Saturday, October 13, 2007

Curse of the Mummy Tournament review

Looks like I asked for rain and got a deluge. I thought that the rebuys and add-ons would add more action to the game than last time and indeed it seemed to have done just that. There were 15 players and 13 rebuys. Royal and Marsh were the only two multi-rebuy players. There were also 13 add-ons. That put 8200 chips in play after all is said and done compared with 3000 in starting stacks and a projected 6000 if everyone just did the original buy and the add-on.

There was not much rhyme or reason to results though. Royal rebought twice and chopped for 1st/2nd. Scott came in third and did it all just on the original $20 buy with no rebuys or add-ons (nice ROI!).

I think that offering a single rebuy will slow things down a little while still allowing for someone to make a mistake and survive. Other options include a single rebuy/add-on like Caesars and the Venetian do. You pay X for your entry and an additional Y (less than X) to get more chips. You can either pay all up front and start out with the max. Keep the option and use it if you bust out or get low. Or you can use it as an add on at the end of the rebuy period.

I didn't record exactly when the first player went out but I would guess that everyone got in at least two hours of solid play and I think that is a good thing. I also liked that players were seeing flops and he had more showdowns than last time which I think the stack depth and structure contributed to. I also think that players were able to leave on their own terms for the most part. Players got blinded down but apart from a Hail Mary T4os push from me everyone seemed to be at least go down with an Ace or pair.

The tournament also ended earlier than projected and not just because of the chop at the end. The tournament ended almost and hour earlier than anticipated. I think part of that may have been due to the magnification of stack differences from the additional chips put into play. Big stacks had the resources to try to flyswat the small stacks when they pushed in and I think that sped up the eliminations.

Congrats to all the cashers. Once again, the TNP crowd was well represented in the money list.

Comment away...


Bob Loblaw said...

This was the most enjoyable tourney I've played in, and I don't think I was getting better-than-usual cards. The first three rounds allowed me to play my cards a little differently than my normal tourney play, but it also caused me to add $40 more to the tourney stakes than I had wanted to.

Would I have thrown my whole stack away to Ryan on 2 pair when he had a somewhat obvious set? Or would I have thrown my 1st rebought stack away to Ryan with a set of queens with a 9 kicker? Probably not, on both accounts. But I think there were a number of other hands that I wouldn't have played so loosely and won with, either.

What I found most interesting was Marsh being severely short-stacked after the end of round 3. That was harsh. I had made the decision before showing up at the poker room that if I had less than a full stack when nearing the end of round 3 then I was going to be pushing no matter what. What I didn't account for, and became apparent pretty quickly when looking at Marsh's woes, is the variation in the amount of time a hand can take. That made him only be able to go all in on one hand within the last 3 minutes of the 3rd round. I don't think there's anything that can solve this -- nor do I think it really should be solved, really -- it's just an interesting point.

Austin said...

I thought that the amount of buy ins was excessive and that it actually detracted from play instead of adding to it. Being on the table that had less buy ins felt like we were at a disadvantage. Also, the tournament didn't seem like it really benefited you if you played it tight and serious like a real tourney would (when you could buy in I mean).

I certainly had fun in it and the cash game though :).

Ryan said...

I liked the structure. The combination of deep stacks, rebuys, and an extended first round was great for the action in that first hour. Given that only two people rebought more than once, I wonder if capping the rebuys is really needed for the future. Maybe cap it at two? Maybe cap it at X rebuys for each table?

I disagree with Austin about the impact of rebuys on the early rounds being negative; I think having no rebuys forcing super-strict play from the get go would have been worse for the whole thing. Playing tight and serious from the get-go was a totally viable and effective strategy. So was playing loose and gambly. That’s what made it good--all styles were available, and all styles could work. I mean, a multi-rebuyer, a single-rebuyer, and a $20-only were the top three.

It’s true that one table had way more rebuys than the other, putting way more chips into play at one table over the other. That feels like it would be a disadvantage for the “shortstacked” table, although the chip leader at the start of the final table was from the shortstacked table. The stacks from the big-stacked table were definitely healthier on average than the ones from the SS table.

It was strange to realize all the ways in which tournament play crossed me up. Twice I made illegally-small raises because my head was still in the blinds from the previous round. I was trying to use my Harrington education to keep track of my M and play accordingly, but it was tough. I was really struggling to define my range based on stack sizes, blinds, and my proximity to the bubble.

In the early-middle of the final table, I remember feeling I had basically one hand I could play for a standard raise without feeling committed. I raised the 100 BB to 300 with AQ, got a caller. The caller led out on a flop I missed completely, and I folded. For the rest of the tournament, I was ready to go to the felt with any hand I entered.

There’s nothing wrong with it, though, this is how tournaments go. The best that you can do is build up a stack when everyone’s M is pretty high so that when the average M slips down into the 10+ range, you can withstand losing after getting all in with a shorter stack.

A comment on chopping: sometimes it’s just the correct poker decision, as I feel it was here (even if we didn’t figure out exactly how to chop it properly at first). I believe Marsh, in his extreme disappointment, said something like, “They could have finished the tournament in the time it has taken them to figure out the chop.”

Well, exactly. I had Royal 5,100 to 3,100, but with the blinds about to go to 100/200, we would have been playing the equivalent of WNP blinds with 2 ½ and 1 ½ stacks respectively for over $100. Rather than basically gambling for $100, chopping and actually playing poker for $60 in the cash game was a decision I would make every time given a willing opponent.

Unless there was a bracelet to be won or something.

Thanks to the TD and the hosts for another great night of poker!

Marshall said...

I hated the format. Feeling short stacked and feeling like you have to gamble sucks. I did miss the first ~hour or so which put me in a worse spot than most though, so take that into account.

But still, I have never understood the appeal of rebuy/add-on tourneys. The coolest parts about tournaments for me are:

1. Your stack is finite. If you ship on someone, they have to make a life or death situation. They HAVE to be very careful about putting their chips in play because once they are gone, they are gone. This makes people play better/more carefully I think.

2. You can only lose what you bought in for. With rebuys there is this lame temptation to keep rebuying and it vastly rewards people with more money as opposed to people with less. I like that tournaments put people on an even playing field, and unlimited rebuys effectively ruins that.

I don't hate the idea of one rebuy in a given time frame. If you get unlucky or whatever, you get a second chance so you don't have to sit on your ass for 2 hours waiting for the cash game. But unlimited rebuys for that long just makes it a gamble fest.

And about the add on. What is the point of that? Why not just increase the starting stack and buy in? I have never understood the appeal of the add on. Like you aren't going to add on... If you don't, you are simply at a disadvantage to everyone that does.

I do however feel that the tournament was run very well (so martin doesn't get offended by my post), and that it was a success overall. Congrats to Royal and Ryan for getting 2nd place.

Ryan said...

I can understand where you and Austin are coming from, Marsh, but as far as I can tell, the only person who seemed to use rebuys as a license to be a loose donk was you. :)

(Best moment of the evening: Scott lamenting after Marshall busted out of the tournament because Marsh represented Scott's buffer between himself and the much-scarier Martin.)

I guess I like at least one rebuy because what I *hate* about tournaments is showing up, making a perfectly good all-in play--whether it's a QQ vs. AK coin flip or getting my chips in good--and then losing the hand. Bam, I'm done with the tournament in a half hour.

Having at least one rebuy allows me to fade that beat and keep going. I don't feel like I ever used the rebuy cushion as a reason to make a move I wouldn't have otherwise (zero rebuys was definitely the goal), it was just nice to know that getting unlucky once wouldn't end my evening.

Sushi Cowboy said...

The rationale behind the add-on is to short circuit anyone's attempt to intentionally d0nk chips at the end in order to rebuy. If *only* rebuys are available and someone is short stacked heading toward the end of the rebuy period then there is a (valid) temptation to get your few chips in bad so that you can bust out and get a full stack while you still can. So the way it was set up, a short stack could either d0nk his chips and get 200 for $20 via rebuy or just hold on to his stack and at the end of the rebuy period get 200 for only $10.

I will make the perhaps obvious observation that both Royal and Ryan liked the format and they came in first/second and that Austin and Marshall did not like the format and they were two of the first three out. I'm not accusing sour grapes or anything but it just seems like there might be some bias introduced into the equation here.

I agree that one of the cool things with tournaments is having a fixed cost which players can still stick to even in a rebuy tourney if they want and in fact 6 of the 15 players did stick to $30 or less.

I also think Ryan's point is valid. Different styles succeeded. There was no single formula for getting to the money.

I do think that the safety net of unlimited rebuys did change how much "gamble" players were up for. The difference in play once the rebuy period ended was pronounced.

I am sure that there is a happy medium which will address some of the issues raised here and we will tweak the format to try to pull the best features from both structures.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Ryan said...

"The difference in play once the rebuy period ended was pronounced."

This was partly due to the increasing blinds. At the very least, the larger blinds compounded the feeling that you had to play more snugly than before.

I mean, tournaments (with any kind of sane structure) have natural phases, basically:

1) Speculative, looser play while the blinds are cheap (and there are rebuys, if applicable).

2) More aggressive play once the blinds are worth stealing but the money is still far away.

3) Super tight, super aggro play as the blinds get oppressive, the money is in sight, and short stacks begin to make their moves.

4) Loose/aggressive post-money play, where the blinds mandate a wider range and people take shots at moving up the money ladder, knowing they've at least cashed.

Every tournament I've played in that wasn't designed to shove players through as quickly as possible has had those stages. So, yes, play tightened up without the safety net of a rebuy, and that no doubt played a part, but we were also moving into stage three at that point anyway

Marshall said...

I am also confused by the "deep stack" comments. 200 isn't very many. On the 2nd and 3rd round when the rebuys were still in effect, the blinds were 2-4 and 3-6 right? Normal raises were in the 15-20 range, and a re-raise to 50-60 was committing a lot of your chips if you had one buy in. If you were heads up to the flop, and wanted to bet, the pot was already 100-120 a lot of times and almost any bet commits you. I don't like playing like that until the later stages of the tourney.

What were the starting stacks last tournament? 10,000? Extending the first round to 1hr certainly has its benefits, but the blinds were still very disproportionate to the stacks compared with last tourney I think.

I prefer having more play early and not having to rebuy. If people want to gamble and see a lot of flops, they can, and they don't have to worry about going broke unless they get WAY out of line. If they want to stay tight and wait for the blinds to go up, they can do that too.

Bob Loblaw said...

FYI, Ryan just pointed out to me and Martin a link that had the formula for how we chopped, in case this comes up again in the future and the math is too confusing:

Isn’t this formula used when calculating deals:

d(p) = (c(p) / c) * (t - (m * n)) + m

d(p) = deal amount for player p
c(p) = chip count of player p
c = total chips in play
t = total prize pool
m = minimum guaranteed payout (scheduled payout of the next player to bust)
n = number of players remaining

Austin said...

Martin, I disliked the infinite amount of rebuys even when I was in second place on the table. I just don't care for it. I don't mind one rebuy I suppose, but I'm just not a fan of it at all. I like the fact that everyone only has one shot and that you have to play your near-perfect game in order to get to the end. I think that's why I tend to do well online in tournaments because I carefully pick which spots I put all my chips in so that I can slowly gain an advantage and not bust out. The beginning of this tournament didn't seem that way to me. You were trying something different and it just doesn't mesh well with me. That doesn't mean I won't play in the future if it's like this, I just wanted to state my opinion :).

As for the second part you mention the addon was for people who were low on chips to get somewhat closer to people who had lots. You also wanted the small stacks to not try to bust out so they could rebuy when the addon was getting close. This didn't happen as both Chuck and Marsh tried going all in so that they could bust and get more chips at the cutoff point in addition to buying the addon. Oddly enough both of them failed to go bust. Since a majority of the people bought the addon, it doesn't seem as if it really did anything other than build the cash.

Again though, I did have fun, so don't take my comments as negative on the whole experience :).