Blinds in Tournament Poker

Blinds in Tournament Poker

Point 12: Consider the Blinds.

A recurring theme of several posts is something like " I am a great player until about 3/4 of the way through then I never seem to make the money" or "I just cant get to the final table." Below is posted a blind structure I lifted from Paradise to illustrate a common MTT. Both Party and Stars are similar I don't know about other sites.
Level Blind - Ante
1 10/20 -
2 15/30 -
3 25/50 -
4 50/100 -
5 75/150 -
6 100/200 -
7 100/200 25
8 200/400 25
9 300/600 50
10 400/800 50
11 600/1200 75
12 1000/2000 100
13 1500/3000 150
14 2000/4000 200
15 3000/6000 300
16 4000/8000 400
17 6000/12000 600
18 10000/20000 1000
19 15000/30000 1500
20 20000/40000 2000

For purpose of discussion, let's assume the following, there are 1000 players, blinds go up every 15 minutes, you start with 1000 chips, you see 60 hands an hour, and lets also assume that half the field busts out every hour which I have noticed to be fairly accurate.

So here you are, you have made it to the second break, you have the the average stack of 4000 chips, and there are 250 players. Up to this point you have seen 120 hands. Blinds are now 300/600 with a 50 ante. It is now costing you 1200 chips per round to stay at your current level. You will be gone in 30 hands if you do nothing, but post and fold. You absolutely must play and you are unlikely to get an ideal situation, not impossible but unlikely.

Next point, you have to add to that stack. By round 12 in just 45 minutes, blinds will be 2000/1000 100 ante. If you manage to stay even for the next 3/4 of an hour, you will be completely destroyed in 10 hands of round 12.

By the end of the 3rd hour, you can assume there will be about 125 players left, average chip stack of 8000 chips. But a closer look, reveals the average stack is pathetic. 3000/1500 blinds and 150 antes. One round will completely destroy the average stack.

Based on these scenarios ( which I feel are fairly accurate) you need to have a fundamental shift in your thinking, somewhere between round 6 and round 10. No longer can you play cards and statistics like a ring game, You are going to have to gamble up, take chances, riptyddy away if I may say. You have to be fearless. Stop worrying about running into aces in the big blind. Forget about all the other times you got screwed. Play like you own the joint and have so much money it just doesn't matter.


You see, MTT tourneys are not fair. The format will not consistently get the best players to the final table. The blinds rise too rapidly and the rounds are not nearly long enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Yes the best players will get the money in the long run, because your play does matter, but on any given night the format will not reward the best.

Loose creative play is rewarded in the later rounds for the following reasons: the blinds are large creating a substantially larger reward for capturing them, most loosey goosey players have already busted out in the first hour (has anyone ever seen a player who played every hand win a large tourney? I haven't), the average player who makes it too round 9 is much better than average ( obviously) and these players tend to play what I would term tight/aggressive, and lastly, in at least in larger buy in tourneys, nobody really want to risk their stack on less than top shelf hands, making steals much easier.

The blinds and blind structure with consideration of you own stack size must dictate your play in later rounds if you expect to be successful in MTT's.