Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MATH Recap, and Scoring the BBT

Ahhh work tilt. Work tilt, work tilt, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Okay, zero. That's how many ways.

Seriously guys, it's cute and I suppose a little flattering all these love notes and girly chats you send me when I don't have a post up by my usual time on a usual day when I've indicated that I will be around. That said, there is simply nothing I can do when a day starts off horrendous and only proceeds to move to atrocious and eventually to abysmal as the day wears on in my office. My fake job, if you will. Today was one of those days. So here I am back at my pc at home, banging out keystroke after keystroke to get this post up for you guys some time tonight. But that's what it's come to -- what is this world coming to when you don't even have time to blog at work anymore? Sheesh.

Anyways, this week's MATH tournament was awesome. We ended up with 38 runners, I believe the largest-ever MATH event that was not part of the BBT, with the payout schedule extending to the top 5 finishers in the tournament. The best part of the tournament IMO was the very fact that it was not part of the BBT. Mr. BBT Luckbaynebox was the first one out, making that two straight blonkaments where the BBT dominator has exited early since the challenge ended. And I'm not surprised. Bayne is now spewing off the rust that had formed on his *real* game all during the BBT when the worst possible thing was always an early exit since the BBT points were so amazingly easy to come by in the recent past. Now Bayne is like I am right now -- after 3 months of focus in every single one of these things, focus on tight early, focus on not being eliminated in the first half at all costs, now he is here to play. And I mean really play. And like I did in this week's MATH, Bayne donked. I donked harder than he did. I totaly bluffed in two pots into a guy I knew was not going to fold. I got called by top pair shizzy kicker, by a guy I knew would not fold to my action. But I did it anyways. Why? Because I can. Now that the BBT is over, I can enjoy that freedom again to donk early and often, without any consequences beyond that tournament itself.

I've written about this before, and I'll get more into it later today, but this is how the blogger tournaments were always set up to be. Although I'm sure you could find people in the poker blogiverse to disagree with me on that point, they are wrong. It's a fact that these things were set up for us to have a good time and donk it up together. Sure you can try to win no doubt, but you can also push early with the hammer and see what happens. You can move allin with that oesd on the flop without worrying about any "standings" or any long-running performance chart. Trust me, I've been playing most of the regular blonkaments since their beginning, and I'm telling you the way we are now, post-BBT, is the way these things are supposed to be. It just is. But more on this later.

Getting back to this week's Mondays at the Hoy, as I mentioned we had 38 runners for a nice field size, a nearly $1000 prize pool and the top 5 spots paying. It was a great match as always, with -- unsurprisingly to me -- mostly the people not at the top of the BBT race surviving till the final table. In the end we had a non-blogger win it all after a couple of hideous suckouts down to heads-up play, but it was a great time had by all and featured some quality late-game play from bloggers who have recently been bemoaning the quality of their end game, which was fun to watch.

Coming in 5th place this week for $82.08 was crazdgamer, recording his triumphant first MATH cash of the year.

Irongirl continued her recent strong blonkament streak by finishing the MATH in 4th place this week, winning $109.40 for her efforts and as I said, adding to a recent string of positive finishes in blogger tournaments after recording her first cash of the BBT just a couple of weeks ago near the end of the series.

LJ busted out with her first cash ever in Mondays at the Hoy this week, ending in 3rd place for a $145.92 payment, barging her way onto the 2007 MATH moneyboard by playing tight early and then opening up and taking advantage of a few big hands late in the contest, and getting it allin as a slight favorite, ahead until the 3-outer Ace fell on the river to eliminate her in third place just a day after she ripped up the cash table at my home game this past weekend.

In second place this week, winning $209.76, was Alan, who put on a masterful performance, taking a huge chip lead when down to two tables and never really relinquishing it until heads-up play. Alan started hu with a big chip lead, but got back down to even on a couple of big laydowns, making the right moves to do so even though it meant him losing his chip lead. Eventually he took the lead back, and then got his opponent allin on about a 62% favorite for Alan, which ended up losing to a 6-outer on the turn. Then a short while later Alan had once again gotten the chip lead back through solid, aggressive but smart play, and then his pair got sucked out on horribly to basically cripple him in his second chance to win it all this week. Still, a very nice performance by Alan who really dominated this thing for the final hour or two on the night.

And lastly, the man who benefitted from those two suckouts, but who also played a great game to get to that point, including playing fairly tight at the final table and allowing others to take their shots at the big stack(s), is PokerBrian322. Brian is blogless, and identified himself a friend of fellow blogger Unimpressed, but Brian played a great game and also recorded his first MATH cash of 2007 on the night, a $364.80 windfall for a job well done, plus a little luck thrown in at the end. Way to go, PokerBrian322!

Here is the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard after this week's action:

1. Bayne_s $1175
2. Hoyazo $849
3. Columbo $801
4. VinNay $775
5. cmitch $774
6. Iggy $745
7. NewinNov $677
8. Lucko21 $665
9. Astin $616
10. Tripjax $561
11. Julius Goat $507
12. mtnrider81 $492
13. Chad $485
14. scots_chris $474
15. Fuel55 $458
16. RecessRampage $434
17. Otis $429
18. Miami Don $402
19. Jordan $382
20. Blinders $379
21. Pirate Wes $372
22. lightning36 $371
23. PokerBrian322 $365
24. IslandBum1 $357
25. ChapelncHill $353
26. Zeem $330
27. Mike_Maloney $326
28 oossuuu754 $312
29. leftylu $295
30. Waffles $294
31. Wigginx $288
32. ScottMc $282
33. Fishy McDonk $277
34. Manik79 $252
35. Wippy1313 $248
36. Byron $234
37. wwonka69 $216
38. Omega_man_99 $210
39. Pushmonkey72 $208
40. Buddydank $197
41. bartonfa $180
42. 23Skidoo $176
43. Santa Clauss $170
44. Iakaris $162
44. Smokkee $162
46. cemfredmd $156
46. NumbBono $156
48. lester000 $147
49. LJ $146
50. Heffmike $145
51. brdweb $143
52. DDionysus $137
53. Patchmaster $135
54. InstantTragedy $129
55. Ganton516 $114
56. Fluxer $110
57. Irongirl $109
58. Gracie $94
58. Scurvydog $94
60. Shag0103 $84
61. crazdgamer $82
62. PhinCity $80
62. jeciimd $80
64. maf212 $78
65. Alceste $71
65. dbirider $71
67. Easycure $67
68. Rake Feeder $53

So no movement in the top 15 or so spots on the 2007 MATH moneyboard for this week, but we did see three new players entering the moneyboard for the first time which is always a plus to me. Congrats to all of this week's cashers for a job well done and some fine play especially at the final table.

OK, on to the actual substance of today's post: the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments. If you read here often then you have heard me say a lot of things about the BBT that may make it sound like I somehow did not like the BBT or wish we had never done it in the first place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Believe me when I say, I love the BBT more than just about anyone. My consistent readers will know that one could not like a blogger tournament series or be more into it than I was. I live for these things, and I take them very seriously. During the first month when I could do nothing right in the BBT, I was tremendously disappointed. At some point I started climbing the leaderboard and I wrote about that, and about my focus on the BBT tournaments. I am a highly competitive person by my nature, I love to play poker and I love playing with the bloggers, so a thing like the BBT tournament challenge is just about my favorite thing in all the world, make no mistake about it.

That said, I have made no secret that I would have changed a few things from the way we ended up running the BBT this year. In fact, you out there don't know this, but there was quite a bit of behind-the-scenes discussion and debate among myself, Mookie and Al before we officially started the BBT about various aspects of the challenge, including specifically who would receive the prizes, how the scoring system would work and other similar items. There was, in fact, some sharp disagreement among the three of us on these two points, and I thought it might be interesting to review those aspects of the BBT now that the series has concluded. Today I'm going to focus solely on the scoring system used in the BBT, and I will get to some of the other debated issues involved in the challenge in later posts this week.

So, the BBT scoring. Again I have made no secret about my lack of admiration for the scoring system we used for the BBT. That scoring system was basically exactly the pokerstars TLB scoring system, which I think makes 100% sense to use for the purpose for which pokerstars uses it: to track the aggregate performance of a player through every single mtt run by pokerstars in a given month. From that broad kind of perspective, it entirely makes sense to me to just count how many of the thousands of mtt's run by pokerstars in a given month that an individual player played in, award points for every time that player ended the tournament in the top half of the field, and take it from there. However, what we did with the scoring in the BBT is entirely different from this, and that is where I think the BBT scoring scheme went wrong. I debated the scoring system with Al and Mookie up front back before the BBT ever started, but in the end I let myself get outvoted because, ultimately, I was excited about the challenge beginning and I felt like I didn't want to stand in the way of that happening. But the bottom line is, when you need to get an overall picture of how individual players did in all the tournaments on a poker site over a given time period -- hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tournaments -- it makes good sense to award points for top-half finishes. But, when you are looking at 39 specific tournaments over a 3-month period, I think the applicability of this half-the-field-gets-points system totally disappears.

It's been written about extensively here and elsewhere among the poker blogs out there, but the effects of this misapplied scoring system were rampant throughout the BBT. Tons of players "folded to the points", or, more accurately, just played ubertight to the points, and that is not what anybody had in mind when we started the challenge. Yes I am all for Al's point that, generally speaking, people might be a bit more involved if we make it a bit more possible to get points in a given tournament. But half the field? It just makes no sense in a challenge like this. I mean, a guy who finishes in exactly the halfway point in every single tournament we play would basically have been in the top 5 on the BBT leaderboard, and that to me makes no sense whatsoever. We don't really mean to be awarding BBT points over 39 events in 3 months to people who come in 28th out of 55 players in the Mookie, or 16th out of 33 players in the MATH, or 58th out of 120 players in Riverchasers. It's great that that person survived through half the field, but none of those performances I just listed are actually worthy of any points, and, at the risk of alienating some of you out there who might feel differently, I would add that at least in my view and in the view of most of the blonkeys I know, there is nothing to be proud of, and nothing reward-worthy, about any of those performances. Coming in 18th out of 35 in the MATH last night might make you happy if you've never done better than that in a blogger tournament before, but 18th of 35 still is what it is, and what it is, is sucky. It's certainly not worthy of any recognition or points on a performance tracking scale that is supposed to be rewarding strong performances in these events.

And this scoring system ends up leading to that I generally find to be ridiculous. I mean, the guy in 3rd place overall in the BBT standings, and a guy whom I consider to be a good friend btw, is in 3rd place out of 315 total players, and yet he cashed for a total of $119 throughout the entire BBT. What's more, if you check out the overall profitability rankings for buyins and payouts from the 39 BBT tournaments that Al has posted today, that same individual, in 3rd place on the overall BBT leaderboard, is in dead last. Dead. Last. So 3rd place on the BBT scoring system equates to the guy who literally lost the most money out of all 315 players who participated in at least one BBT tournament. Sorry to my friend, to whom I mean no disrespect at all when I write about this, but that makes abjectly no sense whatsoever. And there are other similar problems along these same lines. I see here a guy in 3rd to last on the total BBT profits list, who came in 22nd out of 315 in total BBT points. Is that a good showing for the BBT, or isn't it? What about the guy in 312th place in total BBT profits, who came in 12th overall on the BBT scoring list? Or #311 in total profits, who ended in 17th place overall on the BBT leaderboard? Or #305 in profitability who ended in 19th place on the total BBT points list? Dare I even mention the guy who was #296 in total BBT profits but who ended the BBT season in 15th place overall? And I could go on and on and on. Just tons of guys who did well according to the funked up BBT scoring system, but who actually took an absolute pounding to their bankrolls from constantly playing in these events to a loss, week in and week out. To quote Chris Rock, That Ain't Right.

Now again, this is not at all about cutting on anyone who is cited in the above paragraph -- far from it in fact. Those people were given a scoring system in which to compete, and they competed with full knowledge of the strengths and the many weaknesses of that system. So no one here is trying to take anything at all away from their accomplishments. If you had told me that finishing in 27th place in any BBT tournament was automatically worth as much as a first-place finish, then I would have targeted 27th place just as much as the next guy in an attempt to win the most BBT points. That's all that happened here with the people that I cite above. The BBT scoring system put all its emphasis on top-half finishes, and not nearly enough on cashing, and as a result we have a bunch of guys in the top 20 of the BBT points leaderboard who simply got killed in these tournaments from an overall cash-in / cash-out perspective. We told them to do that, and we made them do that with the scoring system that we used. To me, these numbers here show irrefutably why the scoring needs to change if we ever do this BBT thang again.

So then, I ask, what is the best way to score something like this in the future? This is where a lot of people have weighed in with a bunch of great ideas, and I would like to briefly discuss each of those here.

First, I've heard several people mention scoring this based on total profitability by tracking whether people bought in to these events with discounted-price tokens that they won, or by buying in for cold hard cash from their accounts for the full price. In the end, Al had a better one-paragraph explanation in his Tuesday post this week than I could come up with , but basically to me this is what I like to think of as "recockulous". Folks, as Al puts it better than me, a $26 buyin is a $26 buyin is a $26 buyin. It truly does not matter whether you only paid $8 to buy in to the MATH one week because you had a token. It's still a $26 value coming out of your account and into the tournament prize pool for that event. Period. As Al explains on his blog, this would be no different from someone claiming they freerolled into every single BBT event because they always made sure to win an amount of cash at least equal to that day's BBT tournament buyin every single day before he or she sat down to play the BBT event. It makes no sense whether you won the $26 at the cash tables, won the money in a token sng, or paid $26 cash from your full tilt account. It was a $26 buyin. Period. Accept that, because the logic is sound and the concept is spot-on. And this doesn't even get in to the fact of how would we ever be able to check or verify how many token sngs were lost before you finally won that one token in, say, your 5th or 6th sng? Does your buyin for that night's BBT tournament then become $44 instead of the $26 cash buyin, because you had to play five $8.80 buyin token sngs in order to win your one token? Come on with that. The whole thing is preposterous. Everyone's layout for these tournaments is exactly the same as everyone else's regardless of where the money comes from or what form it takes (token, cash table profits, straight up cash buyin, etc.). So that suggestion I would say is successfully debunked.

And btw, Al alludes to this too, but anyone who claims to be able to track specifically how much money they won or lost in these token sngs, only with respect to the BBT tournament buyins, is a flipping liar. That whole notion is so silly it hardly even deserves mention. But suffice it to say that I put absolutely zero stock in any proposal to score the BBT based on token buyins vs cash buyins. Makes no sense at all, as my man Bob Mould would say.

I've also heard people suggest along these same lines that we could use each player's ROI to measure the scoring for the BBT. This argument inevitably falls back into the one above, the use of tokens or other "discounted" type of buyins, and I whole-heartedly disagree with that approach. I laugh at it, even. It just doesn't make any actual sense to do things that way, and it's untrackable in any event even if we wanted to track this thing that it makes no sense to track.

Blinders and I think one other person somewhere have suggested that the scoring system stay just like it is, but that we then only take each player's 10 highest BBT finishes into account when tallying the leaderboard. I was puzzled greatly by this suggestion when I first saw it, but I think yesterday I finally figured out where it comes from. This is someone who just doesn't want to change the BBT scoring system, but is struggling to find a way within the confines of the existing system to insert the proper incentives that would stop the whole "folding to the points" phenomenon that we saw so much of throughout the BBT this year. That's a cute attempt, don't get me wrong, but in my view, why would we want to work so hard to preserve the current scoring system which is so obviously and basically flawed? And more than that, the real problem with this proposal is that it would only award points based on someone's 10 best BBT performances. I can't speak for Al or Mookie, but I know that I would not really be interested in someone's 10 best performances over 39 tournaments. The whole point here is supposed to be tracking your performance over all 39 tournaments. I understand that choosing your ten best performances over all 39 events is to some extent tracking your performance over all 39 events, but it's not nearly enough so for me to like it. No, what we need here is something that gives actual credit in the scoring system for basically every tournament performance during the challenge.

That being said, if you wanted to argue that we should drop out people's 2 worst performances or something, I would not be averse to that per se. In other words, I don't have any problem with a scoring system that drops out a couple of outlier-type of poor showings, the time your Aces got cracked on hand #1, or the time your girlfriend just dumped you and you logged on and donked it up hard. This kind of a scoring methodology would still ensure that we are getting a truly broad picture of the players' performances over all 39 events, even if it only includes 37 of those events in the calculation. But including only 10 of those 39 events in the calculation is just not where we want to be, at least not in my view. I'd rather just have ten events then and count them all.

So now we move on to the natural progression if you read the arguments above -- why not just award BBT points based purely on cash won in the respective tournaments? And my first answer is: I don't know why not. That seems like a dam good system to me. In fact, you may have noticed that every Tuesday here at the blog I post the 2007 MATH moneyboard, which lists every player who has cashed in any Mondays at the Hoy tournament this year, along with the total amount of cash won by that player out of this tournament in all attempts during 2007. I don't list the number of tournaments in the top half of players, I don't list top 20s, and I don't even list final tables. That should give you a good indication of what I think is most important as far as evaluating who has really done a good job or not good job consistently across all the MATH tournaments we've held on Monday nights during 2007. And I don't mean to seem totally focused on the money itself, which I'm actually not really. Ultimately we are all playing these things to win 'em, or to make money from the endeavor at least, and so to me how much money you've extracted from a particular tournament or series of tournaments is an excellent true indicator of how well you've played in that event, in particular if like me you put a significant value on making it to the end as opposed to just outlasting half the field, which gives me no satisfaction at all and doesn't make me think anything good about someone who has attained such an accomplishment.

But no, to me the reason I like to use cash won as a good barometer of overall tournament performance is that I think cash won actually results in a very good reading of performance, due to the nature of how cash is paid out in these events. First off, speaking in very general terms, once you get above 1 or 2 tables, most poker tournaments are going to pay somewhere between 10 and 20% of the field in some form or another. So, right there you have what sounds to me -- and which is exactly what I argued to my friends as we were setting up the BBT -- is a fair and appropriate percentage of people who should be receiving "points" in any given tournament. Not this top 50% bullshit we ran per the pokerstars TLB formula for the BBT. Top 50% ain't shit, how many more times can I say that. It may be hard for some of you to do, don't get me wrong -- and believe me, I have written here about many, many streaks where just lasting through the first hour of a tournament has been damn near impossible for me as well (just check out my first month of BBT tournaments if you don't believe me) -- but even if it's hard for me or you to make the top 50%, the top 50% of any mtt ain't worth shiat. Period. Not only would I not write home about that performance, but I would actually be embarrassed to talk about it. Hey guys I played the WSOP today, out of 1576 players I went out in 739th place. I mean, that's some accomplishment I suppose depending on who is in the field, but even that is much greater than our silly little blonkaments. As the number of entrants gets lower and lower, the "feat factor" of lasting through half of that field drops exponentially. So top 50% ain't shiat. Top 40% ain't shiat. In fact, top 30% ain't really shiat either. Hey we had 61 players and I went out in 20th place. Woohooo! Now at 30th percentile that's not a bad showing at all, but do I think it's worthy of BBT points? Hale no. 20th place out of 61 donkeys sounds a lot more to me like "hey nice run, sorry you couldn't quite make the points" as opposed to "hey nice run, you really kicked ass, here's some BBT points." 20th out of 61? I'm just not feelin it.

The other really great thing about using straight-up cash won as the BBT leaderboard barometer is that the cash is paid out in mtt's roughly in the same proportion as I tend to award esteem to fionishing in each particular spot in the tournament. In other words, you've all seen the payouts for the big mtt's, right? Out of 1500 players, guys who finish from 134-164 will all get the same, relatively small amount, and spots 133-100 will all get the same, slightly larger but still quite small amount. Probably 80-99 get a still larger but still small payout relative to the buyin -- we're talking about 2 or maybe 2.5 times the buyin, tops. Go check it out for yourself on full tilt right now. Open up the lobby for the 25k or the 24k or the 28k and see how high you have to finish just to get paid even 3 times the buyin back, which I would still consider a generally small payout for sure. Anyways, the point I'm driving at here is that poker tournament cash tends to be awarded in small amounts to the bottom 80% or so of cashers, and basically a good 50% or more (all, in our cases) awarded to the final table. Along the same lines, the real lion's share of the prize pool ends up going to the top 2 or 3 finishers. This payout structure is more or less exactly in line with the value that I place on finishing in these respective spots in an mtt. If I run to 6th place out of 54 in the Mookie, I'm thinking that was a nice run -- obviously I've avoided a ton of abject heehawers no doubt since it's a blonkament after all -- and I feel like maybe I should get a little cash for the effort. Maybe $17 for my $11 investment. But not much more than that. Why? Because I came in 6th place. Not first, not second, not third, and not even fourth or fifth. That's worth about a buyin and a half back to me maybe, but not much more. Of course 6th out of 2000 is much more of an accomplishment and should carry a higher payout number, but 6th out of 54 doesn't do much for me, not much more than a $17 payout would do for my online roll. To me, I like the idea of a scoring system that rewards players for finishing near the very top of a tournament much more than for finishing at the very bottom of wherever we decide the "points" spots begin for this particular event. And that is exactly how most mtt payouts are structured as well.

I've seen more than one person who's complained that a cash-only system is not right because it will weight the larger tournaments more than the smaller ones. I have a few responses to this point. First and foremost, I hate to break your bubbles here, but you current system already does that! That's right -- the beloved pokerstars TLB scoring formula already awards more points for larger cashes in larger tournaments that it does or smaller tournaments. In many cases the differences are very, very significant in the weighting of these events. That's why the guy who wins the Sunday Million on stars has such a great chance of being that week's TLB winner every week. The big events already count more. As well they should, IMO. I mean, is it really worth the same to you all if you come in 3rd of 18 in the MATH for a $26 buyin, as it is if you come in 3rd of 54 in the Big Game with its $75 buyin? To me, the buyin is three times as much, so you're risking three times as much and, at least theoretically, the level of play should be someamount higher as a result of the significantly larger buyin. On top of this, there are also 3 times as many people in the Big Game, making it that much harder to navigate the field of idiotsmines you would need to avoid than in the 16-person MATH. It also means that your 3rd place finish represents a much smaller percentile (6th percentile) than the 3rd place finish in the MATH with 16 people (19th percentile). So to me, I don't have an issue with weighting the larger, more expensive tournaments more than the lesser tournaments in some way or another. The beautiful thing about using just the cash payouts for the BBT rankings is that the payout structures of these tournaments already take care of that adjustment for us by the amounts and numbers of players that they make payouts too. The Big Game already paid $1200 to its winner during the BBT, while the MATH paid $450, and the Mookie and Riverchasers events with their $10 buyins paid out $200-something to first place. It's brilliant, actually, if you think about it.

And you know what? I haven't even mentioned by far the best part about paying just the cashers in these events: it totally incentivizes the right kind of play and behavior from the players in a BBT scored by such a system. Think about it -- are you ever, ever going to even be tempted to "fold to the points" when you only get awarded BBT points for coming in at least 3rd out of 18, or at least 9th out of 70? No. Of course not. That's the idea, whether you realize it or not. The most "disincentive" there would be would be exactly the level of disincentive that exists in the real poker world -- the money bubble. When cash (and therefore points) are awarded to the top 9 out of 70 players in the Mookie, and we're down to 11 or 10 left, you probably would be tempted to play a bit tighter and try to hold on to the money. I'm fine with that. The bubble is a necessary and unavoidable part of every single poker tournament that is ever run. I can handle the temporary disincentives to normal play that might be created by the money (and points) bubble, because they're going to be a part of every tournament no matter what we do, no matter how we score the BBT.

Now, after saying all this, Al has made what again I consider to be an excellent point that I find to be quite moving. Basically, Al believes that participation in the BBT will be increased when more players have a chance to make at least some BBT points in as many events as possible. And after a lot of soul-searching and deliberation over the span of a couple of months actually, I've searched far and wide for the argument against this. I just can't find one. After all, the BBT is and always has been about the community, about as much participation as possible in our group, about us all getting together a few times a week to compete with each other, shoot the shit, wish AIDS rag on people in chat, etc., you know the drill. What the hike else are we doing here if we're not trying to create a nice community thing for the poker bloggers. To me anyways, that is ultimately what it's all about Given that, I think the actual best thing to do is something that closely approximates the cash payouts criteria I discussed above, but is then adjusted to include some small percentage of additional finishers who went out just short of the cash payouts.

Let me give you an example. I'm sitting here right now looking at the payout table for the nightly 24k guaranteed tournament on full tilt. With a prize pool of exactly 24k, this tournament pays out just over 12k to the 9 final tablers of this tournament. So roughly 50% of the total prize pool going to the final tablers. Using that formulation based on a percent of the prize pool to the category of "top" finishers, why not take the people who cash in a blonkament and award them something like 70% of the total BBT points to be awarded. Then we can award the other 30% of the BBT points in aggregate to the rest of the final table and maybe a total of the top 15 or maybe even 20% of finishers. These numbers do not need to be exact. But while I said earlier that I don't think the guy who comes in 20th out of 61 players is necessarily worthy of getting BBT points for that performance, maybe the guy who comes in 12th place out of 61 is worthy of some low-level points. 12th out of 61 is 19.7th percentile. I can certainly live with that. Or maybe we could do it even simpler, and just award all the points to the final tablers in the events, which for the events in the 50-80 player range is probably right around where my 15th percentile idea would fall anyways. Anything in this neighborhood would work for me. So instead of top 50% to get BBT points, it would be more like top 20%. That number sounds much more fair and appropriate to me, and yet is still big enough that it shouldn't make participation in future BBT events unattractive in any way.

So what do you guys think of that? So, in a typical 70-person Mookie, you would need to come in the top 14 finishers to get BBT points. In a 50-person MATH, just the top 10 players would be awarded points. In a 90-person Riverchasers, top 18 get points. And in a 40-person Big Game, just the final 8 players. I can live with that. It's lofty goals, but I think these goals should be somewhat lofty. We're battling it out for points in a poker tournament performance series. Do we really need to give points out to 38th place out of 76 runners?

More tomorrow on how the prizes should be awarded for the BBT leaderboard. Best of luck tonight.

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Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I'm SHOCKED that there haven't been any comments so far. I thought for sure there'd be bazillion comments... when I first read this (it was on my treo so no way was I gonna comment on that tiny keyboard), I was like, oh boy, Hoy is gonna start an all out blogwar...

So, my 2 cents regarding the scoring which I think I threw out there before. I guess the first thing to consider is what the priority is for the BBT challenge. I agree with your method if we are trying to determine the best tournament player/winningest tournament player. However, I thought part of the BBT challenge was to encourage participation and also bring in the bloggers that might not otherwise play in the tournaments. I agree that half the field getting points is insane, but I don't think money should be the end all and the be all.

Yes, yes, I know... that's how winners in poker are determined. But again, I'm just throwing out the fact that this whole idea is to encourage participation. And I know the tournament formula incorporates the buy-in size but it's not as drastic as the actual money won... I don't think (I don't know this for sure so I could be waaaay off). I mean, I'm fortunate enough to be able to make money on the cash tables to fund my tournament (since we all know that my tournament game is in its infancy/developmental stage - uh, thanks Al for posting that) so I can participate in all the BBT tourneys. But for those with the limited bankroll, they may only be able to hit the low buy-in tourneys like the Mookie and the Riverchasers and an occasional MATH. I'd hate for those guys to be at a "disadvantage" because they can't play in the Big Game or something.

Don't get me wrong. Personally, I don't mind your idea one bit. But I think it's just a matter of whether you want to focus on really fighting for the top honors or to encourage participation. Hell, why don't we have both? Like keep track of the winningest player and top 5 on the board gets 75% of the rake and the top 3 on the modified points board gets 25% of the rake or something.

Uh oh... this is getting long...

I also agree that 50% is insane (though I didn't know that was the points bubble until... I don't know, quite a while). Maybe 20% should start getting points and the points should be more skewed? Like you said, it makes no sense that a guy who ends in the top 50% gets almost the same amount of points as the guy who barely misses the final table bubble. I mean there's gotta be a difference there.

As for me, the BBT was a lot of fun. The funny thing is, I'm retarded and lazy when it comes to reading directions/rules, etc... so, I didn't know until about the last two weeks that top 5 got something (I thought it was top 3 and even then, I knew money was involved and Wii was involved but I wasn't really sure what was going on). I also didn't know that 50% made points for a while.

Some of you might think, how do you not know!? Well... so I'm retarded, leave me alone.

I'm not sure why I'm not writing all this on my blog... this has gotten ridiculous.

BBT was fun, and I thank all you guys who were involved in making it happen cuz it was great. But I'm 287th place in the ROI board, 6th place in BBT leaderboard. Yeah, I agree that a change is needed. Oh wait, but I satellited into all the BBT tourneys so that's not accurate! :) (I kid, of course. Hoy, I'm in totaly agreement with you on that being ridiculous).

Ok, I'm out. I should just copy and paste this damn thing on to my blog...

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Stuff.

I'm firm in my beliefs on the scoring system, why even have a BBT if everyone gets points?

It's like kids sports these days, everyone gets to participate and everyone gets an award and I think thats total bullshit.

Make the BBT a real competition with tough criteria, make it results based on net cash, and the season ending event should be a real Tournament of Champions where you have to win one of the events to play.

If people feel left out or they suck and can't make the money then oh well and if thats the case we keep playing the blogger events but we don't have a competition.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

"It's like kids sports these days, everyone gets to participate and everyone gets an award and I think thats total bullshit."

Ok, I kinda agree but not 100%. I mean the whole kids sports thing is insane. Everyone gets a trophy. Ok... now that I wrote that, maybe it's similar. I don't know. This is getting tough.

I personally love competition, so if I know that it's really tight and stuff, I'd like that a lot more. But I also liked that for each event, there were tons of bloggers that played, regardless of the varying skill level... I think this is one of those things... like gun control, abortion, etc... where people will never agree on one thing... and no matter what's decided, there will always be people that are happy about it and others who would hate the decision... such is life.

I do, however, like the idea of Tournament of Champions. I think that would be cool. Actually, that should be where most of the rake is... then that way, everyone will be gunning for the win... maybe like everyone who won a tourney and top 5 cashers (if they happen to be in the top 5 without winning a single tournament).

1:34 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I also love how Hoy's comment section is becoming my message board... Why did I even start a blog. I got a good template right here...

1:35 PM  
Blogger Astin said...




Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't Poker Stars' TLB scoring system reward only the top FIFTEEN PERCENT (15%) of finishers? Not 50?

I was shocked when I was told it was 50% for the BBT, since I was under the assumption Stars' system was 15%.

Anyway, I disagree with cash only. For the reason that one win in the Big Game would be enough to put you in the top 3. You'd have to win 3 or 4 MATHs or twice as many Mookies to catch up. The points weren't THAT heavily weighted in favour of the Big Game.

I do like splitting it up more, so that just trickling into the points gets you very little, while final-tabling would reap bigger rewards.

And sorry Don, but while I agree that this "everyone gets a trophy" deal is nuts, the whole point was to get everyone out and then some. If we're just playing for cash... well, that's called the rest of the year. Hoy and Mookie already both put up charts of the money leaders in their tournaments... it would negate the point of the BBT. I agree on the TOC though... but that may be because I won an event. :)

2:15 PM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Nice Job in 50-50 tonight!

Only flaw as I see it in pure Money based scoring in hindsight is that Top 12 on money list (with 2 exceptions) cashed in the 3 Big Games. Impact would have been to trivialize RiverChasers and Mookie tournament performance.

If Al had created P/L chart prior to June 11 MATH I am pretty sure it would have shown me on top of leaderboard at small loss of money. So would have to agree there was an inherent flaw in Top 50% getting points.

Think question of what improvements to make are quite moot as I can't imagine poker site kicking back the entry fees to fund a prize fund again.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

Loved the BBT, hope there is a BBTwo.

Play for points, play for cash, what's the diff if it gets all the bloggers at the tables together. If you are playing for anything but cash each time, that will surely be its own punishment.

Bayne brings up a valid point I'd never thought of: Will Tilt give up the rake again?

I think so; that is to say, I hope so, and I believe in the power of magical thinking. I've switched from Stars to Tilt almost exclusively because of BBT, and I bet there are more like me. It was a good move on their part.

8:02 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

If you look closer at the sheet about 99% of people did not profit at least... That my friend is just MTTs in general.. playing 39 in a row is just a super magnification of the whole concept.. but basically you play a lot of MTTs over a bunch of time and hope for that one big score.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

I think my thoughts are probably best represented by what Astin had to say.

Astin, by the way, the formula was amended to 50% instead of 15%, otherwise the calculations are the same. That's what Hoy meant when he said we used PS' TLB system.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Good point Waffles. But for what it's worth, 22% of the total players who played at least one event actually did profit, and a full 78% lost a total of one Big Game buyin or less. That 78% is a pretty respectable number to me all things considered.

9:00 PM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

I'm basically in the camp with I'm ok with the current system (and yes I did finish with a negative ROI); but also like I mentioned in my blog, I didn't play for points. In the end, BBT or not, it is a cash tourney and cash is the reward. But... I don' think that net cash is a good to measure sommething in the BBT.

You may have said or somebody else may have; but over 39 tournaments, the people that are able to play in the most tournaments have the advantage over people like me who can only play about half of them due to kids or whatever... and of course, the winners of the Big Game would dominate the leader board... what is the point of the other tournaments then.

So, in the end, I say keep the same formula; but perhaps limit it to the top 33%. I was thinking about tabulating that; but decided against because the play would have been different if that were the case in the real tournaments.

Nice Job in the 50/50!!

9:05 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

It's me again...

I think the main flaw with the point system in BBT was that it doesn't reward the late mid game to end game play enough.

I was never trying to make it to the points and I've said before that I feel comfortable with the early portions of a tournament where the stacks are deep. So I would do fairly well early, but without much tournament experience, I always fizzled in the late stages of the tourney. But I was always around in the top 20 or so... good for points in most tourneys. And of course, if I started catching cards at that stage, I'd go deep. So, I'd do fairly well in the scoring system but not so much in terms of ROI because mid-late to end game is where the money is made and I just didn't know what I was doing. I was very card dependent in the late stages. But coming in 18th is not much worse than a guy who busts out first at the final table. And again, that doesn't make sense.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Patch said...

I don't like the overall profit idea because it sets up a strategy where someone does very well in the first couple tournaments, or maybe wins the first Big Game, and then stops competing. Their profit margin will be huge.

I'd like to suggest going in completely the opposite direction of what's been suggested so far. Award points to EVERYONE. There is no points bubble, so there's no benefit in folding your way past it. And everyone gets at least something just for participating, so they can at least look at the leaderboard and see something other than a goose egg next to their name.

The difficulty is in finding a formula that properly awards huge points to those who finish at the top and very small points to those at the bottom. The PokerStars formula doesn't work for this.

The key will be to find a formula where just showing up and giving a lackluster performance week after week does NOT place you near the top of the leaderboard. Perhaps something like the current formula extended all the way to the bottom, but with an adjustment based on amount won. Take the current points and multiply by the square root of (1 + winnings)? This should give a huge bump to those in the money.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I also think there should be a pi in the calculation somewhere too... you know the 3.14.....

12:19 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

I have no problem with the way things ran the last time. I got a late start and played my way into the top 50 and also made the minimum number of games. A few better results on coinflips and I would have probably cashed at least once or twice more. I direct bought into one big game and satellited into the other for $14 and satted into a few Maths so my true outlay was probably a little less.

Regardless of the fact that I didnt turn a profit the experience playing high caliber competition 2-3 times a week made me a better player.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

As a follow-up. Maybe there should be money thrown aside for a separate Freeroll or added money event: those individuals who win an individual leg of the BBT. My live league does that... Top 10ers play for one prize. Eveyone else plays the losers lounge tourney and there is also a TOC for each weekly winner (we have 20 weeks).

12:33 AM  

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