Tournament coverage Poker

A change is as good as a holiday

Written by Ben Blaschke

By far the most common type of poker tournament played around the world is the “freeze-out” tournament. This is the type of tournament all players are familiar with – the blind levels rise every hour or two (depending on the size of the event) and when you lose all your chips, you’re eliminated.

There is a simple reason this format is used so widely. It works. But of course, even the best tournament players get a little bored with playing the same old format day in and day out, which is why some interesting variants have also become common place in recent years. Turbo tournaments are one, with blinds rising much quicker than usual and players therefore forced to get involved much more often or risk being blinded down. Another common variant is the re-buy tournament, where players can lose all of their chips and “re-buy” a new stack as many times as they want within a set time period at the start of the event. For those with the money to do so, this creates a frantic few levels as players get their gamble on in order to build a monster stack.

Yet even these tournaments have become so common that organizers are starting to look at new ideas to freshen things up a bit. Next month, Resorts World Manila will be holding an Iron Man tournament on 13 December which will see play continue non-stop from start to finish. No time for toilet breaks or sleep in this one!

A few years ago I played in an interesting tournament called a “flip fest” which was basically a tournament run backwards. Players were given 10,000 chips but blinds started at 500/1,000 – just 10 big blinds. At the end of each level the blinds would actually go down, rather than up, until they reached 50/100 where they would again start to rise and the tournament would continue on as usual. While all players had a spare 10,000 stack they could draw on should they lose the first, it created an interesting dynamic with players unsure whether to gamble early or try and hold on until the blinds went down and their stacks started to grow.

Okay, so the concept probably isn’t going to go mainstream anytime soon, but that sort of innovation is a great way to add a bit of spice to a tournament series. Here at World Gaming, we’re always interested to hear about new and exciting concepts, so if you’ve got a good idea for a tournament send us an email to [email protected]

If we like it, we might even suggest it to our good friends at PokerStars LIVE Macau!