Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 WSOP, Day 19: Fast Final Tables (Further Facts)

Super speedy final tables at this year's WSOPWanted to follow up a bit on that last post about the fast final tables at this year’s WSOP and gather a bit more data. (I also didn’t want to have thrown out some claim about fast final tables without backing it up with some concrete facts.)

At the start of today’s action, 27 bracelets had been awarded at this year’s series. Of the 27 events, 15 resemble those offered last year (i.e., same game, same buy-in). Let’s take a look at the final table durations for those 15 events from 2006 and 2007.

In order to derive the length of the final tables, I looked at CardPlayer’s live reports from last year’s WSOP and PokerNews’ live reports from this year’s WSOP. I noted the time stamps, going from the “Shuffle Up & Deal!” post signalling the start of the final table to the time listed for the post describing the final hand. In each case, I’ve subtracted time spent on dinner breaks (if one was taken), but I did not subtract the other shorter breaks. Nor did I try to guess at the downtime involved for ESPN to set up cameras to film heads-up play.

I should also point out that for the most recent six events listed here for 2007, a little bit of guess work was involved since the time stamps have yet to revert to the exact date/time (still showing “6 days, 18 hours ago”), as I believe they do once a week has passed. It is nevertheless possible to reconstruct pretty closely when the first and last hands were dealt.

Not a perfect way to measure final table durations, then, but a decent enough estimate, I think. Incidentally, a better way to pursue this comparison would be to look at total number of hands played at the final table. As you can see, information regarding total hands isn’t complete.

A couple of exceptions, but for the most part the facts do appear to support the theory -- final tables are moving faster this year. By quite a bit.

I think the change from 90-minute to 60-minute levels for final tables is the largest factor here, although whenever a tourney stretches into that Level 22, the crazy ballooning of blinds (see the previous post) ensures play will end quickly. I assume that the loading of the schedule with extra events caused Harrah’s to adopt the new blind structures, hoping perhaps to prevent those final tables from extending too far into the night.

It’s a shame, though. As Gadzooks’ smartly asks in her comment to the last post, “Am I the only one that thinks it’s wrong to set these tournaments up in such a way that the moment there’s real money on the line (at the final table) coincides with the time when people are forced to take the most risks with hands?” No, ’Zooks . . . I’m with you, there.

Kind of surprised we aren’t hearing more complaints from the players on this one. Perhaps they’ve been too distracted by worrying about whether that tent is gonna fall on ’em.

Meanwhile, keep checking out PokerNews’ live reporting for all the latest!



Blogger Gadzooks64 said...

It must be the enginerd in me but I love me the data!

6/19/2007 4:25 PM  

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