Tourney Blind Structure Question (1 Viewer)


Straight Flush
Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2013
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I'm hosting a 20 player tournament in a week or so: I've got a decent structure, which I've used successfully with 10k starting stacks. I've never reached the last level (10k/20k), but am now upping my starting stacks to 15k (I really want to introduce the orange 5k CPS chip into this game).

I strongly believe (even with 50% more chips) we'll be done before the 10k/20k level. Heads up, we'll have avg stacks of 150k, so at the 10k/20k level, the avg will be 7.5 bb. That said, I'd like to program in a few extra blind levels into my TD software (just in case). I also might want to do a deeper stack tourney down the road (say 20+k stacks). So, I'm looking for where my blinds should progress to next?

My initial thought was this:

14,000 / 28,000
20,000 / 40,000


Blind Schedule
25 / 50
50 / 100
75 / 150
100 / 200
Break (Color-Up T25’s)
200 / 400
300 / 600
400 / 800
600 / 1,200
800 / 1,600
Break (Color-Up T100’s)
1,000 / 2,000
1,500 / 3,000
2,000 / 4,000
3,000 / 6,000
4,000 / 8,000
6,000 / 12,000
8,000 / 16,000
10,000 / 20,000
You probably already know this, but I detest your early-round structure (two 100% increases: L1-to-L2, and L4-to-L5). Totally illogical and unnecessary.

Beyond that, the structure runs nicely. Even with T15K stacks, the event will likely end no later than L16 (8000/16000). Your blind progression is already in place, starting at L5 -- just continue it. You should be removing the T1000 chips after the 8000/16000 level, so creating a 14k/28k level later makes no sense.

big blinds:



and so on.

Btw, an easy fix to your early rounds:
add 25/75 level between L1 and L2 (or eliminate L1 altogether)
add 150/300 level between L4 and L5.

Random 100% increases in an otherwise progressive and balanced structure are stupid.
I normally do have 150/300 in there. Not sure how it got dropped
Okay, late-night rant retracted. :)

Just stick with your 200-300-400-600-800-1200-1600 progression (which is basically alternating 50%/33% increases), and you'll be fine.
I've never seen a 25/75 level anywhere - isn't 25/50 to 50/100 pretty typical?

BG is trying to start a revolution here. Get with the program! I think I'll add a 5/15 level next time I host.
I've never seen a 25/75 level anywhere - isn't 25/50 to 50/100 pretty typical?

Doubling blinds is a BGinGA felony.

I do 25/50 to 50/100 and 100/200 to 200/400 routinely particularly if I'm bound by a time restraint. No issues. Ymmv certainly.
Doubling at the beginning of a tourney isn't a big deal, to me, if stacks are large relative to the blinds.

And doubling the blinds isn't necessary a problem if it's the standard - i.e., if they keep doubling.

But occasionally doubling, especially beyond the early levels, gets weird. Makes progressions erratic.

I personally love the idea of letting the ratio of big:small vary to allow for a smoother progression, especially for a Turbo or short-stack tourney... but I can see how a lot of people are uncomfortable with it, because they may become very uncertain about how to play from the small, and a little less certain how much to raise from other positions.

For example, in $1/$2, the typical opening raise is triple the big ( 3 x 2 ), or double the blinds ( 2 x (2+1) ) - those are always the same number ( $6 ) if the big is double the small. But what happens at $1/$3? Is it $9, or $8? And just how much tighter should you play from the small blind when deciding whether to complete the bet?
Doubling blinds is a BGinGA felony.

Indeed, BG would probably have people shot over that if he hasn't already!

BG definitely doesn't like blinds to double, but to me, it depends. I prefer not to double blinds, but I like it at the very beginning for this reason. It's a powerful penalty for a late arrival. They should up after the blinds have doubled, and effectively their chip stack is cut in half. Of course, if no one has been KO'd, they have an average chip stack, but they've missed the cheapest round and lost the opportunity to see how the tournament has flowed. It's also a way to force the tournament to end when it's getting late and players have survived longer than expected. To BG's credit, he's come up with some creative schedules that make for good tournament structures. I really like some of his ideas, even though I have a hard time getting our group to go along with them.

Having blinds that go up from 25% to 100% mixed in forces players to plan more. That actually benefits skillful players, though that's not why I do it.

My players like a really deep stacked tournament (500 BB to start). Our blinds are 20 minutes and we want to be done in about 4 hours for up to 30 players. Blinds have to double somewhere, or you've got to go with really short blinds where not every player is likely to be in every position at every blind level. I've asked about a lesser stack and no doubling, but that's just not what my players want. You can still have a great tournament because there are a lot of ways to structure a tournament that work well.
You made several good and valid points, Tex (although no, I've never shot anyone - not over blinds, anyway...)

I did want to address this issue you brought up, however:'ve got to go with really short blinds where not every player is likely to be in every position at every blind level.

It is a commonly-used argument against using shorter blind times (usually 10-15 minute intervals), usually citing that it is unfair for every player to not be subjected to the same blind amounts each orbit. But that argument simply does not hold up upon deeper review. Here's why:

Unless blinds are increased after exactly one orbit of hands has passed, the actual amount of blinds posted per player per orbit will ALWAYS be different (i.e., unfair, in some eyes). Doesn't matter if the blind levels are one hour, 20-minutes, or only five minutes long. With shorter level times (and less than one orbit before increasing), some players will post larger amounts and some will post less per orbit. But with longer blind level times (allowing more hands than one orbit before increasing), the same result occurs -- some players will end up post less blinds per orbit while others will post larger amounts.

My view is that a smoother progression (with smaller average increases) combined with shorter blind level times is preferable over a structure containing larger (or inconsistent) increases combined with longer blind level times. Both can be structured to complete within the the same time frame, but the smoother types of structures typically allow players more leeway and latitude in decision-making, compared to the sudden jumps (making some players suddenly find themselves short-stacked) created by the latter types of structures.
BG, I don't disagree with your last paragraph. On blind times however, I do. Here's why. I understand with timed blinds, not every player is going to have the same number of hands in the same position. I have no problem with that. The issue I have though is the possibility of a player never getting a chance at a blind level.

Example (happened to me): 11 players at the single table, I'm in the 9th position, and with 11 minute blinds. That tournament normally did 8 players to a table, but decided with only 11 to put them on 1 table. I don't think the realized 11 don't move as fast as 8. This was the start of a tournament, and I only started with 68 BB (varying starting stacks, but I had one of the smallest). We were into round 2 during the second hand (two very slow hands). Since the blinds doubled, I then had 34 BB. I had no playable cards and was not in a good position for those hands. The next 2 hands were also very slow. I don't remember the reason it was so slow. Five hands, and 22 minutes, with blinds going up the next hand. I realize that in 2 hands, I'll be the big blind. The first 2 blind levels doubled (and it would have been OK with me if you had shot them!). I'm about to be down to 17 BB and in the BB. I've yet to see either really playable cards, or be in a good position. I never had a really decent chip stack. My choices are really limited:

  • Go all-in right then and hope for the best, or
  • Go all-in when I'm the BB and several people might act behind me, or
  • Hope I got great cards (unlikely) in the SB and make a play, or
  • Wait, knowing within 3-5 hands I'll be down to 8.5 BB

No good choices. I made the decision I had to go all-in pre-flop blind while my chips still counted for something. I got 3 callers, didn't win (and wasn't the favorite with my cards).

Analysis -- Yep, horrible structure -- blinds doubled 1st 3 rounds; very short blinds. I never in that tournament has a chip advantage, good cards, or decent position. I never went back to another one of their tournaments. This was supposed to be a "just for fun" tournament. I didn't have to pay to enter, but I had a chance to win some money. But that wasn't fun. That's not poker to me. I never went back to any other tournaments they did (and still do).

One of your things is blinds doubling. One of mine is blind rounds so short that players routinely don't get in a good position even once a round. Ours are 20 minutes based on 10 to a table and an average of 2 minutes per hand. With 8 to a table, I don't think 15 min blinds is too short, but it is for 10 players. The 2 MPH isn't a constant of course, and we don't always have 10 at a table. But blind structures much shorter than 20 minutes with 10 to a table is challenging. That's just me.

I get that a much better blind structure alleviates that to some extent, but not entirely. When I decide whether to play in a tournament, I look at the structure (blinds, blind times, #/table), the buy-in, the payouts, how much I think luck factors in (I don't mind some luck, but if it's a luckfest, I'm not coming), etc. I try to evaluate everything. Other than a luckfest, there is not a single factor that keeps me out. If I won't play, it's a combination of things.
Doubling the blinds isn't necessarily a bad thing. I personally don't like to do it, but I can see the merit if you don't want to have short blind levels.

There's actually more play in the game where the blinds double when comparing these two structures.

15 min blinds

30 min blinds

It's just that it's such a shock to the system when you drop from a stack of 30BBs to 15BBs when the blinds change. That's why I use the intermediate blind levels so you gradually drop from 30BBs to 20BBs to 15BBs.

Plus, I like slow structures, so I run tournaments that last 7-8 hours (30min blinds). My players have gotten so used to that, that when they play in a 15min blinds game they're always complaining :cool:.
I'm a fan of shorter blinds with gentler blind bump-ups. No, we won't always complete an orbit in a single-deck, self-dealt (read slow shuffling/dealing) games, but nothing brings the chatty-Cathy dealer back to their dealing duties quite like the blind timer running low or buzzing. Shorter levels = more time reminders.

I'm not on board with BG's zero-tolerance for doubling the blinds early, provided the starting stack is still > 100BB when the blinds finally level out to 50% jumps, and occasional 33% jumps.
Our game is longer levels and doubling of blinds. It's a slow crew from time to time so it allows each blind to really get around the table before going up. It also really forces fence sitters to try and get in hands instead of just watching and keeps a super conservative player from just riding the first half to 3/4 of a game out to try and get in the money. Of course this is my first real 'season' running a league so it's all a learning process and also an attempt to have a roughly 4-5 hour game.

30 minute blind increases with 20k starting stack

500/1000 - one non 100% increase here is usually a pretty important time of the evening so people realize it's time to make their move or suck out
2000/4000 - It rarely gets here

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