Tourney Beginner looking for blind structure

Kodah10

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First off I would like to thank everyone who responded and me feel very welcome. I purchased my set based off your recommendations and am super excited to start my home games when the isolation rules change.

my next question concerns the structure for the blinds. We will be playing a 20-25k starting stack and ideally want to play for a few hours (approx 4 with breaks).

does anyone have any recommendations?

thank you very much
 

Mr Winberg

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How many players? And are you allowing rebuys?

My goto-structure is (with SB being half and the optional BB ante if you are so inclined)

BB
50
100
150
200
300
400
600
800
1200
1600
(and repeat from 200 above with an extra zero, i.e. 2000, 3000 etc)

With 20-25k I'd probably start at either 100 or 200 depending on how deep structure you want.

Calculate the amount of chips in play. Divide this by 20 to get an estimated last level. E.g., if you are 20 players with 20k stacks that's 400k in play. 400k/20=20k, so it should end no later than the 10k/20k level.

Based on this, count the levels. If you start at 50/100 that's 17 levels to get to 10k/20k. 4 hours minus 3 ten minute breaks means 210 minutes of poker, so the level time should be 210/17=12 minutes.

This is just an example, use this approach to taylor your structure. For me, 12 minutes is far too short, so I would probably start shallower and/or have a longer tournament and/or invite fewer players.
 

Kodah10

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Sorry yes I should’ve provided more information. Our tournaments will probably range from 8-10 players (one table). My primary concern is that the relatively deep stacks will incite a lot of action early on which I don’t want. I want the tournament to last for 4h+ going into 5-6. Could you make any recommendations on that?
thank you
 

Mr Winberg

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My primary concern is that the relatively deep stacks will incite a lot of action early on
Do you mean people getting eliminated? The deeper the stacks, the less likely it is that players are eliminated early. However, the only way to really guarantee players getting a few hours of poker is allowing rebuys. Or perhaps prebuys?

Prebuy: For your buy-in you get two stacks; if you are eliminated during the rebuy period you get a second chance with your second stack, and if you survive the rebuy period you get your second stack as an add-on. The benefit in a friendly home game is that everyone pays the same amount, everyone gets a second chance (during the first levels), and people don't play as wild as with unlimited rebuys since there is strategic value to surviving the rebuy-period (whereas with pure rebuys the main reason to survive is to spend less money).

I want the tournament to last for 4h+ going into 5-6. Could you make any recommendations on that?

I could! But you know the old saying: Build a man a fire and he will be warm for the rest of the night. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life!

Step 1: Assume no rebuys (i.e. a freezout). Then apply the reasoning from this post:
How many players? And are you allowing rebuys?

My goto-structure is (with SB being half and the optional BB ante if you are so inclined)

BB
50
100
150
200
300
400
600
800
1200
1600
(and repeat from 200 above with an extra zero, i.e. 2000, 3000 etc)

With 20-25k I'd probably start at either 100 or 200 depending on how deep structure you want.

Calculate the amount of chips in play. Divide this by 20 to get an estimated last level. E.g., if you are 20 players with 20k stacks that's 400k in play. 400k/20=20k, so it should end no later than the 10k/20k level.

Based on this, count the levels. If you start at 50/100 that's 17 levels to get to 10k/20k. 4 hours minus 3 ten minute breaks means 210 minutes of poker, so the level time should be 210/17=12 minutes.

This is just an example, use this approach to taylor your structure. For me, 12 minutes is far too short, so I would probably start shallower and/or have a longer tournament and/or invite fewer players.

What numbers do you arrive at? What happens when you change which level you start at? What happens when you change the starting stacks? Etc...

Step 2: If you want rebuys, estimate how many will be bought and run the numbers as per the post above. (Another benefit of using prebuys instead is that you will know exactly how many chips will be in play)

Step 3: Profit.
 

BGinGA

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My primary concern is that the relatively deep stacks will incite a lot of action early on which I don’t want.
Exactly what do you think happens (ie, define 'lot of action' and it's consequences), and why do you think it undesireable?
 

Himewad

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Sorry yes I should’ve provided more information. Our tournaments will probably range from 8-10 players (one table). My primary concern is that the relatively deep stacks will incite a lot of action early on which I don’t want. I want the tournament to last for 4h+ going into 5-6. Could you make any recommendations on that?
thank you
Sounds like your home game is a lot like my home game. Our typical game is in the 4-5 hour range with rebuys, 8-10 players and deep stacks. We have the following starting stacks and blind structure (we don't have T25 chips ... we start at T100).

T100 x20
T500 x20
T1000 x13
T5000 x3
Starting Stack = 40,000

20 Minute Levels for 2 hours (through level 6):
100-200
200-400
300-600
400-800
600-1200
800-1600
30 Minute Levels the rest of the way
1000-2000
1500-3000
2000-4000
3000-6000
4000-8000
5000-10000 (that's as high as it typically ever gets to)
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Another n00b here. When timing the length of your levels and the timer goes off, does it stop, and then not start back up until the beginning of the next hand? Or does it just keep running on into the next level? If it stops and restarts, then you would need to allow for an additional 2-3 minutes per level when computing your total time of the tournament, correct?
 

BGinGA

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Those blind increases are pretty brutal (and inconsistent) for a 4-hour tournament.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Those blind increases are pretty brutal (and inconsistent) for a 4-hour tournament.
Open for suggestions. I had them with smaller increases at first, but using Mr Winberg's formula in post #2 it came out to a 5 hour tournament, so I removed 2-3 levels. I also wanted to time my breaks and my chip-ups at the same time. There's really only two that are brutal - going from 2000 to 4000, then 4000 to 8000. I suppose I could leave the 500s in until the next break, and drop the starting stack down to $15K.

Better?

 

BGinGA

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Open for suggestions.
Starting deep with 300 or 400 big blnds is rather pointless when you slash the stacks in half -- not once, but twice -- in the first 30 minutes of play. Consider adding a %-increase column (and cumulative average %) column plus an effective size (in BB) column to your spreadsheet so you can observe the effects of the blind increases for each level. Structures that contain a wide range of increases from 25% to 100% create unnecessary inconsistencies from level to level, and place artificial importance on certain levels during the event.

If wanting to finish a 10-player event in approximately 4 hours, I'd recommend one of the two structures below. The first has all 15-minute levels with 33% to 50% increases (averaging 40%) and should run no longer than 3:40 hours (L15) plus breaks. The second structure has more aggressive 20-minute levels (50% to 67%, averaging 59%) and should also run no longer than 3:45 hours (L11) plus breaks.

20K stacks (200BB), 15-minute levels:
lvl sb bb
L1 50 100
L2 75 150
L3 100 200
L4 150 300
remove T25 chips
L5 200 400
L6 300 600
L7 400 800
L8 600 1200
break
L9 800 1600
L10 1100 2200
L11 1500 3000
L12 2000 4000
remove T100/T500 chips
L13 3000 6000
L14 4000 8000
L15 6000 12000 ** EOT
L16 8000 16000
remove T1000 chips
L17 10000 20000
L18 15000 30000
L19 20000 40000
L20 30000 60000

20K stacks (200BB), 20-minute levels:
lvl sb bb
L1 50 100
L2 75 150
L3 125 250
L4 200 400
remove T25 chips
L5 300 600
L6 500 1000
L7 800 1600
L8 1200 2400
remove T100/T500 chips
L9 2000 4000
L10 3000 6000
L11 5000 10000 ** EOT
L12 8000 16000
remove T1000 chips
L13 12000 24000
L14 20000 40000
L15 30000 60000

Regarding your proposed 20K stack breakdown (20/20/7/4/2), I recommend that you decrease the number of T25, T100, and T500 denomination chips, and increase the number of T1000 denomination chips in the starting stack. Conventional wisdom is that 10-15 starting chips is the optimum number for the two lowest denominations, so 20K starting stacks of 12/12/5/6/2 are typically used. The T500 chip is far less important (when T1000 chips are used), since no more than a single T500 chip will ever be used in any blind or constructed bet -- between 4 and 6 is the optimum number for starting stacks. Using T1000 chips to color-up the T25 and T100 chips ensures that enough T1000 chips will be in play when it becomes the workhorse chip later in the event, and T5000s are used to color-up T500 chips for the same reason.

A typical 10-player T20K set would have a breakdown similar to this:
120 x T25
120 x T100
50 x T500
75 x T1000 (includes 15x for T25/T100 color-ups)
35 x T5000 (includes 5x for T500 color-ups and 10x for up 25% re-buys)
------------
400 chips
 
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TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Starting deep with 300 or 400 big blnds is rather pointless when you slash the stacks in half -- not once, but twice -- in the first 30 minutes of play. Consider adding a %-increase column (and cumulative average %) column plus an effective size (in BB) column to your spreadsheet so you can observe the effects of the blind increases for each level. Structures that contain a wide range of increases from 25% to 100% create unnecessary inconsistencies from level to level, and place artificial importance on certain levels during the event.

If wanting to finish a 10-player event in approximately 4 hours, I'd recommend one of the two structures below. The first has all 15-minute levels with 33% to 50% increases (averaging 40%) and should run no longer than 3:40 hours (L15) plus breaks. The second structure has more aggressive 20-minute levels (50% to 67%, averaging 59%) and should also run no longer than 3:45 hours (L11) plus breaks.

20K stacks (200BB), 15-minute levels:
lvl sb bb
L1 50 100
L2 75 150
L3 100 200
L4 150 300
remove T25 chips
L5 200 400
L6 300 600
L7 400 800
L8 600 1200
break
L9 800 1600
L10 1100 2200
L11 1500 3000
L12 2000 4000
remove T100/T500 chips
L13 3000 6000
L14 4000 8000
L15 6000 12000 ** EOT
L16 8000 16000
remove T1000 chips
L17 10000 20000
L18 15000 30000
L19 20000 40000
L20 30000 60000

20K stacks (200BB), 20-minute levels:
lvl sb bb
L1 50 100
L2 75 150
L3 125 250
L4 200 400
remove T25 chips
L5 300 600
L6 500 1000
L7 800 1600
L8 1200 2400
remove T100/T500 chips
L9 2000 4000
L10 3000 6000
L11 5000 10000 ** EOT
L12 8000 16000
remove T1000 chips
L13 12000 24000
L14 20000 40000
L15 30000 60000

Regarding your proposed 20K stack breakdown (20/20/7/4/2), I recommend that you decrease the number of T25, T100, and T500 denomination chips, and increase the number of T1000 denomination chips in the starting stack. Conventional wisdom is that 10-15 starting chips is the optimum number for the two lowest denominations, so 20K starting stacks of 12/12/5/6/2 are typically used. The T500 chip is far less important (when T1000 chips are used), since no more than a single T500 chip will ever be used in any blind or constructed bet -- between 4 and 6 is the optimum number for starting stacks. Using T1000 chips to color-up the T25 and T100 chips ensures that enough T1000 chips will be in play when it becomes the workhorse chip later in the event, and T5000s are used to color-up T500 chips for the same reason.

A typical 10-player T20K set would have a breakdown similar to this:
120 x T25
120 x T100
50 x T500
75 x T1000 (includes 15x for T25/T100 color-ups)
35 x T5000 (includes 5x for T500 color-ups and 10x for up 25% re-buys)
------------
400 chips
Thanks for the ideas. I'll make some revisions to my blind levels. I will say I'm in the camp that likes a big stack to start out with. I'm seeing in my short time here that there are some others like me, and a lot of others like you. I love the looks of most T25 chips, and will definitely purchase a set that has a good looking one. I may just pus that first break out to 5 levels to keep the 25s in play longer. I'm sure that sounds stupid to you, but I'm not a very serious player right now. So I think the solution is to make some of the changes you suggested in combination with reducing the total value of chips in play to keep the length of the games in check.

Again, thank a lot for sharing your thoughts.
 

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I use the Poker Timer app and that does all the hard work for me.

Type in the number of players, starting stack, whether or not you allow rebuys and add-ons (how many you anticipate) and how long you want your tourney to last... and it does it all for you. You can tweak any of the blind levels and add / remove levels and breaks as you see fit.

You can also save your tourney structures and add as many as you want. I’m set up for 2k, 5k, 10k and 25k depending on which set I’m playing with that night. Been using it for a few years now and can’t complain.
 

Mr Winberg

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but using Mr Winberg's formula
Patent pending!

I will say I'm in the camp that likes a big stack to start out with. I'm seeing in my short time here that there are some others like me, and a lot of others like you.
I think @BGinGA also like deep stacks, it's just that when you have a short tourney time, you need to make compromises. Either start deep and let the mid and end game become coin flippin shove-fests with no "poker". Or, start shallower, i.e. removing time from the "warm-up" allowing you to allocate more time to the mid and end game. In home games, the end game usually becomes shove fests no matter what you do, but the mid game can be "saved" by starting shallower.

It's not wrong vs right, it's a matter of preference.

Because of the above, a 300 or 400 BB tournament with 10 players and 4 hours effective play will play out as a bit of a turbo. Add 6 rebuys and it becomes even more turboish.

The other extreme would be a 4h freezout starting shallow, e.g. 60 BBs wouldn't allow any warm-up, but would play out much smoother and allow for skill to make a difference in the mid game.

A sweetspot is probably a freezout with 200BB stacks or a rebuy tournament with 100BB stacks.

Regarding the starting stacks, I also do 20 each of T25 and T100. It's definitely not for everyone, but I like it. However, as BG wrote, you should have less T500 than T1000.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Patent pending!


I think @BGinGA also like deep stacks, it's just that when you have a short tourney time, you need to make compromises. Either start deep and let the mid and end game become coin flippin shove-fests with no "poker". Or, start shallower, i.e. removing time from the "warm-up" allowing you to allocate more time to the mid and end game. In home games, the end game usually becomes shove fests no matter what you do, but the mid game can be "saved" by starting shallower.

It's not wrong vs right, it's a matter of preference.

Because of the above, a 300 or 400 BB tournament with 10 players and 4 hours effective play will play out as a bit of a turbo. Add 6 rebuys and it becomes even more turboish.

The other extreme would be a 4h freezout starting shallow, e.g. 60 BBs wouldn't allow any warm-up, but would play out much smoother and allow for skill to make a difference in the mid game.

A sweetspot is probably a freezout with 200BB stacks or a rebuy tournament with 100BB stacks.

Regarding the starting stacks, I also do 20 each of T25 and T100. It's definitely not for everyone, but I like it. However, as BG wrote, you should have less T500 than T1000.
Thanks for more things to think about. As someone who has dabbled in the game for many years, but never gotten really serious about it, I am certainly learning a lot since coming here last week.

I wasn't really thinking that 4 hours was a short game. Other than knowing that big tournaments can go for days. What is a typical length for 8-10 buddies getting together on a Friday night to drink some beers and play some Hold'em? I'm going through this exercise at the moment mainly for the purpose of determining how many chips I want to buy as I get ready to order a new set. To be really be honest, I don't even like tournament play that much. I prefer a cash game. But most other less serious players (the type I'll be inviting over) seem to prefer the tournament structure. While I want enough chips to do longer and bigger games occasionally, my thoughts for a night at "my poker room" would be to start with a tournament, maybe even only a 3 hour schedule, and then get a cash game going as guys drop out. Would it be crazy to even shorten it to 2 or 2 1/2 hours?

Looks like I'm going to have to read up on the strategies of having a fun and successful home game. I definitely want a game where skill is stressed over sheer luck. In the meantime, I trust you guys know what you're talking about and will take your advice and keep tweaking my structures. Can you explain what you mean by a freezout? I'm not familiar with that term.

Thanks!
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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I use the Poker Timer app and that does all the hard work for me.

Type in the number of players, starting stack, whether or not you allow rebuys and add-ons (how many you anticipate) and how long you want your tourney to last... and it does it all for you. You can tweak any of the blind levels and add / remove levels and breaks as you see fit.

You can also save your tourney structures and add as many as you want. I’m set up for 2k, 5k, 10k and 25k depending on which set I’m playing with that night. Been using it for a few years now and can’t complain.
Thanks. Good timing! I actually went looking for a timer app last night. Saw some recommendations for Blinds are up, and when I went to download it, found that I had used it years ago. It was already on my phone! One thing I didn't find while playing around with it was the option to put in rebuys. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough. But yeah, it was really cool how I would put in the stack size and tournament length, hit a button, and BAM! There was a blind structure with the proper tournament length! Easy!
 

Mr Winberg

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I wasn't really thinking that 4 hours was a short game.
For 10 players it isn't short. What makes it short is that you start with 3-400 BBs each and allow rebuys. That's a lot of chips which forces the structure to become quite aggressive if you want it to end after 4h.
my thoughts for a night at "my poker room" would be to start with a tournament, maybe even only a 3 hour schedule, and then get a cash game going as guys drop out
That's what I do. 5.5 hour freezout including breaks for around 20-25 players, and when you're out you play cash. I really like ut!
Would it be crazy to even shorten it to 2 or 2 1/2 hours?
No, as long as you know the effects and are ok with them. I would probably do a freezout starting with 60-100 BBs, though.
Can you explain what you mean by a freezout?
Yes :) it's when no rebuys, reentries, or addons are allowed. When you're out, you're out!
 

BonScot

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Thanks. Good timing! I actually went looking for a timer app last night. Saw some recommendations for Blinds are up, and when I went to download it, found that I had used it years ago. It was already on my phone! One thing I didn't find while playing around with it was the option to put in rebuys. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough. But yeah, it was really cool how I would put in the stack size and tournament length, hit a button, and BAM! There was a blind structure with the proper tournament length! Easy!
I’ve not used blinds are up but Poker Timer lets you add in Renaissance and add-ons. My tourneys typically last 4 hours then (and because everyone is drunk) we move on to a cash game for a couple of hours.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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For 10 players it isn't short. What makes it short is that you start with 3-400 BBs each and allow rebuys. That's a lot of chips which forces the structure to become quite aggressive if you want it to end after 4h.

That's what I do. 5.5 hour freezout including breaks for around 20-25 players, and when you're out you play cash. I really like ut!

No, as long as you know the effects and are ok with them. I would probably do a freezout starting with 60-100 BBs, though.

Yes :) it's when no rebuys, reentries, or addons are allowed. When you're out, you're out!
Thanks! More great info!

For anyone responding to my latest questions IGNORE THE TABLE in Post #13. I have done multiple tweaks since then and I'm down to around 200 BB starting stack.
 
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