Tuesday, July 23, 2013

That’s What’s the Deal We’re Dealing In

Pretty much since returning home from Las Vegas and the World Series of Poker, I’ve been occupied for much of each day following these MicroMillions 5 tournaments on PokerStars. This is the online series that features teeny weeny buy-ins -- usually only a buck or three -- and huge fields, thus enabling players who make deep runs and/or win often to enjoy thousandfold returns on their investments (and then some).

Unlike the Sunday Millions, Super Tuesdays, or other higher buy-in, regular weekly events on the site, these MicroMillions events generally don’t feature too many recognizable usernames at the end. Not coincidentally, they don’t usually feature too much talk of final table deals, either, although occasionally some players making it to the final few will manage to talk about chopping and even cut some deals here and there.

Was watching one event yesterday -- a $1 no-limit hold’em event with rebuys and a turbo structure -- in which the final three players did succeed in pausing the tournament to discuss dividing up the remaining prize money.

The tourney had attracted more than 27,000 players, and the chip stacks at that point were humongous with all of the rebuys and add-ons. The leader had more than 622 million, second-place had about 245 million, and the guy in third had 86 million. The blinds were big too, though -- about to go to 6m/12m, and increasing every five minutes thereafter -- so we’re talking stacks at that point of about 52 big blinds, then about 20 BBs, then just over 7 BBs.

“Chip chop” figures were produced (leaving $2,000 for which to play) which would’ve guaranteed the guy in first about $13,600, the next one about $9,700, and third place a little more than $8,000. Meanwhile, the scheduled payouts at that point were $15,184.64, then $11,051.44, then $7,170.05. (“ICM” numbers -- also an option -- were not discussed.)

The players in the top two positions were amenable to the proposed payouts, but the guy in third said he figured the $800 or so difference between third-place money and what he’d be guaranteed with the deal wasn’t enough to justify going with the chop. “I might as well take my chances,” he typed, and as it happened he’d end up finishing in third shortly thereafter.

Watching this play out, my first thought was that he was right to refuse the deal, even though it ended up costing him the $800 or so. If he had taken it and then come back to win, he still would have earned less than second-place money. Was kind of an interesting spot, I thought, given that the tournament really had reached a stage where it had become an all-in-or-fold affair and thus the skill component had been minimized, yet for the third-place player a deal still seemed like a less than attractive option to take.

Not being that well-versed in deal-making -- and perhaps because I’m also somewhat risk-averse, relatively speaking -- I usually watch these deals play out and think it often better to take guaranteed money than chance losing out, although I know there are often various dynamics in play that can make it less favorable or even incorrect to take a deal. Thus did I find it interesting to watch this one and find myself siding with the guy holding out.

What do you think? Would you have held out, too, if you’d been in the third-place player’s position?

(Title, of course, from Frank Zappa’s “The Torture Never Stops.”)

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Blogger Paboo said...

I won't of taken the deal. Risk $800 to get a chance at $4000 or $8000 more.

One double up and I'd ask for a new chip count deal.

7/24/2013 11:04 AM  

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