aware of an important fact by sending me a private note on 2+2.

I talked about the difference in the jumps from level to level which are 11-39% (Venetian) and 29-55% (Caesars) as shown above. Please don't forget that this accumulates over a longer time. So with the Venetian having overall slower jumps Caesars starts to run away much faster the longer the tournament lasts.

E.g. during level 13 a M=20 is 162k @ Venetian but a whooping 420k @ Caesars. After re-reading my posting I think "...and even from there have to deal with higher jumps then the Venetian in general" doesn't emphasize this fact enough.

But then, I still think that the early stages are very important. If you have to get lucky early to reach the later stages I never call a tournament deepstack. To close out the luck factor you need a sufficient amount of time to accumulate chips. What I tried was to extent the reach of the PF (which doesn't go very deep into a tournament) to a somewhat thorough consideration.


Bill Bruce 4:10 PM  

Thanks for the analysis. I'll be trying to squeeze in a few of these on my down time.

Bill Bruce

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