Friday, January 21, 2011

Multi-Entry Tournaments at Full Tilt

I really can't believe these new "Multi-Entry Tournaments" at full tilt poker. I suppose my opinion could change after I have some time to see these things in action, but I am really, really surprised at some of the decisions involved in enabling such a feature on the site.

For starters, it looks like each multi-entry mtt will have its own limit on the number of multi-entries you can have in the event, but in the example they show on their FAQ page for this new feature, the drop-down menu goes to what looks like 30. Now, they are clear that you can never have more entries than there are tables remaining in a tournament -- for obvious reasons, since it is unfathomable that the same person can sit at the same table as themself -- but otherwise, is there really a need to allow people to buy into the same tournament 25 or 30 times? What is that accomplishing, really, other than of course dramatically increasing full tilt's rake from these tournaments? Yeah, they can tell themselves that it "gives people a second chance" if they bust early for some reason, but any seasoned tournament guy -- in particular one who often plays rebuys -- can tell you with confidence what's going to happen here: it's going to change the way these people play. When a guy knows he's got two entries, let alone four -- and I don't even want to think about when he's got 16 or 20 entries -- they're going to play these tournaments like aggrodonkeys.

These tournaments are going to play at least as bad as a standard rebuy, only probably worse, since multiple-entrants can be playing 15 or 20 entries simultaneously, instead of just knowing they will have to start over with a fresh buyin stack if they lose. Think about it -- once one of these clowns amasses one top-25 stack with one of his 20 entries early in some 2000-person field, he's going to play like an absolute maniac with his other 19 entries for the most part. There's definitely an incentive to, anyways. Whereas, in a rebuy if you're lucky enough to amass that big stack early, the better strategy is going to be to play it smart and try to make that stack last through monkey hour. Much like my feelings about Rush poker, I just can't see this as being anything but a negative development for the players in the games overall, and it will surely make me not want to play them just as much as you won't find me often in a Rush poker tournament unless I feel like donking around. I mean, would it have been so hard for full tilt to limit multiple-entry tournaments to, say, two or three entries per person? Did they have to go and let people play 20 different seats in one event?

The other aspect of the multi-entry tournaments that I read about on full tilt's FAQ page that I just can't quite accept is what they do when a player is left with more entries remaining in a tournament than there are tables remaining in that tournament. Since nobody can sit at the same table as themself for obvious reasons, full tilt's patent-pending program will automatically merge two of your entries in such a situation. But in so merging, they will literally "combine" the entry from the table being broken with the smallest stack you have remaining in your other entries in the tournament. And in so "combining" the stacks, they will actually add the chips from the two entries together for the new, merged entry! While it's smart I suppose to combine with the smallest remaining stack, I can see this creating a number of scenarios that could be really frustrating and just generally unfair (in my opinion), or more accurately, just wrong the way I see it. It's wrong in much the same way that I think stalling the final table of the WSOP ME for four months before resuming after seven solid days of hardcore playing in the summer to reach that point -- it's just not natural, and it's not right to someone who really understands what winning large-field mtt's is all about.

Think about this scenario. You've been sitting at the same table for the last 2 1/2 hours of a big-field online tournament. You're well into the money positions now, say there are four tables left with 9 players at each table, out of 2200 who started some 6 or 7 hours ago. You've waited patiently while the guy to your immediate right has slowly but surely whittled his stack away, you've reraised him a few times when he's been going for a steal, and otherwise you've literally sat next to him and waited for the right hand to take his stack when he inevitably pushed allin due to his short stack. You've got say 50,000 chips and he is now down to 9k, his lowest in hours, with blinds of 800-1600. Clearly, he is finally down to push and pray mode, and you are set to benefit from your patience these last couple of hours as you know he basically has to push allin any time the action folds around to him before the flop, with basically any two cards. It's a great situation for you.

Then, just before his big blind, something strange happens. All of a sudden the word "MERGE" appears over his name, and the next thing you know, his 9k stack -- the one that you have patiently waited out and made some thoughtful folds to over the past 200 hands or so next to him -- suddenly becomes 109k. Why? All because on some other table where he had a 100k stack has just broken, and this 9k stack is his smallest stack of the entries he has remaining in the event. Suddenly all of your patience has been for nought, and why? I mean, sure this happens all the time in poker tournaments, someone new moves to your table, or you get moved to a new table, and while you were a pretty big stack at the old table, suddenly you are stuck sitting with a bunch of huge stacks. But the difference there is that it's not the same exact guy at the table, who was not eliminated. There's just something unnatural about it, something wrong, and I'm willing to guess that most seasoned mtt players who are accustomed to making deep runs would agree with me, just like I'm sure they do about the whole WSOP Main Event delay thing.

Ultimately, other than promotional weeks like next week's upcoming "double guarantees" week when full tilt is going to turn every single one of its weekly guarantees into a multi-entry tournament to see just how high they can make the prize pools, this won't really affect me much. Why? Because you won't find me playing these sorry excuses for "poker tournaments". But it just bothers me that every time full tilt invents a new and original structure for online poker -- and markets it as such to us players -- what it really seems to come down to over and over again is just another greedy money grab.

But it's all about the rake, baby. It's not about poker, and it's certainly not about the customer. It's all about the rake.

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Blogger The Dyer said...

Out of 45 tournaments in the upcoming FTOPS XIX there is 1 (ONE) normal full ring MTT that doesn't include some kind of bell or whistle. Even the Main Event is a multi entry. I couldn't agree more with your point of view. I actively avoid rush, turbos, rebuys and short handed tourneys and now multi-buys too.... Leaves very little choice for what I thought was a normal online poker player...

11:23 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

OMG the FTOPS ME is now multi-entry too? That's the worst thing I've heard yet.

It's just a shame how much full tilt feels like they have to chase the almighty dollar with no regard whatsoever to what's best for the game they peddle or the customers they serve.

Wow, I will I am sure never play the FTOPS ME again.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joke. More rake for Howard the DB and his boys.

I'll pass on all these multi-entries.

10:48 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

I love their innovation, but not at the expense of tradition. I will definitely give this game a try soon. I hope they bring back more of the traditional games too.

I do think the pros and really good players will absolutely destroy these multi buyin tourneys.

2:34 AM  
Blogger The Neophyte said...

I was gonna sign up for FT just so I can play in Josie's tourney but I don't want to play in tourneys like that. All it does is increase the rake and help those who multitable a lot and have a lot of cash behind them to the detriment of people who don't like me. I hope this doesn't catch on. I agree, it's all about the rake. BTW thanks for your posts on playing pocket pairs. I enjoyed them and they have helped me a lot

4:31 AM  

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