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The Poker Tournament Formula


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#1 CobaltBlue

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 12:23 AM

I already posted about it over in the Books section: http://www.fullconta...showtopic=93654That said, I thought I'd see if anyone in here has heard about it or read it. I think it's pretty interesting so far, and I thought this might be a good place to analyze its analysis as opposed to just review or highlight it.Initial questions...How accurate do you think Patience Factor is in assessing tournament speed?What do you think of the relationship he gives between Cards-Chips-Position?

#2 SlackerInc

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:01 AM

View PostCobaltBlue, on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007, 2:23 AM, said:

I already posted about it over in the Books section: http://www.fullconta...showtopic=93654That said, I thought I'd see if anyone in here has heard about it or read it. I think it's pretty interesting so far, and I thought this might be a good place to analyze its analysis as opposed to just review or highlight it.Initial questions...How accurate do you think Patience Factor is in assessing tournament speed?What do you think of the relationship he gives between Cards-Chips-Position?
Can you expand on any of this, or do we need to have the book to discuss?

#3 cubbybri

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:12 AM

I can only add this at the moment as I ended up skimming through a lot of this book while at Chapter's but it has been a few months ago now.The patience factor I would need a refresher on but I do recall and have used the Chips-Cards Position advice a bit and it makes sense to me.Cards-Chips-Position is the poker version of playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. Rock is your chips(easy to remember). Paper is your cards. This leaves Scissors to equal your position.When it comes down to how you wish to play your hand, you need to know what advantages you have and just like rock paper, scissors, there is cycle to it.Cards beat chips, Chips beat position, Position beats cards.I hope I have that right.I found this just reinforced things when playing and it's just simple to remember quickly(especially the online game).The patience factor had a little too much math for me to recall from memory now but it is a formula based on I think starting chips, speed of levels and the amount the blinds move up(could be other factors like number of players, etc). The formula spits out a number and you use that number to decide the way you need to play.SHort blinds, low chips, looser and more aggressive.Long BLinds, lotsa chips, -tighter or more ring game style.Again, stuff that most already know but this gives a more formulmatic way of figuring your style of play.This is recall info, but I hope it may stir some discussion. I may run out and get that book now if there will be some discusssion on it.

#4 asytnik

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:13 AM

View PostCobaltBlue, on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007, 12:23 AM, said:

I already posted about it over in the Books section: http://www.fullconta...showtopic=93654That said, I thought I'd see if anyone in here has heard about it or read it. I think it's pretty interesting so far, and I thought this might be a good place to analyze its analysis as opposed to just review or highlight it.Initial questions...How accurate do you think Patience Factor is in assessing tournament speed?What do you think of the relationship he gives between Cards-Chips-Position?
I guess fast-paced tournaments is the nice way of saying "how to have a shot in donkaments". I guess I shouldn't be bashing a book that I haven't read but what we really need to do is pressure sites to change structures(remove huge blind leaps) and add larger antes much more sooner so we aren't stuck watching AK vs QQ for 5 hours.

#5 CobaltBlue

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:47 AM

Patience Factor takes into account starting stacks and blind levels and then produces a number to quantify how "fast" certain tournament structures are. Here's an Excel spreadsheet that you can use to calculate it: http://www.blackjack..._Calculator.xlsBasically, when the Patience Factor is low (1-3), the tournament is very fast and prone to luck being a huge determinant of who wins. The deep stack, slow structure tournaments on the other hand have patience factors 9-10...and skill plays a much larger part. Most of the book is geared towards playing the medium-fast tournaments.

#6 SlackerInc

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 12:29 PM

View Postcubbybri, on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007, 11:12 AM, said:

Long BLinds, lotsa chips, -tighter or more ring game style.
This brings up something I have been wondering about (and hopefully I'm not wandering off into territory that belongs on a different forum). I have been a tournament player and have just recently dabbled in ring play. In HoH, Harrington talks about how players originally brought their ring game style into tourneys and did not adjust properly for the increasing blinds and antes (which makes sense). But the way he characterised it was that they played too tight, waiting to cash in on their big hands. This gave me a picture of "rocks" who folded preflop unless they had a premium pair or a good ace.But then reading Sklansky and Miller's NLHE book, they talk about how it is correct when deepstacked to play more loosely preflop. And this has increasingly been true for me, both in ring games and (to try to keep this relevant to tournament play) in early stages of tournaments when the blinds are low. If you get to the flop cheaply with speculative hands, you can throw away your hand and only be out the tiny amount of the blind (or even if raised, a still very small percentage of your stack); but if you do flop a monster or a premium draw, you can end up winning a big pot, maybe even stacking someone if they also have a good (but second-best) hand.

#7 tskillz187

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 12:32 PM

Just an age old question of whether tight is right or if you should be loose and forcing action. I disagree with the loose part at beginning of tourneys. Without increasing blinds then it would be the same as your cash game perspective. Meh, I got work more on this later possibly....
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#8 cubbybri

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 03:10 PM

I think when deep stacked, you should probbaly play the style you are best at. If you like the small ball, do it. If you usually play the super tight game, play it. I think when deep you play the way you are either most comfortable or most profitable.The book also talks about some plays and moves you should be using, especially in position. What I most remember was almost always call one standard raise in position and if checked to on flop, always bet.Any time other player shows weakness, bet. If holding the nuts, bet. He really advocates aggression and position in the type of tournaments that the majority of us play in.Still on recall, his formula I think gives you a number of how long you can be in a tourney if you fold to absolutely everything and then bases his style of play to what number results.The lower the amount of time, the more loose and aggressive you must be. He also advocates making you stand at about the 20*BB range (so full table a M of about 13-14). So he plays red zone in about that range. Anything less than that he pretty much says you are screwed.Again this is not exact quotes but give you a little more info as the book does bring up some good stuff.He's big on the FIV as well and tends to be an opener or folder preflop unless in the CO or on button. Also will always raise SB if SB limps in blind battle.I really need to get that book in my hands again.

#9 SlackerInc

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 05:37 PM

I was intrigued enough to order the book from Amazon. Aside from the discussion here, a key motivator was a user review that said the book was, unlike many others, "not for beginners" and that "if you already have Sklansky and Harrington, get this one". I do, so I did. :club:

#10 SlackerInc

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 03:08 PM

And now I've read the whole thing! That was fast, huh?I think it's a very, very interesting book. The author supports his points well with a lot of math and logical reasoning. It's hard for me to dismiss what he says out of hand, though a lot of it goes (as he himself admits) against the grain in terms of traditional advice found in other poker books (and on this board). Yet he does give big props to HoH2 (but says it is more suited for a very slow, deepstacked MTT like a WPT event or the WSOP ME).Maybe we could stimulate some discussion by mentioning some of the ways in which he violates "standard" strategy. I should have noted them as I went along; but I'll come up with as many as I can think of, and let the OP or anyone else who has read it fill in the gaps:(1) He specifically states his disagreement with the "Gap Concept" originally elucidated by Sklansky and expounded on in HoH. Rather than "it takes a stronger hand" he says "it takes stronger position" to call a raise.(2) In line with the above, he advocates calling a single 3-4xBB raise from the button with ATC.(3) If you have position on a single opponent and he checks the flop, you should bet from half the pot to the pot depending on whether the board looks like it could allow your opponent to draw.(4) If villain calls, you should fire another bullet on the turn, and on the river (unless in doing so you end up committing more than half your stack or half your opponent's stack). He often advocates pushing the river with absolutely nothing if you don't think your opponent has a very strong hand.(5) Without getting too bogged down in specifics, he basically divides the three <20M zones into 14-20, 7-13, and 1-6. [ETA: he also has a "competitive chip stack" zone from 20-33M, which is right I think--Harrington extends the "Green Zone" a little too low since an M of 40 is quite different from an M of 25, but not so different from an M of 60 or 80.] And he advocates going into preflop push/fold mode much earlier than Harrington (or anyone here that I've seen).(6) With KK and AA in EP with M of 14-20, he advocates limping (and pushing against any raise), but pushing other premium hands.(7) He's not much for limping other than the above case.(8) His definition of "pot-committed" is not (as was discussed here in the thread about it just recently) strictly based on pot odds. He feels that if you're in a situation where if you fold, you have a crippled stack that is very unlikely to make it to the final table, you should go ahead and chase a draw even if you don't actually have the pot odds to do it from a cash game POV.There's plenty more (including some seriously involved math in rating tournaments' "speed factor" and "field factor", plus an interesting chapter on various types of players including "ace masters", "ball cap kids", "cagey codgers" and "boat people"); but that's a good start.Thoughts?

#11 ChrisRichey

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 05:15 PM

It is starting to sound like I am going to have to buy this book. Thanks for the info SI.

#12 SlackerInc

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 07:52 PM

View PostChrisRichey, on Friday, March 16th, 2007, 7:15 PM, said:

It is starting to sound like I am going to have to buy this book. Thanks for the info SI.
NP. I hope you do, as I really want to discuss it with you guys. It's so against the grain; but he totally acknowledges this by saying that there are (aside from the finer variation of player types I mentioned) basically two broad types of players he encounters: those who are just completely clueless, and those who are clearly playing out of the same "book" (presumably HoH plus a little McEvoy, Sklansky, Cloutier, etc.). He seems awfully certain that unless you are playing in a super slow tourney (which you only find for high buyins, whether online or off), these people (us! lol) are not playing the optimal strategy and are exploitable. And I just can't shake a feeling that he might be right, though it kind of rocks my world. I will say that I've always found the Yellow Zone to be a kind of morass (and it isn't explained all that well in HoH compared to every other zone, frankly). This is an area that often lies in what he calls "crunch time" in a MTT, so it will be interesting to see if what I would have called donkey overpushes (say, $2300 to take down $150 in blinds) until just a few hours ago, will work out. I'm especially anxious to see if I get a chance to try the AA/KK limp from EP at that blind level; it's definitely not anything I've done before, though I've certainly had it done to me.I'm going to go give it a try here in a minute...we shall see! (I do wonder if in the $5.50s there may be more donkey calling stations than in the tourneys he plays, which fall in a middle ground of $50-200 or so IIRC; calling stations will defeat a lot of this strategy I think.)

#13 SlackerInc

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 07:55 PM

View Postasytnik, on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007, 11:13 AM, said:

I guess fast-paced tournaments is the nice way of saying "how to have a shot in donkaments". I guess I shouldn't be bashing a book that I haven't read but what we really need to do is pressure sites to change structures(remove huge blind leaps) and add larger antes much more sooner so we aren't stuck watching AK vs QQ for 5 hours.
Actually, what he is labelling fast tournaments some of us might consider reasonably slow (at least, if we're not accustomed to $10K buyin type tourneys). The lightning fast turbos he dismisses as not worth playing because it's just mostly luck.

#14 ChrisRichey

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 08:22 PM

It's funny that you mention the yellow zone, because this is where I think I've been having the most trouble lately. After re-reading HoH II last weekend, I realized I was probably playing a little too tight, but Harrington's advice of raising lighter and calling raises with weaker hands is pretty vague. I will try to buy this book asap, and then we can get into the finer details.Edit: Found this thread on 2+2, didn't have time to read it tonight though. Thread on PTF

#15 SlackerInc

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:40 PM

View PostChrisRichey, on Friday, March 16th, 2007, 10:22 PM, said:

It's funny that you mention the yellow zone, because this is where I think I've been having the most trouble lately. After re-reading HoH II last weekend, I realized I was probably playing a little too tight, but Harrington's advice of raising lighter and calling raises with weaker hands is pretty vague. I will try to buy this book asap, and then we can get into the finer details.Edit: Found this thread on 2+2, didn't have time to read it tonight though. Thread on PTF
Yeah, it has always been glaring to me how comparatively vague Action Dan is about the Yellow Zone--a crucial "crunch time" area! Unlike the Orange and Red Zones, there is precious little specific hand advice or examples (except for a mention of raising A10 from EP).I played three 45-man SNGs, ten min. blinds. tonight (not my usual format, but you're supposed to play at least a four table tourney with this system and not go turbo) playing strictly by this book (which does include "playing poker" with draws and pot odds and such after the flop btw, when the stacks are still deep enough to do so). So far, I must say I'm impressed. I kind of gritted my teeth a couple times when I called raises on the button with ultra-trash like 37os; but you know what? It tended to work out! In all three tourneys I built big stacks, and in two of them I got crippled by a river two-outer and four-outer respectively, while in the third I pushed KQ on the button with an Orange Zone M close to the money and the BB (only stack bigger than mine) had aces. The funny thing is, in playing down the importance of cards, Snyder specifically says it is not going to be the "shots" you take that kill you, but the good hands when you happen to run into a monster or get sucked out on. So he covered his *** there, and I can definitely not as of yet say that anything bad that happened to me since I've been experimenting with this book was a "mistake" that I can blame on the book's advice.Very very interesting stuff. (Maybe we should keep it down--shhhhh....LOL)BTW, since I vowed to really test this system full stop, I turned off my "show cards" preferences and never show except at showdown--something you guys had been on my case about anyway. It turned out beautifully when I raised from the button and cutoff consecutively with trash and took down decent postflop pots, then got AK the very next hand, and ended up stacking a guy with A10 after the A flopped and I bet almost the pot on every street (I had been more of a half-pot guy in the past). Clearly he wasn't buying it, but it was great to have that be my first actual showdown--like, "okay, whoops, this guy just got three good hands in a row" (and then of course I didn't play the next several as I moved through early position, solidifying that view unless someone was very observant about my positional play).

#16 SlackerInc

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:50 PM

View PostChrisRichey, on Friday, March 16th, 2007, 10:22 PM, said:

Edit: Found this thread on 2+2, didn't have time to read it tonight though. Thread on PTF
I was reading through that, noting how no one had read the whole thing and no one seemed to really "get" the book; and as I was reading along and rolling my eyes at yet another poster who had just read part of the book and seemed to be spouting off in an uninformed manner, it turned out to be Mason Malmuth! And in the very same post, he said he has always said he'd publish any book this author writes because he is such a blackjack/gambling expert.I wonder if Malmuth is really so critical after reading the other two thirds. Of course, to really embrace this book is to call into question the relevance of a lot of the 2+2 library--at least for the tournaments that 99% of people play (Snyder does not dispute that for big buyin, super slow events, the traditional advice is right).Oh wow--as I continue to the next page, Snyder himself is one of the posters in this long thread! I really need to get to bed, but thanks so much for this link.ETA: I'm having trouble tearing myself away from the 2+2 discussion. This short post from "Shaman" really stood out for me:"Is it possible that he could be right? Is it conceivable that we, Mason included, are having tunnel vision - totally blinded to seeing things from outside the box?This guy Snyder invented the Zen Count, the best blackjack cardcounting methods ever invented. Maybe he has a point that we are missing."Reading this thread, despite the overwhelming resistance to the new ideas (actually, because of it, because of how they sound to me like sticks-in-the-mud who just don't get this "newfangled gimcrackery"--and also because Snyder so effectively rebuts their points) has actually really solidified my feeling that Shaman has hit it on the head here. It's a little mindblowing, but pretty exciting.

#17 copernicus

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 01:57 AM

I will pick up the book, mostly because I read everything, but I have some real problems with a few of the following:

View PostSlackerInc, on Friday, March 16th, 2007, 7:08 PM, said:

And now I've read the whole thing! That was fast, huh?I think it's a very, very interesting book. The author supports his points well with a lot of math and logical reasoning. It's hard for me to dismiss what he says out of hand, though a lot of it goes (as he himself admits) against the grain in terms of traditional advice found in other poker books (and on this board). Yet he does give big props to HoH2 (but says it is more suited for a very slow, deepstacked MTT like a WPT event or the WSOP ME).Maybe we could stimulate some discussion by mentioning some of the ways in which he violates "standard" strategy. I should have noted them as I went along; but I'll come up with as many as I can think of, and let the OP or anyone else who has read it fill in the gaps:(1) He specifically states his disagreement with the "Gap Concept" originally elucidated by Sklansky and expounded on in HoH. Rather than "it takes a stronger hand" he says "it takes stronger position" to call a raise. It is impossible to discount the Gap Concept entirely, to do so is to claim that an early position raise has no fold equity value, which is clearly untrue. Perhaps he is advocating a narrower gap than standard. (2) In line with the above, he advocates calling a single 3-4xBB raise from the button with ATC. This appears to be insane. Given traditional gap concept calling standards the hand with position wins 70% of the time, including limps, minraises, standard raises and overbets. Drop the calling standards to ATC and you have to be worse off than 50% against a standard raise.(3) If you have position on a single opponent and he checks the flop, you should bet from half the pot to the pot depending on whether the board looks like it could allow your opponent to draw. standard continuation bet, no?(4) If villain calls, you should fire another bullet on the turn, and on the river (unless in doing so you end up committing more than half your stack or half your opponent's stack). He often advocates pushing the river with absolutely nothing if you don't think your opponent has a very strong hand. try this at a table of aware players more than twice and youre going to find yourself building a pot for someone to check raise you out of (5) Without getting too bogged down in specifics, he basically divides the three <20M zones into 14-20, 7-13, and 1-6. [ETA: he also has a "competitive chip stack" zone from 20-33M, which is right I think--Harrington extends the "Green Zone" a little too low since an M of 40 is quite different from an M of 25, but not so different from an M of 60 or 80.] And he advocates going into preflop push/fold mode much earlier than Harrington (or anyone here that I've seen). unless he qualifies this based on position, it seems inconsistent with (1). Most of the disputes with Harrington Ive seen think he starts push/fold mode too early(6) With KK and AA in EP with M of 14-20, he advocates limping (and pushing against any raise), but pushing other premium hands. the AA advice is much too table dependent to generalize. If limping picks up 4 other callers youve dropped the equity of AA to 50% and youve created a hand that is difficult to play OOP because the later callers can be on ATC. The best I can see you doing on average with this approach is picking up the 4 or 5 BB 1/2 the time, and big losses and big wins offsetting each other, for a net profit of 2.5 B. An EP raise is going to pick up 1.5 BB uncontested maybe 20% of the time, get one caller 60% of the time and win it 80% of the time, and get 2 callers 20% of the time and win it 70% of the time. Even if there is no profit other than the preflop bets, its still better than 2.5 BB. KK is even worse, youre giving a free draw to any Ace out there and the 15% of the time one flops you have no idea what to do.(7) He's not much for limping other than the above case. probably a good point in the types of tourneys hes talking about, but thats pretty standard advice(8) His definition of "pot-committed" is not (as was discussed here in the thread about it just recently) strictly based on pot odds. He feels that if you're in a situation where if you fold, you have a crippled stack that is very unlikely to make it to the final table, you should go ahead and chase a draw even if you don't actually have the pot odds to do it from a cash game POV. this is just an expression of the difference between $EV and tEVThere's plenty more (including some seriously involved math in rating tournaments' "speed factor" and "field factor", plus an interesting chapter on various types of players including "ace masters", "ball cap kids", "cagey codgers" and "boat people"); but that's a good start.Thoughts?

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#18 SlackerInc

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 02:56 PM

View Postcopernicus, on Saturday, March 17th, 2007, 3:57 AM, said:

I will pick up the book, mostly because I read everything, but I have some real problems with a few of the following:
--The calling of a standard raise with ATC on the button does appear to be insane--probably the hardest part of the book to swallow. I don't have a large amount of experience with it yet, but after 3 45-man tourneys it hasn't bit me in the *** yet. In one case, with 7-3os, I actually flopped top pair and a gutshot, but I never did actually have to show my hand (which is probably all for the best, lol).--I forgot to mention that even if the raiser (that you have position on because you called his raise on the button with ATC) c-bets around half the pot, you're supposed to minraise even if you still have nothing. Then of course if you get reraised or even called you have to be cautious from that point out. But a lot of it is about trying to sense weakness, but also get away if you sense strength. His point is that your opponent's cards are more likely to be at least somewhat weak (the nuts are rare) than yours are to be strong. This is all for when you are in position against just one opponent though--multiway pots are too dangerous."Most of the disputes with Harrington Ive seen think he starts push/fold mode too early."Then they'd seriously dispute Snyder for sure. His "very short" strategy is for when you have 11-20 bbs (or the equivalent with antes; essentially 7-14M), and is short and to the point:"Any Position: raise or reraise all in with 77 to AA, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ, KT, and QJ.Late Position: If first in, raise all in with any two cards."Pretty wild, huh?

#19 CobaltBlue

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 03:05 PM

Just finished the book this afternoon and I'm still highly recommending it to people.Even if you don't take his advice on altering your strategy, it's interesting to see more comprehensive explorations of tournament speeds and field sizes.

#20 tskillz187

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 03:17 PM

Too stuck in my ways to change my game now. Start some threads when you start taking diwn mtts because of this strat :club:
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