Slowest Dealer In the Room to Start My Turbo

RoblivionRoblivion WisconsinRed Chipper Posts: 288 ✭✭✭
So recently I played my weekly $150 MTT. It's not exactly a turbo, but doesn't have the slowest structure either. 20 minute levels, 12K starting stack. Blinds start at 50-100, then 75-150, 100-200, 150-300.

Now, a minute before the scheduled start, the absolute slowest, most error-prone dealer in the room sat down, guaranteeing a long half hour of his company for the first level and a half (or longer, depending on dealer push speed). Immediately after he sat down, two players showed up as the tournament clock started. He went through the long, arduous process of checking their receipts, staring at them for a few seconds, getting out his marker, staring more, then finally marking the sheets and slowly getting them chips. A minute and a half into the first round, cards were finally in the air.

Now the question is what adjustments do you make to this mind numbing situation? I generally try to play more pots in the early stages of these tournaments regardless, since I'm risking so much less of my stack than later and can chip up to make it through the middle rounds more easily. In the scenario where I know I'll be lucky to see 10 hands in the first level, I feel I should be opening up even more and just trying to enter just about every pot I can since it will become more expensive very quickly.



  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,130 -
    Sounds so tilting I might go and check out the novelty mugs in the gift shop. "I visited X casino and all I got was 8 hands a down."

    In the tournaments of that size that I play I don't think going super wide would help, simply because a lot of the "fun players" also like to splash about when it's cheap to do so. Adding in some high-implied odds hands like suited gappers might work tho.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,683 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't think the answer to this is very easy, in fact a couple authors I can think of in particular have written multi-part book series about dealing with the issue of time and blind levels in tournaments, the first being Dan Harrington. So if you really want to get to the bottom of this, I would definitely start by reading his - in particular Vol. 2 (you could skip 1 and 3 if this is the only thing you want to study.) The basic idea is M theory (and Q theory).

    Once you understand that, the next issue is that Harrington's M theory is incomplete. The basic idea he put down is that you use M to determine your decisions. On each hand you can calculate it in a vacuum. But the problem is that it doesn't take into account the rate of change of M, only the current value of M with your current hand and situation, in a static way. In other words, M isn't complete because it isn't dynamic. There was a huge debate about this on 2+2 where IM-not-so-humble-O Mason Malmuth got it completely wrong (because his understanding of Harrington, who was published by him, appeared to contradict another author by another publisher.)

    I think Harrington himself was aware of the issue, because on p. 156 he actually says in the answer to a hand example "in a few hands, however, the blinds will double." In other words, you don't just need to take into account the value of M, you also need to take into account when it will change, and therefore the rate of change.

    The next author is Arnold Snyder with his Poker Tournament Formula books. Snyder does take into account the rate of change with his strategy. So I would read this next.

    With respect to figuring this out vis-a-vis the book stategies above, all you need to know is that while your dealer is slow, in fact with respect to playing poker the clock has sped up. So adjust your level time based on the number of hands per hour. For example, if you have 20 minute levels and your dealer deals 5 hands in that time when most dealers deal 10, then cut the level time in half to use Snyder's formulas.

    While his formulas correlate to the entire tournament structure, making changes on the fly based on the dealer is up to you :) But the basic strategy changes will be there to consider.

    Oh and by the way, I feel your pain. Slow dealers suck in that situation!

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