Tourney Deepstack Tournament Structure help

Gavin

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Hello - I'm looking for some assistance regarding a 3-table (30 man) Deepstack Tournament...

Background: A few buddies and I are planning our annual Summer Tournament this year (yeah, it's not a given with what's going on, but better to be proactive). We used to set up a 11-table tournament (110 players) that would last around 8-9 hours (including breaks). But after setting this tournament up for 16 years, it just became too much work, so we decided to pare it down to just direct friends last summer. We set up a Deepstack 3-table (30-man) Tournament. The problem is, the game lasted too long. Simply put, the hosts' wife has "requested" this tournament last about 6.5 hours, including breaks, not the 8 hours it took last year.

I host lots of 1-table (8-10 man) tournament games and I have found a sweet spot with them - I've found the game typically ends when the BB reaches in the area of 85-100% of the Starting Chip Stack. The game usually lasts 2.25 hours.

But I'm nowhere near as confident with this "85-100% concept" for a 3-table (30 man) tournament, and deepstack to boot. From the research I've done, I found most Casino Deepstack tournaments have a starting chip stack between 150x to 400x BB. And I just noticed the 2019 WSOP Monster stack had a starting stack of 500x BB. But, truth be told, the host held his ground last year and stated the tournament had to have a starting chip stack of 1000x BB. I know - that is really "deep". That definitely extended the length of the game last year (duh!).

So here's where I'm hoping some old pro's with running Deepstack tournaments can help me with this...

Let me see if I can give a few points that might help with what I'm looking for:
  • Chip denominations don't matter. Send me whatever you have for a structure and I'll do the math to make it work with my chip denominations.
  • I'm thinking our tournament needs a max of 45-60 minutes for all breaks.
  • Starting stack does not have to be 1000x BB, but I'd like it to be no less than 500xBB (to keep the host happy-ish...)
  • I'd really prefer the structure increase gradually - if(!) possible...
  • I'm envisioning the first 12 rounds would be 20 minutes each. Then have rounds 13+ be 15 minutes each. If I do the math, that would mean the game would need to end around Round 19-20. However, one option is cutting the last couple of rounds from 15 mins to either 12 mins or 10 mins (If that helps the game last no longer than 6.5 hours)
  • To ANTE or to NOT ANTE? I don't have a preference. But, if the recommendation is to have Antes - do most have the BB post it, or do you have everyone individually ante?
I think that's it. I'm probably missing a point or two. Sorry to be long-winded with this...

Anyway - any help is appreciated! Any follow up questions, send them to me...

Thanks!

Gavin
 

Beakertwang

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As a rule of thumb, a tourney will end when there are 20 big blinds in play. Assuming no rebuys or add ons and T25,000 starting stacks (starting blinds of 25/50 for 500 big blinds) x 30 players, there will be 750,000 chips on the table, so blinds will end when blinds are around 2000/4000, a bit earlier if you do antes. So start at the end and work backwards to get the desired time.
 

pitchie

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When we set our local game up, we used this: https://pokersoup.com/tool/blindStructureCalculator

We have tweaked it over the years but it wasn't that far off.

We run a tournament that gets about 20 runners. Our structure looks like this and it tends to run 6.5 - 7 hours. Using our example, I'm sure you could maybe reduce the starting stacks and/or reduce the level lengths and it should just about fit. Hope it's a good starting point for you. We play the tournemtn +/- T5,000 depending on attendance numbers.

This is the export of our structure from Tournament Director:

Freeze out - T30,000 Stacks
RoundAnteSmall BlindBig BlindStart TimeDuration
Round 1$0$25$50
00:00​
20m
Round 2$0$50$100
00:20​
20m
Round 3$0$75$150
00:40​
20m
Round 4$0$100$200
01:00​
20m
Round 5$0$150$300
01:20​
20m
Round 6$0$200$400
01:40​
20m
Break 1
02:00​
15m
Round 7$400$200$400
02:15​
20m
Round 8$600$300$600
02:35​
20m
Round 9$800$400$800
02:55​
20m
Round 10$1,000$500$1,000
03:15​
20m
Round 11$1,200$600$1,200
03:35​
20m
Round 12$1,600$800$1,600
03:55​
20m
Round 13$2,000$1,000$2,000
04:15​
20m
Round 14$3,000$1,500$3,000
04:35​
20m
Round 15$4,000$2,000$4,000
04:55​
20m
Round 16$6,000$3,000$6,000
05:15​
20m
Round 17$8,000$4,000$8,000
05:35​
15m
Round 18$10,000$5,000$10,000
05:50​
15m
Round 19$12,000$6,000$12,000
06:05​
15m
Round 20$16,000$8,000$16,000
06:20​
15m
Round 21$20,000$10,000$20,000
06:35​
15m
Round 22$30,000$15,000$30,000
06:50​
15m
Round 23$40,000$20,000$40,000
07:05​
15m

Just a caveat on the ante. When we first introduced it, everyone had to put in 1 BB ante. As it's a game where players drink alcohol, it was a nightmare and just slowed down the game so we quickly took it out of the game. As more casino tournaments moved to a button or BB ante, we adopted the BB ante and it's been far more successful this time around.

Oh yeah... And breaks. We have another 20 minute break in the later rounds that is ad-hoc depending on when food is delivered. We just pause the clock so that's why it's not in the list. We sometimes have a 5 minute cigarette break before the FT too. Even with these breaks, we rarely get to the last two levels.
 

TexRex

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Gavin, I could send you a spreadsheet that I used to help calculate this exact thing, but I do not know how to post it on this site. PM me with your email address if you would like me to email it to you.

General comments:
We did a 2500 BB tournament in 4:55 hours playing time with 18 players. Our blinds increase consistently increase 50-67%, with the average being around 58%. That tournament is designed for 6 hours of playing time with 30 players with all blind rounds of 20 minutes. While that one doesn't use antes, the spreadsheet can calculate antes.

There are 5 factors that determine the length of your tournament. Alter one and you alter the tournament time. The 5 factors, in no particular order, are:

The ratio of starting chips to the big blind (SC/BB) -- A tournament is deep stacked if over 150 BB, very short stacked at 100 BB. A player is considered to be competitive at 50 BB, short stacked at 30 BB, seriously short stacked at 20 BB, and desperately short stacked at 10 BB. By itself, this is a good guide, but this is somewhat in a vacuum. You have to look at the average blind increases too.

Average blind increases – The average of how rapidly blinds go up. Most use increases of 1.25-1.67 and think 2.0 or higher is too high. Three basic philosophies are [a] consistent increases, start slow and increase, and [c] start fast and decrease. Every tournament follows one of these 3 basics or a variation of them.

Length of rounds and time per hand -- 1 hour or more per round is considered slow; 30 minutes about average, 15 or less very fast, and under 10, lightning fast. The average hand time is about 2 minutes, so anything less than 2 minutes per player at maximum players per table is probably too fast as it doesn’t give every player a chance at every position every round. Generally tournaments are calculated using the 2 minutes per hand assumption, even if people don’t realize that is the assumption.

Note: Not every group plays at 2 minutes a hand. If the pace is slower, you have to adjust for this. If it takes 3 minutes a hand, your blinds must be 50% longer to end at a particular blind level. Reality is that tournaments need a certain number of hands more than a certain number of blind rounds.

Think about a 60-minute football game. If the average play takes 30 seconds, the game will last about 120 plays. If the average play takes 20 seconds, the game will last about 180 plays. Those two paces are very different. There will be more of everything in the second game – more plays, more yards, more points, etc. Poker tournaments are the same way. If you know the average hand length in your group, you can calculate more accurately.


Number of playersIt takes longer for more players to be eliminated. However, this is not a straight line ratio. If you have half as many players as anticipated, that doesn’t mean the tournament will only last half as long. Fewer players tend to play longer per player.

Total chip count and BB (big blinds) in tournament -- Two different formulas can determine how long a tournament will last. One is when Antes (A), Small Blind (S), and Big Blind (B) added together equals 5% of the total amount of chips in play (T), the tournament will end. This is expressed in several ways, but one is A+S+B = T*.05. A second formula is when B equals 5%, expressed as B=T*.05. My experience is these are good outside parameters and the actual time is likely to fall in between these times the vast majority of the time. Allowing re-buys, add-ons, bonuses, etc., affects the total chip count and therefore the length of the tournament. What really counts though, is the number of big blinds these things add at the time they occur.

Note: If you have a tournament with starting stacks of 200BB, and about halfway through, players could do an add-on of the same amount, then you have to look at how many additional BB that is right then. If that add-on is 20 more BB, to accurately account for that, you could just calculate the starting stacks with 220 BB instead of 200.

These five factors work together. None can be ignored. Changing any one of them will affect the length of a tournament. The five main factors in tournament design lead to how good the tournament structure is.

How long the total tournament time is, including breaks, requires determining how many breaks and how much total break time there is.

The spreadsheet allows me to play around with individual factors. It isn't perfect, but it's a guide that allows me to be pretty scientific about how long a tournament will last and how good the structure is.
 
Last edited:

Gavin

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Gavin, I could send you a spreadsheet that I used to help calculate this exact thing, but I do not know how to post it on this site. PM me with your email address if you would like me to email it to you.

General comments:
We did a 2500 BB tournament in 4:55 hours playing time with 18 players. Our blinds increase consistently increase 50-67%, with the average being around 58%. That tournament is designed for 6 hours of playing time with 30 players with all blind rounds of 20 minutes. While that one doesn't use antes, the spreadsheet can calculate antes.

There are 5 factors that determine the length of your tournament. Alter one and you alter the tournament time. The 5 factors, in no particular order, are:

There are 5 factors that determine the length of your tournament. Alter one and you alter the tournament time. The 5 factors, in no particular order, are:

The ratio of starting chips to the big blind (SC/BB) -- A tournament is deep stacked if over 150 BB, very short stacked at 100 BB. A player is considered to be competitive at 50 BB, short stacked at 30 BB, seriously short stacked at 20 BB, and desperately short stacked at 10 BB. By itself, this is a good guide, but this is somewhat in a vacuum. You have to look at the average blind increases too.

Average blind increases – The average of how rapidly blinds go up. Most use increases of 1.25-1.67 and think 2.0 or higher is too high. Three basic philosophies are [a] consistent increases, start slow and increase, and [c] start fast and decrease. Every tournament follows one of these 3 basics or a variation of them.

Length of rounds and time per hand -- 1 hour or more per round is considered slow; 30 minutes about average, 15 or less very fast, and under 10, lightning fast. The average hand time is about 2 minutes, so anything less than 2 minutes per player at maximum players per table is probably too fast as it doesn’t give every player a chance at every position every round. Generally tournaments are calculated using the 2 minutes per hand assumption, even if people don’t realize that is the assumption.

Note: Not every group plays at 2 minutes a hand. If the pace is slower, you have to adjust for this. If it takes 3 minutes a hand, your blinds must be 50% longer to end at a particular blind level. Reality is that tournaments need a certain number of hands more than a certain number of blind rounds.

Think about a 60-minute football game. If the average play takes 30 seconds, the game will last about 120 plays. If the average play takes 20 seconds, the game will last about 180 plays. Those two paces are very different. There will be more of everything in the second game – more plays, more yards, more points, etc. Poker tournaments are the same way. If you know the average hand length in your group, you can calculate more accurately.


Number of playersIt takes longer for more players to be eliminated. However, this is not a straight line ratio. If you have half as many players as anticipated, that doesn’t mean the tournament will only last half as long. Fewer players tend to play longer per player.

Total chip count and BB (big blinds) in tournament -- Two different formulas can determine how long a tournament will last. One is when Antes (A), Small Blind (S), and Big Blind (B) added together equals 5% of the total amount of chips in play (T), the tournament will end. This is expressed in several ways, but one is A+S+B = T*.05. A second formula is when B equals 5%, expressed as B=T*.05. My experience is these are good outside parameters and the actual time is likely to fall in between these times the vast majority of the time. Allowing re-buys, add-ons, bonuses, etc., affects the total chip count and therefore the length of the tournament. What really counts though, is the number of big blinds these things add at the time they occur.

Note: If you have a tournament with starting stacks of 200BB, and about halfway through, players could do an add-on of the same amount, then you have to look at how many additional BB that is right then. If that add-on is 20 more BB, to accurately account for that, you could just calculate the starting stacks with 220 BB instead of 200.

These five factors work together. None can be ignored. Changing any one of them will affect the length of a tournament. The five main factors in tournament design lead to how good the tournament structure is.

How long the total tournament time is, including breaks, requires determining how many breaks and how much total break time there is.

The spreadsheet allows me to play around with individual factors. It isn't perfect, but it's a guide that allows me to be pretty scientific about how long a tournament will last and how good the structure is.

HI TexRex -

Thank you for the details. I'll PM you my email, so when you have a chance, please send me your spreadsheet - I appreciate it!

Thank you for the responses - I appreciate it!

I knew I forgot something in my original post - our Deepstack Tournament will NOT have Add-on nor Rebuys.

Thanx!
 
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