Flipping Out

Just a few quick thoughts on the new Flipout tournaments debuting this weekend on Full Tilt.

It doesn’t make any difference to US players, since—although people are finally getting their long-held funds—we can’t play on the site at this point. But new formats  get copied elsewhere, so….

The Flipout format is a combination of an elimination shootout and a blind all-in game. Every player at the initial table is all-in every hand until one player emerges as the table winner, then those players go on to play a normal tournament format, having already made the money (or nearly made the money). It’s designed to get you through all the “tedious” early play in the tournament, where you can bust after several hours and still be a long way from the money. For players who want to get to the “action,” it probably sounds pretty good.

From the standpoint of a good tournament player, however, it’s a tradeoff. A decent tournament player makes the money 15-25% of the time. On a 9-player Flipout format round, you’re guaranteed to make the money no more than 11.11% of the time in the long run. So you hit the money between 50% and 75% of what you would normally expect.

The upside might be that because the selection of players making it through the shootout round is random, that better players will go deeper in the money, but in order to counter the reduction in ITM%, there has to be a corresponding increase in money earned. If you’re making the money only 75% as often as you do in regular tournaments, you need to have a 33% increase in profit to make the tradeoff equitable. If you make the money 50% as often, you need to make twice as much.

Asa a hypothetical, say you’re a player who always wins top place in a tournament when you cash, which is 22% of the time. If you continue to win top place in every Flipouot tournament you play, you’re only winning half as much per tournament as you did previously.

The upside may lay in volume. If you can skip most of the time you spend playing tournaments (i.e. the time before the money bubble) you might be able to play enough volume to make up for the reduction in the percentage of cashes, but winning tournament players will need to go deeper in Flipout tournaments than they do otherwise to maintain the same ROI.