word type: poker slang
- The format that guides the play of a poker tournament. The primary aspects of tournament structure are: Length of the blind levels, the numerical escalation of blind levels, and the amount of starting chips.
The most noticeable development in the evolution of tournament structures is the increase in the number of chips that players begin with. Some venues, such as the Borgata, now offer starting stacks of 5x the buyin or more. Standard starting stacks are usually 2-3x the buyin.
The WSOP structures used to be strictly chip for chip (you receive 1500 chips for a $1500 buyin tournament), but in recent years the change was made to double chips, and for the 2009 WSOP, players will begin the tournament with a stack equal to three times the buyin (4500 chips for a $1500 buyin).
People who are known for having a strong opinion or understanding of tournament structures include:
- Alan Goehring
- Steve Brecher
- Todd Terry
Although the increase in starting chips has been the most noticeable change in tournament structures--and a very crowd-pleasing one at that--it is generally considered that the length of time given per level has a greater effect on the playability of a tournament (or what we say makes for a "good structure.")