April 18th, 2010

Commence Rocky Theme Now..

So, PokerStars has these new things called "Knockout tournaments"which are really just bounty tournaments. Interestingly, they seem to have started deploying them at the Sit-and-Go level, which strikes me as kind of odd.

As it stands now, if you're a cheap wimp like me, you play at the $5 Sit-and-Go level, where 9 people sit down, pay $5 each (plus an extra $.50 for the house), and the top 3 places get paid:

  • First place gets 50%, or $22.50

  • Second place gets 30%, or $13.50

  • Third place gets 20%, or $9

In the bounty version of the tournament, everyone kicks in an extra $1.25 (and, no extra money for the house, which is nice). But with only 9 people contributing, it seems kind of strange..

For one thing, whoever wins the tournament gets 2 bounties (their own back, and the bounty of whoever came in second). For another, you have to knock out at least 2 people before this shows you a profit over a regular $5 sit-and-go (and once you knock out two people, it's extremely likely that you'll be in the top 3 places and get paid anyway).

So, I started wondering, is this really effectively the same as a $6.25 Sit-and-Go? (If one existed). Well, if each of the 9 players each put $6.25 into the prize pool, the payouts would be:

  • First place gets 50%, or $28.125, an increase of $5.625, or 4.5 bounties

  • Second place gets 30%, or $16.875, an increase of $3.375, or 2.7 bounties

  • Third place gets $20, or $11.25, an increase of $2.25, or 1.8 bounties

Obviously, this won't be the case, even on average, because some of those bounties will go to people who don't make the money in most tournaments. So it seems that if you think you're likely to make the money, you'd rather this was a "real" $6.25 Sit-and-go, so you will win your 50% (or whatever) of the full prize pool. And if you're not likely to make the money, you'd rather play at the $5 level, because you're only going to make money on the bounties if you knock out 2 people, in which case you've probably made the money. If you only knock out one person, it ends up being the same as if you played at the $5 level anyway.

(It's also possible that this is more favorable to whoever comes in first, because they often go on a roll and eliminate several people. But they have to eliminate 4-5 people just to break even with the $6.25 Sit-and-go, and I don't think people "run the table" enough to bring the average up to that point)

So, I don't know. I think what I'm going to do is to treat this as a separate level in my bankroll management (albeit one with much more variance), and only play it when I make enough money at the $5 level to afford the shift up.

Also, none of this applies to having bounties in tournaments, especially the several-thousand player PokerStars tournaments. There is is possible to eliminate 10 or more people, and not finish very high in the money, which changes the formula somewhat.