Tourney Decreasing level durations

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#1
HI folks

Thoughts please on this - just something I'm toying with.

I don't want advice on blind amounts, so let's get that straight. What I want to know is, is it viable (as far as your own thoughts are concerned) to play a tourney where (instead of being fixed), the level durations start off long and get shorter with time?

I was thinking an hour of 20 minute blinds (i.e. 3 levels), an hour of 15 minute blinds (4 levels), an hour of 12 minute blinds (6 levels) then 10 minute blinds thereafter (this is set up for an 8 player game, with 200 bb starting stacks. Game completes between 3.5 and 4 hours. I'm picking an hour per "duration" so they're easier to manage for players (i.e you know you've got an hour before the duration changes again). This will also be clearly announced via the tourney director software I use, which will also show the next level's duration if it's different to the current level.

For comparison, fixed duration levels would all need to be 12 minutes long to finish in roughly the same time frame, so with variable duration levels, what you're losing in the latter stages (when there are less players and therefore more hands per minute) you're gaining earlier on (also the blind increases are fairly shallow (averaging at just shy of 25%,so even at 10 minutes, they're not shove-festy.

So... whaddya think? Anyone actually tried this? Try and keep "I wouldn't like this" or "This would tilt me" comments out of this if you haven't tried it (either as player or host) - I'm pretty certain my crew will initially hate it, but what I'm interested in is whether they'll like it by the end of the session :p
 
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#2
I tried just a two step process once - keeping the first 5 levels at 20 mins and then dropping to 15 for the rest. It did make the tourney feel a little slow developing, and then a quick flurry where the blinds started eating everyone up. I went back to level blind times, but didn't ask my players for feedback - I simply didn't like the feel of the game.
 

Ronoh

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#3
If you’re set on such a thing I’d start off with the shortest levels... much like the smallest denominations being the least important, so are the early levels. I could see making the middle levels being longer than the end game levels but extending the early levels is nothing more than a time sink.

Also not a fan of each change being a different amount of time... 12m for phase 1 and 4, 17m for phase 2 and 3 would be better IMO.
 

detroitdad

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#4
(instead of being fixed), the level durations start off long and get shorter with time?
I think that is pretty common.

We do it a little bit differently in our league. We start off with 4 x 20 minute levels. Then we move to 20 minute levels for the meat of the tourney. Then we drop back down to 20, then 15.
 

JTBass

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#5
I do something similar. Start off at 20 min for levels 1-5, then decrease by a single min for each level 5-10. e.g.

L6 19min
L7 18min
L8 17min
L9 16min
L10 15mn.

15min are then used until end of tourney. We dont use Ante's. This works quit well, as it is not noticeable to players but shaves off some time so that my tourney does not run over 4.5 hrs, breaks exclusive.

Cheers,
Jeff
 
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#6
HI folks

Thoughts please on this - just something I'm toying with.

I don't want advice on blind amounts, so let's get that straight. What I want to know is, is it viable (as far as your own thoughts are concerned) to play a tourney where (instead of being fixed), the level durations start off long and get shorter with time?

I was thinking an hour of 20 minute blinds (i.e. 3 levels), an hour of 15 minute blinds (4 levels), an hour of 12 minute blinds (6 levels) then 10 minute blinds thereafter (this is set up for an 8 player game, with 200 bb starting stacks. Game completes between 3.5 and 4 hours. I'm picking an hour per "duration" so they're easier to manage for players (i.e you know you've got an hour before the duration changes again). This will also be clearly announced via the tourney director software I use, which will also show the next level's duration if it's different to the current level.

For comparison, fixed duration levels would all need to be 12 minutes long to finish in roughly the same time frame, so with variable duration levels, what you're losing in the latter stages (when there are less players and therefore more hands per minute) you're gaining earlier on (also the blind increases are fairly shallow (averaging at just shy of 25%,so even at 10 minutes, they're not shove-festy.

So... whaddya think? Anyone actually tried this? Try and keep "I wouldn't like this" or "This would tilt me" comments out of this if you haven't tried it (either as player or host) - I'm pretty certain my crew will initially hate it, but what I'm interested in is whether they'll like it by the end of the session :p
I do exactly this in my monthly tournaments. I like the fact that the faster blind levels later in the tournament really do not affect play. Usually towards the end of the blinds schedule (with 4 rounds left), there are less than 4 players. I don't think with 4 people left, they want 20 minute blind levels. And as a host, if I'm not in the final 2 or 3 it's GTFO of my house! :LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh:
 
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#7
I'm not a fan of changing the length of time levels. If you are trying to make the tourney end at a certain time, IMO this can be accomplished better by adjusting your blinds.

But if I were forced to do it, the shorter levels should be at the beginning, not the end. With the blinds lower in the beginning you get more play. When stacks start getting short, why would you want to make the tourney more of a shove-fest?
 
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#8
I also adjust blind level times, but am a huge advocate of INCREASING the time/level as the tournament progresses. Early levels may be 15 minutes, and later levels increase as the importance of each decision increases. I despise tournaments that rush the end game in the interest of finishing on time. Making the finale of the tournament a shove fest is a highly detrimental result of decreasing the time/level.
 

upNdown

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#9
I wouldn't like this. For what its worth, when I've seen level duration changes in casinos, it's been the other way around - levels get longer toward the end of the tournament.
 

JTBass

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#10
With 200BB, and the right progression of blinds, no antes, my tourney is never a shove fest, sure there are some allins every once in a while. No add-ons, no rebuys.

T10,000

L1 25/50 20min
L2 50/100 20min
L3 75/150 20min
L4 100/200 20min
L5 150/300 20min
5 min Break Color Up 25's
L6 200/400 19min
L7 300/600 18min
L8 400/800 17min
L9 500/1000 16min
5min Break
L10 600/1200 15min
L11 800/1600 15min
L12 1000/2000 15min
L13 1200/2400 15min
5min Break Color Up 100's
L14 1500/3000 15min -Prob Heads Up Start
L15 2000/4000 15min
L16 2500/5000 15min

Roughly 4.5 hrs.
 
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#11
Yes. I used to play in a weekly, social, low-stakes ($15 or $20 buy-in) tournament with between 10-25 players, that was on a weeknight after work in DC. Due to various work schedules, traffic delays, etc. in DC, it was impossible for everyone to show up at the same time, so the host introduced a really long first two levels, which allowed plenty of deeper-stack play before the blinds went up, and allowed time for people to come late, and not have to start playing at level 2 or 3.

The game also needed to finish up by 11:30 pm or so, to get people out of the house (and for those who needed to catch the Metro before it closed), so the blind level times shortened significantly after the first level or 2. As people busted out, and the levels got shorter, so it seemed the number of hands played per level stayed about the same. (i.e. 12 minute levels with 8 players got in the same # of hands as 8 minute level with 4 players.) It also helped that in this game, someone who busted sometimes volunteered to deal the final table (still pass the shuffle), and having a dealer helped the action move quicker per round in the later, shorter, rounds.

If I recall correctly, the levels were something like this:
Level 1 - 45 min
Level 2 - 30 min
Level 3 - 20 min
Level 4 - 15 min
Level 5 - 12 min
and decreasing 1 minute per level after that down to around 7 minutes per level.

I thought the structure worked really well for that particular game and setting and player pool. I don't think any of the players minded. Although, I wouldn't necessarily like this structure for a higher stakes tournament, though.

I also like the concept of after the money bubble is burst, to freeze the blinds for a period of time, or extend the levels a little longer, to allow for a little more deeper-stack play when it means something for the money.
 
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#12
Honestly, I think it just comes down to the type of players you have at your game when you host.

When I first started hosting I had longer levels at the end of my tournaments, but it was not well-received by my players. When it's down to 4 or 5 players, and it's starting to get late, many of my guests start thinking about going home. While the "traditional" poker player may start to get nitty at the end of a tournament (as they try to bump up a pay level), my crew starts talking about chopping and going to bed. As a result, the longer later levels just pissed people off. There were definitely a lot of "WTF is this?" type comments when the next level came up on the timer with a longer duration at 11:00pm.

When I went to shorter later levels, it went over incredibly well, especially when I was able to (sometimes) coincide level time reductions with players busting out. And when there are less players at the table (6, 5, 4 handed, etc.), each player is seeing more played hands per level. So even if you reduce later level times to 18 or 15 minutes, the guys still alive at the end are playing way more hands per level than they would at 20-minute levels with 9 players at the table. I realize this isn't how the WSOP works, but let's be honest - at some point, a home game just needs to end and people need to go home.

Hopefully that all makes sense.
 

CraigT78

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#14
but let's be honest - at some point, a home game just needs to end and people need to go home.
For my crew (most of them) it's "The tourney needs to end and we need to play cash"

But the same reasons you quoted are why my levels are shorter at the end. Blinds aren't as aggressive, but the time per level is more so. For my game - the longer levels at the start allow more rebuys and then the smaller increases allow for better play post break. By level 8 or 9 most of the "I'm here for fun" players have busted and are standing around eating hot dogs waiting for the 1st table to break.
 
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#15
For my game - the longer levels at the start allow more rebuys and then the smaller increases allow for better play post break. By level 8 or 9 most of the "I'm here for fun" players have busted and are standing around eating hot dogs waiting for the 1st table to break.
^^^^^^^ SO MUCH THIS!

Pretty much how my games roll out as well.
 
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#16
I do longer levels for the first few rounds. I do it because with my group there is MUCH more limping early and usually multiple players going to the turn and sometimes even the river. That means the hands take a lot longer than they do once the tournament starts getting serious. I absolutely hate when the blind level increases before the button has made a full orbit. So the longer early levels just ensure the button makes it all the way around the table before blinds go up.

Once you get to the middle of the tourney there seem to be more pre-flop raises and hands being folded to the blinds, so it goes a lot faster and in less time the button is making it around the table.

I think there's some conventional wisdom regarding blind amounts, blind length and this notion of hundreds of BBs that is not very worthwhile. As long as we're actually talking about more than 100x the BB the size of blinds is not forcing action. So early jumps in blinds really don't have a major effect on the game. It's really about that point in the game when most players have around 20x BB that the blinds matter, and how long it takes to get to that point is more important than starting stack size compared to BB ratios in the early rounds. In the early rounds the cards mostly dictate the action, regardless of 200X BBs, 100X BB, and even 50x BB.
 

T_Chan

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#17
For my fundraisers, we are usually limited to 5 hours so to finish the game on time we shorted the last few levels. 15 minute levels for the first 4 hours then down to 10 minutes. By that time the last table or two have a dedicated dealer as well which increases the hands per hour to compensate for the faster blinds.
 
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#18
.....Usually towards the end of the blinds schedule (with 4 rounds left), there are less than 4 players. I don't think with 4 people left, they want 20 minute blind levels. And as a host, if I'm not in the final 2 or 3 it's GTFO of my house! :LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh::mad::LOL: :laugh:
I do the same, and for me this is why.....20 minute blinds are an eternity with 4 or less players left, especially for the host if he/she is a spectator....:(
 

BGinGA

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#20
An alternate view is that blind levels should not be fixed-time at all..... but rather, playing a fixed number of hands per level is the best approach.

This becomes most clear when different games are being played throughout the duration of the event (HORSE, 8-Game Mix, NLHE/PLO, etc.), since some games simply take more time to deal and play per hand than others.

But to bring this into relevance here, even assuming that the same game is played for the duration of the tournament, the end result of playing a fixed number of hands per blind level is that the blind level lengths will get shorter as the event gets deeper, simply because the number of remaining players gets smaller. Any game will take less time to deal/play the same number of hands with fewer players.

Noteworthy that this is not a linear decrease in time, however -- because level times will not automatically decrease when the number of players has not changed, and roughly the same amount of time is used to play the fixed number of hands.

There are complexities introduced with this method, however -- reliable hand counting methods, software capable of tracking the number of hands played and increasing blinds accordingly, and the challenges of multiple tables that each get smaller then condense down to fewer (but larger) tables -- that make transitioning the concept to a corresponding fixed time software solution difficult.... but it can be done rather easily with a) historical data and b) single-table events (or alternately, invoked once at the final table).

Summary:
Playing a fixed number of hands (vs a fixed number of minutes) per blind level is a more balanced and often fairer approach, and the end result is that the actual time spent at those levels does get shorter towards the end of the event (as the field size gets smaller), although not in a linear fashion. And doing so does not diminish the value of those later levels, nor does it artificially generate a shove-fest mode or rushed feeling. Quite the opposite, imo.
 
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#21
But the same reasons you quoted are why my levels are shorter at the end. Blinds aren't as aggressive, but the time per level is more so. For my game - the longer levels at the start allow more rebuys and then the smaller increases allow for better play post break. By level 8 or 9 most of the "I'm here for fun" players have busted and are standing around eating hot dogs waiting for the 1st table to break.
+1. This pretty much sums up our game as well.
 

CraigT78

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#22
An alternate view is that blind levels should not be fixed-time at all..... but rather, playing a fixed number of hands per level is the best approach.

This becomes most clear when different games are being played throughout the duration of the event (HORSE, 8-Game Mix, NLHE/PLO, etc.), since some games simply take more time to deal and play per hand than others.

But to bring this into relevance here, even assuming that the same game is played for the duration of the tournament, the end result of playing a fixed number of hands per blind level is that the blind level lengths will get shorter as the event gets deeper, simply because the number of remaining players gets smaller. Any game will take less time to deal/play the same number of hands with fewer players.

Noteworthy that this is not a linear decrease in time, however -- because level times will not automatically decrease when the number of players has not changed, and roughly the same amount of time is used to play the fixed number of hands.

There are complexities introduced with this method, however -- reliable hand counting methods, software capable of tracking the number of hands played and increasing blinds accordingly, and the challenges of multiple tables that each get smaller then condense down to fewer (but larger) tables -- that make transitioning the concept to a corresponding fixed time software solution difficult.... but it can be done rather easily with a) historical data and b) single-table events (or alternately, invoked once at the final table).

Summary:
Playing a fixed number of hands (vs a fixed number of minutes) per blind level is a more balanced and often fairer approach, and the end result is that the actual time spent at those levels does get shorter towards the end of the event (as the field size gets smaller), although not in a linear fashion. And doing so does not diminish the value of those later levels, nor does it artificially generate a shove-fest mode or rushed feeling. Quite the opposite, imo.
This sounds horrible o_O how can anyone even drink with all that hand counting going on?? :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

CraigT78

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#24
Dedicated dealers, baby! Even more drinking (and playing) time for the players, and nothing ever gets fubar. :D
It’s only this forum where I’m constantly reminded my home game is sub-par!! Wish I had dedicated dealers (and room for them) :mad:
 
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#26
Dedicated dealers, baby! Even more drinking (and playing) time for the players, and nothing ever gets fubar. :D
I have a counter app on my phone for this - # of hands per blind level is going to be useful to know (it's not something I've really taken notice of in the past). For an SST, this concept should be quite do-able.

Thanks to everyone for their input so far! Much appreciated.
 
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#27
If you need more than 20 minutes to make a move 4-handed, then you have bigger problems than level time.
Holz and seven other finalists played eight handed for four hours in a high roller tournament without an elimination. Also, it took eight hours for the bubble to break in one of the WSOP NLHE events last year.
 

upNdown

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#28
Holz and seven other finalists played eight handed for four hours in a high roller tournament without an elimination. Also, it took eight hours for the bubble to break in one of the WSOP NLHE events last year.
I gave you a “like” because you’re right. But anything Holtz does is going to take forever, because that automotron takes 45 seconds before every single action.
 
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