Monday, July 09, 2007

Existential musings

I enjoy reading the existential musings of Short-Stacked Shamus, replete with interesting material and quality writing which I highly recommend. In a recent post, Shamus discusses the new blind structure for the 2007 Main Event:

However, once WSOP officials released the structure sheets for the events, everyone learned that along with doubling the starting stacks, the blinds would start out doubled as well, rendering the change less meaningful. I don't say "meaningless" because having twice the chips does make a difference, even if the blinds have been doubled, because we are talking about a no limit tournament. For the limit tournaments, doubling the starting stacks and blinds/betting limits makes no difference whatsoever. But when we're talking NL, having twice the stack there in Level 1 will most certainly influence how (some) players will approach the start of the tournament.

What puzzles me is why Shamus differentiates between limit and no-limit. I can't see why this new structure would influence the approach of some players at the start of the tournament.


Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Hey, Mr. Subliminal. Been reading you the last couple of weeks here, actually. Thanks for the nice words there.

I'm more of a limit player than a no limit player (and play more cash games than tourneys), but I'll try to explain what I was getting at in that passage you quote.

In a fixed limit tourney, the betting is fixed obviously, so doubling both the blinds & starting stacks doesn't really change anything there in Level 1. The blinds/limits are gonna be the same % of the starting stack regardless. So there wouldn’t be any reason to play the game any differently, since all of the bets are (relatively speaking) the same either way.

However, in a no-limit tourney, double the starting chips is going to mean a greater possible range of bets at each opportunity, even if the blinds are doubled. For example, in the Main Event they received 20,000 chips to start (instead of 10,000), and the blinds in Level 1 were 50/100 (instead of 25/50). So, yes, before the cards are dealt, everything is (relatively) the same. However, once the cards for that first hand are dealt, players can then bet anywhere from 100 to 20,000 chips (rather than 50 to 10,000 chips). The wider range of possible bets does change things a bit, and might alter how some players play those first levels. That’s why I think there is a difference -- maybe not a big one, but bigger than what you’d get in the limit tourney where there would be no diff. at all.

(Like I said, I’m not a big NL tourney guy, so any further attempt to explain myself here will just reveal further ignorance.)

Thanks again! Adding you to the roll.

Mr Subliminal said...

Thanks for the explanation. I suppose that some players may change the way they play those first levels. However, I believe this would probably be confined to the few inexperienced players who do not fully comprehend the basic relationship between blinds, pot size, stack size and betting. More importantly, they would likely be prone to the same deviant behavior with any structure.