Have you ever wanted to know how different tournaments stacked up with one another?  Which one requires more skill or gives you more room to make plays?  Well today we are going to use a spreadsheet designed by Arnold Snyder, author of The Poker Tournament Formula.  His website along with the a link to download the spread sheet can be found here: http://www.pokertournamentformula.com/.

Why am I using his formula?  Well I haven’t found another book that is specifically targeted at low buy-in, fast tournaments that are so prevalent in Michigan.  Is it the best way to figure out which tournament?  Probably not but it is a start.  It focuses on “Patience Factor” (PF) which basically takes the most patient person in the world that folded every single hand until he was blinded out of the tournament to figure out how long you could survive waiting for premium hands.  The higher the PF, the more skill required for the tournament due to more room to make plays.

So I have put together a document with several different tournaments to show you how they compare. (Download here)  Additionally, I tossed in the $1500 buy-in WSOP Event #2 and WSOPC $360 tournament for comparison.  You’ll notice on the Event #2 at this summers WSOP that the starting chip stack with only $4500 but the blinds start off so low and go up so gradually that it had a very high PF.

Here are a couple things I found:

  1. Snookers has a better structure on their $50+ tournaments than Hollywood Casino in Toledo but does not have antes so there are different strategies to employ.
  2. Heidelberg has a pretty good structure especially if you play their ‘pick your poison’ tournaments as they have more starting chips.
  3. Electric Stic has had some of the largest tournaments on Friday nights usually around 200 players.  However, this requires their blind structure to go up fast and is very different in skill level from their Saturday tournament.
  4. Michigan Poker Classic and HPT have very similar in PF but after Level 10, the levels are longer and go up slower in the HPT event making the HPT a better tournament. (Good news I hear is HPT will be back in MI in 2013!)

What does all this mean?  If you want to play tournaments where there the winner is determined mostly by skill in Michigan, you will have to go play at the places that have higher PF and Skill Level (SL) from the list.  If you are looking for a quick, fun night out, go play the SL 2 tournaments but you’ll have to play fast and furious and hope you catch cards to do well.

There are different strategies playing each SL of tournament.  The lower the skill level, the faster you must play and you have to try to exploit every tiny edge.  Conversely, the slower the tournament, the more room to make plays and can wait until later stages of the tournament to risk your stacks on coin flips.  The book can fill you in on the more specifics if you’d like.

I read his book a few years ago and it turned my charity tournament game around.  I started winning tournaments regularly out at Parrot Poker (was only place I played tournaments back then).  I do recommend this book for anyone playing tournaments in the area.  Everyone has read the big named books about how to win super slow, high buy-in tournaments but this one will help your play in the low buy-in, fast charity room tournaments.


DISCLAIMER: The review of tournament structures above is a historical look at  tournaments that have happened prior to today and are not intended as advertisements for future tournaments.  Charity rooms change their structure quite often so check with the room for information on their current structures.