Tourney 7 Card Stud Tournament Structure - Check My Work (1 Viewer)

Mandos

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Context: I run a monthly league that plays $20 buy-in tournaments. Every few months we change things up and play a different format that month. So far this year, we've done Short Deck and PLO, and this month I'm planning on running a 7 card stud tournament. Since I haven't done a limit structure tournament before I'm looking for some ideas on how my proposed structure will work.
I used this structure from the WSOP as a model, taking out some levels to shorten it. https://www.wsop.com/pdfs/structuresheets/structure_4943_20322.pdf

We allow rebuys (or surrender stack) for the first 6 levels, though I'm expecting with the limit structure that won't be as common as normal (maximum 2 or 3). I'm expecting between 7 and 12 players this month. My goal is to keep the structure as gradual and non-turbo as possible, while still finishing between midnight and 1AM. I think the structure below will do the trick, but maybe I'm being over-conservative and can add another level back in near the top? Or I could make a few levels 25 minutes at the beginning to allow for longer hands given the extra street in stud. I'm curious to get other people's thoughts on how long it will take, or other things to be aware of with a 7-stud tournament.

Proposed Structure

LevelAnteLow Card/Bring InCompletion/Small LimitBig Limit
7:3011002005001000
7:5022002008001600
8:10330040012002400
8:30450050015003000
8:50560080020004000
9:106800100025005000
9:30BREAKend of rebuyschip up 100
10:0071000100030006000
10:2081000150040008000
10:40910002000500010000
chip up 500
11:001015002000600012000
11:201120003000800016000
11:4012200030001000020000
12:0013300040001200024000
12:1514300050001500030000
12:3015500050002000040000
12:4516500070002500050000
1:00177000100003000060000
1:151810000200004000080000
1:3019150002000060000120000
1:4520200002000080000160000
2:00213000030000100000200000

Structure with calculations

1665518960286.png
 

BGinGA

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I would never do re-buys with a limit structure.
We offer re-buys in most of our fixed-limit tournaments (Hold'Em, Omaha8, Razz, Stud8, HORSE, Scrotum8), but it's rare to actually see anybody re-buy -- and usually only in the O8 or Scrotum8 events. Typically more a function of newbie calling station playing too many hands to the river (vs bad-beat/cooler protection).
 

Mandos

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We offer re-buys in most of our fixed-limit tournaments (Hold'Em, Omaha8, Razz, Stud8, HORSE, Scrotum8), but it's rare to actually see anybody re-buy -- and usually only in the O8 or Scrotum8 events. Typically more a function of newbie calling station playing too many hands to the river (vs bad-beat/cooler protection).
Yeah, I'm leaning toward allowing rebuys just so that they're not worried about showing up for the evening and then having a short night, but I don't expect anyone to actually need to rebuy at that point in the tournament.

The other thing I'm concerned about some of the newer players getting confused about ante size vs bring-in size vs completion. Looking at the WSOP structure, sometimes the bring-in is the same as the ante, sometimes it's more. I already know this is going to confuse them. On one hand, I'm considering making the bring-in always more than the ante, just so that it's clear that it's something different. On the other, it would be a lot simpler if the bring-in is always the same as the ante, but I don't want them thinking that that's the way limit has to work if they ever play it anywhere else. Does anyone with more experience with limit formats have more ideas on this? Am I overthinking this?
 

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Not going to pretend to know the structure and how well it will play out, but I have played some online limit tourneys and see no reason to do anything but freezeout. Limit tourneys are very slow to start.
 

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Am I overthinking this?
When you get to the point of questioning yourself, maybe, but I like the dedication and I think it will shine through for your patrons.

I appreciate your dedication to the pursuit of a diploma from the prestigious school of hard knocks, there are no substitutes for experience. Please let us know if you have any hiccups and how you dealt with them, and how you plan to navigate the future.

Looks great to me though.
 

BGinGA

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Generally speaking, the bring-in should be about 1/2 of the small bet amount. The ante should be about 1/2 of the bring-in amount (roughly 1/8th of the big bet amount). This makes determining the various amounts very easy, and avoids unnecessary complications.

But the easiest way to run a Stud tourney is to use a rotating button, with the button player posting a table ante equal to the big bet amount, and the bring-in is always 1/2 of the small bet. Easy-Peasy.

Your 60k starting stack with 500/1000 bets in L1 seems small (just 60 big bets). I'd rather see 100-150 BB starting stacks, which should run about 4-5 hours with a decent structure and 15-20 minute levels.

The betting structure can follow a typical 33%/50% increases blind structure used for NLHE events.

Example: For a T100-base set, start with 400/800 opening small/big bets (100 ante, 200 bring-in), followed by 600/1200, 800/1600, 1000/2000 (or 1200/2400), 1500/3000, 2000/4000, 3000/6000, and 4000/8000, and repeat from there (just add a 0 to the previous level amounts).

Starting stacks should be 80k to 120k, and using a table ante allows quicker ante posting and the earlier elimination of small denom chips.

I really don't care for your structure above, as it lacks consistency (antes, bring-ins, and bet increase from level to level all vary too much imo).

You will also have problems posting a 500 ante in L10, since the T500 chips were previously removed from play.
 

BGinGA

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example Fixed-Limit Structure (with table ante = big bet):

(level -- bring-in, small bet/big bet)
L1 -- 200, 400/800
L2 -- 300, 600/1200
L3 -- 400, 800/1600
remove T100 chips
L4 -- 500, 1000/2000
L5 -- 1000, 1500/3000
L6 -- 1000, 2000/4000
L7 -- 1500, 3000/6000
remove T500 chips
L8 -- 2000, 4000/8000
L9 -- 3000, 6000/12000
L10 -- 4000, 8000/16000
remove T1000 chips
L11 -- 5000, 10000/20000
L12 -- 10000, 15000/30000
L13 -- 10000, 20000/40000
L14 -- 15000, 30000/60000
L15 -- 20000, 40000/80000
L16 -- 30000, 60000/120000
L17 -- 40000, 80000/160000
L18 -- 50000, 100000/200000

With 100k stacks (125bb), the event should typically end between L13 (7 players) and L15 (14 players). For reference, 15 levels @ 20 minutes ea = 5:00 hrs + breaks.


Note that by using a table ante, you can optionally add two levels to the beginning of the T100-base tourney above:
a) 100, 200/400
b) 100, 300/600
This would allow for smaller starting stacks, but still fit in the same time-frame.
 
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Mandos

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Generally speaking, the bring-in should be about 1/2 of the small bet amount. The ante should be about 1/2 of the bring-in amount (roughly 1/8th of the big bet amount). This makes determining the various amounts very easy, and avoids unnecessary complications.

But the easiest way to run a Stud tourney is to use a rotating button, with the button player posting a table ante equal to the big bet amount, and the bring-in is always 1/2 of the small bet. Easy-Peasy.

Your 60k starting stack with 500/1000 bets in L1 seems small (just 60 big bets). I'd rather see 100-150 BB starting stacks, which should run about 4-5 hours with a decent structure and 15-20 minute levels.

The betting structure can follow a typical 33%/50% increases blind structure used for NLHE events.

Example: For a T100-base set, start with 400/800 opening small/big bets (100 ante, 200 bring-in), followed by 600/1200, 800/1600, 1000/2000 (or 1200/2400), 1500/3000, 2000/4000, 3000/6000, and 4000/8000, and repeat from there (just add a 0 to the previous level amounts).

Starting stacks should be 80k to 120k, and using a table ante allows quicker ante posting and the earlier elimination of small denom chips.

I really don't care for your structure above, as it lacks consistency (antes, bring-ins, and bet increase from level to level all vary too much imo).

You will also have problems posting a 500 ante in L10, since the T500 chips were previously removed from play.
Thank you! This is exactly the feedback I was looking for. I thought that starting amount might be a bit light. I was going off where the WSOP started, but they obviously have much slower levels so I agree that deeper starting stacks is a better idea. I also was trying to use similar ante:bring-in:small bet ratios to what the WSOP had, but I didn't really find much logic behind the amounts they were using, so I much prefer your 1:2:4 explanation.

I also agree that using a button ante is a better idea for streamlining play, not sure why I hadn't done that already. I adapted the structure you proposed, with a minor tweak to keep the 100 chips on the table until our typical break time around 5-6 levels in, which allows for a 700 bring-in in level 5. I also left the T1000 in play 1 extra level at Level 12 since I normally chip up the T1000s during play (assuming I'm eliminated) during level 13. We also are supposed to have good weather for this event, so I shortened our break (we don't need a long cigar break if we're playing outside the whole time) and added 5 minutes to each of the first 8 levels to make them 25 minutes each. With that we should still wrap up sometime between 12:30 and 1 which is perfect.

I'm much happier with this one. Thank you all for the feedback! And it has the added benefit that I might finally get some T100000 in play in the later rounds.

1665591124134.png
 

Mandos

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Note that by using a table ante, you can optionally add two levels to the beginning of the T100-base tourney above:
a) 100, 200/400
b) 100, 300/600
This would allow for smaller starting stacks, but still fit in the same time-frame.
I like this option too, but I figure if I have enough chips for 100k starting stacks I might as well.
 

JustinInMN

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We use a table ante in our stud cash game and it saves a lot of time and confusion over who ante'd and who didn't.
How do you handle players that get up when it's their turn to post the ante?

I have asked this question from time to time, and I have a couple of "okay" answers for how to deal with this situation, but they don't apply well to mixed games. I want to know what others are doing.
 

BGinGA

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How do you handle players that get up when it's their turn to post the ante?

I have asked this question from time to time, and I have a couple of "okay" answers for how to deal with this situation, but they don't apply well to mixed games. I want to know what others are doing.
In our tournaments (with dedicated dealers), the dealer posts the table ante for an absent player (same as would happen for posting blinds for an absent player). I assume it would be the same for a cash game and/or if pass-the-deal.

Ultimately, the dealer is responsible for ensuring that the pot is correct and proper procedures are followed.
 

JustinInMN

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In our tournaments (with dedicated dealers), the dealer posts the table ante for an absent player (same as would happen for posting blinds for an absent player). I assume it would be the same for a cash game and/or if pass-the-deal.

Ultimately, the dealer is responsible for ensuring that the pot is correct and proper procedures are followed.
Correct, the tournament answer is obvious and makes perfect sense of course.

With cash games it gets sticky to me. You could do the same as tournament of course. But one of the principles of cash games is that you can sit out a round without penalty, unlike with a tournament.

So to me, the fairest rule in cash is would be to skip a player that misses the ante, and that player can either post the ante and be the "dealer" upon his return, and then the "deal" returns to the player that was due to deal before the absent player returned. Or, that player just has to wait until the "button" reaches his seat.

This makes sense to me in a dedicated stud game, but gets murky in mixed games when we switch between button forms and stud forms. So maybe sticking with individual ante just makes sense anyway.
 

Mandos

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Correct, the tournament answer is obvious and makes perfect sense of course.

With cash games it gets sticky to me. You could do the same as tournament of course. But one of the principles of cash games is that you can sit out a round without penalty, unlike with a tournament.

So to me, the fairest rule in cash is would be to skip a player that misses the ante, and that player can either post the ante and be the "dealer" upon his return, and then the "deal" returns to the player that was due to deal before the absent player returned. Or, that player just has to wait until the "button" reaches his seat.

This makes sense to me in a dedicated stud game, but gets murky in mixed games when we switch between button forms and stud forms. So maybe sticking with individual ante just makes sense anyway.
Yeah, if you're switching enough that it becomes problematic I think i would be in favor of sticking with individual antes.
 

BGinGA

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Correct, the tournament answer is obvious and makes perfect sense of course.

With cash games it gets sticky to me. You could do the same as tournament of course. But one of the principles of cash games is that you can sit out a round without penalty, unlike with a tournament.

So to me, the fairest rule in cash is would be to skip a player that misses the ante, and that player can either post the ante and be the "dealer" upon his return, and then the "deal" returns to the player that was due to deal before the absent player returned. Or, that player just has to wait until the "button" reaches his seat.

This makes sense to me in a dedicated stud game, but gets murky in mixed games when we switch between button forms and stud forms. So maybe sticking with individual ante just makes sense anyway.
My take:
In cash games, I see a differences between a player who misses posting his blind(s) and one who misses posting his table ante. In either case, if the player sat out the entire orbit, he has no obligation to post (because he never benefitted from blinds or antes posted by others). But if he played even just a single hand of ante poker, he owes the table ante when it becomes his turn to post (absent or not). All of this assumes that mixed games alternate per orbit and not per hand.

I also tend to lean towards rules and actions that are fairly basic in nature, as I find both understanding and compliance to be higher. For that reason, I've never liked the various options to post missed blinds upon return, and prefer either 'post even if absent' or 'wait until button passes after return" scenarios. An absent player shouldn't disrupt play flow upon his/her return.
 

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Yeah, if you're switching enough that it becomes problematic I think i would be in favor of sticking with individual antes.
My mix game is coming back next week. 2/4 limit AD-BOTS. (Archie, Drawmaha, Badugi, O8, 2-7 Triple Draw, Stud 8) So only one of the 6 games are stud.

But if he played even just a single hand of ante poker, he owes the table ante when it becomes his turn to post (absent or not). All of this assumes that mixed games alternate per orbit and not per hand.

I was toying with the idea that maybe the best way is to collect the table ante from each player at the start of the round into a rack. Say $4 per player for a $2/$4 game. Then each hand starts by pulling $4 from the rack into the pot until the rack is empty. Then all players can come and go as they please. But then I suppose that's not functionally different than every posts in turn regardless of whether or not they are present, except a player has the option to opt out for the round.

I think I am just increasingly convinced that individual antes are better for mix games, but it seems to me there must be some way to take advantage of the consolidated ante trend that I just haven't found.
 

BGinGA

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I was toying with the idea that maybe the best way is to collect the table ante from each player at the start of the round into a rack. Say $4 per player for a $2/$4 game. Then each hand starts by pulling $4 from the rack into the pot until the rack is empty. Then all players can come and go as they please. But then I suppose that's not functionally different than every posts in turn regardless of whether or not they are present, except a player has the option to opt out for the round.
Interesting concept, and yes, functionally the same.... but I think psychologically, it's very different.

With no documented proof, I'll suggest that table antes posted from a collected pool will alter play vs when table antes are posted by the players -- with the underlying thought being that, in general, players who post a table ante feel more "invested" and will fight harder for the pot in that hand (similarly to how a BB player often fights harder because of his blind investment).

Posting antes (or blinds, for that matter) from a pool likely psychologically restores the players' normal non-ownership 'vibe' found with individual- and no-ante events, resulting in less aggressive and/or less sticky behavior.
 

Mandos

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Interesting concept, and yes, functionally the same.... but I think psychologically, it's very different.

With no documented proof, I'll suggest that table antes posted from a collected pool will alter play vs when table antes are posted by the players -- with the underlying thought being that, in general, players who post a table ante feel more "invested" and will fight harder for the pot in that hand (similarly to how a BB player often fights harder because of his blind investment).

Posting antes (or blinds, for that matter) from a pool likely psychologically restores the players' normal non-ownership 'vibe' found with individual- and no-ante events, resulting in less aggressive and/or less sticky behavior.
This is truly fascinating to me. It makes absolutely no sense, but I've noticed it for sure in our tournaments that players are much stickier in the big blind when the BBA is in play.
 

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This is truly fascinating to me. It makes absolutely no sense, but I've noticed it for sure in our tournaments that players are much stickier in the big blind when the BBA is in play.
That's mathematically sound actually. The pot odds are significantly better for the BB with a BBA ante in play. (Though the same is true with with individual antes as well.) For a simple example. 100-200 with a 200BB ante. If the BB is facing an open to 600, there would be 1100 in the pot versus 400 to call, or about 2.75-1. Without that 200 from the BBA, the pot instead has 900 versus 400 to call, or only 2.25-1.

Interesting concept, and yes, functionally the same.... but I think psychologically, it's very different.

With no documented proof, I'll suggest that table antes posted from a collected pool will alter play vs when table antes are posted by the players -- with the underlying thought being that, in general, players who post a table ante feel more "invested" and will fight harder for the pot in that hand (similarly to how a BB player often fights harder because of his blind investment).

Posting antes (or blinds, for that matter) from a pool likely psychologically restores the players' normal non-ownership 'vibe' found with individual- and no-ante events, resulting in less aggressive and/or less sticky behavior.

The other flaw with this is how short stacks should be treated. (And again, that is the flaw with any consolidated ante approach.) Are they just all in for the ante for each deal? (so if they have $3 they could win the ante in any of the 8 deals of stud about to come out?)
 
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BGinGA

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The other flaw with this is how short stacks should be treated. (And again, that is the flaw with any consolidated ante approach.) Are they just all in for the ante for each deal? (so if they have $3 they could win the ante in any of the 8 deals of stud about to come out?)
Theoretically, all players have already pre-paid their antes for each upcoming hand in the orbit, and all players should be eligible to win the antes of every upcoming hand in the orbit -- even if they have zero chips in their chip stack.

Additionally, any chips remaining in the stack would be eligible to win matching wagered chips from any/all of the other players.

The real problem is when a player does not have enough chips to pre-pay the table ante for the upcoming orbit. I would argue that they can not ante 'short', and must pay the full amount of the table ante into the pool or they cannot play*.

Note these are cash game issues only, when collecting table antes in advance for posting from a collected pool. Therefore, a 'short' player can just rebuy to have adequate chips to pre-pay their table ante.

*or if allowed, could choose to pass on the pre-pay option and simply post an individual ante each hand until they run out of chips (although that sounds like a logistical nightmare, and one I would not be willing to entertain).
 

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Theoretically, all players have already pre-paid their antes for each upcoming hand in the orbit, and all players should be eligible to win the antes of every upcoming hand in the orbit -- even if they have zero chips in their chip stack.
I think that would be correct, but purely from an asthetic standpoint, do we want to deal a player all in on 8 hands in a row?

The real problem is when a player does not have enough chips to pre-pay the table ante for the upcoming orbit. I would argue that they can not ante 'short', and must pay the full amount of the table ante into the pool or they cannot play*.

Note these are cash game issues only, when collecting table antes in advance for posting from a collected pool. Therefore, a 'short' player can just rebuy to have adequate chips to pre-pay their table ante.

That's probably the simplest way to deal with the issue if you use a table ante, you have to make the table ante or your can't play. More complicated alternative, you can play a share of the hands commiserate with the amount you can ante and you can complete the ante if you get any portion of a pot along the way.

And yes, in tournament, everyone has to be dealt in every hand, that's the only want to get to completion. Anyone sitting out and not paying forced bets could theoretically prolong the tournament forever. Cash games don't have this sort of ending, which is why I am trying to work through this. Sorry if this has become a threadjack.
 
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Just to report back, for anyone who chooses to try a stud tournament in the future:
We had 9 players, so ended up playing 2 tables with 4 and 5 until someone was eliminated. It definitely took awhile for people to get used to the limit structure: a lot of "how much can I bet?", and "can I bet more than that?" and "which limit is it?" questions for the first few levels, but after awhile at least some of the players appreciated the simplicity of not having a decision to make about bet sizing. With 100k starting stacks and the initial big bet of 800, stacks felt very deep and it took awhile for the action to feel meaningful. There was definitely some complaining from the most aggressive NLHE players that they couldn't push people off hands and that things were too slow. However those early levels did make a difference. The eventual winner had several hands in a row with higher 2 pair vs 2 pair, which allowed him to build up a large enough stack that he was able to made some very questionable calls later which (of course) ended up getting there, including a gutshot straight that hit on 7th street (with 1 or 2 of his outs already folded). We also decided to redraw seating positions after 3 blind levels just so that we would get to play a bit with different players during the night. I chose to allow rebuys (in theory) for the first 5 levels but as I expected no one was eliminated until level 7 anyway, at which point we combined to the final table and things started to really pick up. Despite a run of anyone who was all-in always winning for nearly an hour, it still ended only slightly after projected with about 2 minutes left in level 14.
If I were to do it again, I think I would either slightly reduce the starting stacks or shorten the initial levels a bit (I made them 25 minutes, our normal 20 minutes probably would have been fine).

Thank you everyone for the advice!

While I'm at it, here are some pictures of the event.
Arias CM chips, with Rounders topper and Teddy KGB Oreo button on the main table. (Apologies for the blurry photos, the lighting wasn't the best. )
PXL_20221015_014622326.jpg


It got a bit chilly towards the end, but most of the players took advantage of the slower initial action for some leisurely cigar/pipe smoking.
imageedit_7_6845707362.jpg


It's not a poker night without a decent bourbon spread (there are a few nicer bottles as well that I don't leave out for general consumption)
PXL_20221014_232742307.jpg


Homemade pretzel bites and sharp cheddar sauce along with local brew Oachkatzlschwoaf (not pictured) for Oktoberfest.
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Trio of homemade salsas (restaurant style, pico, tomatillo) made from homegrown tomatos and tomatillos.
PXL_20221015_000910683.jpg
 

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