Sklansky's (Poker) Tournament System
October 12, 2005 8:26 PM Subscribe
So I was reading "Tournament Poker for Advanced Players" by Sklansky, and found his system, and his modified system, pretty interesting. It's pretty easy to analyze the basic system, but the modified system is more complicated, and I have some questions/concerns about it.
posted by RustyBrooks to sports, hobbies, & recreation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First, if you're not aware of the system I'm talking about, I'll give a tiny bit of detail. His system basically involves decided whether to fold or go all in. He has a formula that is based on the number of limpers, the number of players still to act, and the ratio of the blinds to your chip stack. Basically (limpers+1) * actors * stack / blinds. If there is a raise before you, you go all in with AA KK QQ or AKs. If there is no raise, you take your output from the formula, and depending on the number, there are different sets of hands to go all in on. The lower the number is, the more relaxed the constraints. This follows from the fact that if there are fewer players to act, you are less likely to get called, and if your ratio to the blinds is low, you must play looser to catch up.
Anyway. I made some scripts that calculate this number for me in real time, and I've been experimenting with playing the system live, online. I tried in free tournaments first. It does "ok", generally coming in the top 25%. This is fairly easy to do in a freeroll though, I bet I could do as well, or better, just folding. Freerolls suck. I've also tried it in a few low dollar tourneys, $1-$5. I generally go out around the mid point. Not a great showing.
With the original system, which had a fixed set of hands to go all in wth, you would go all in about 13% of the time. So if you weren't called you'd slowly make money, picking up the blinds a little more often than you paid them. If you were called, generally you would either lose or double up. In the modified system, the call rate seems to be more like 5%. It may be that I don't have enough samples yet but that seems to be it.
I don't know how to simulate the situation. I guess I could model the players, picking values for how loose of callers they are (since the # of limpers affects the number so much) and run a bunch of trials. The other thing I don't quite know how to analyze is expected return. It seems to me that if you assume that everyone folds to you, you can model it fairly easily -- but everyone won't always fold, and in fact, in low dollar tournaments you will get called with crap hands quite a bit. So an unknown factor, to me, is how often I can expect to get called.
I am wondering also if the system needs to be modified for online play, since the levels advance every 5 minutes (turbo) or 12 (normal) compared to maybe once an hour in a large live tournament. So, online, I might expect to see 10 hands between blind increases and live I might expect to see 30-40. In the freerolls I was often knocked out (in the top 25% mind you) after only about 50 hands. In these situations it seems like you might need to loosen the restrictions, but again, not sure how to model it.