Catch 22 of SnGs Only

Hi Warlock,

To start off with it does not help by discussing SnGs and MTTs in the same email thread. Their issues are not the same.

I will quickly get rid of Casino play likewise. In the Casino they know that 95% of their customers are one time only players and interested in winning chips at the SnGs which are given to Win. Place and Show. They do not care about Points or Leaderboards.

In Replay Poker it knows that 90% of their customers are daily players and interested in winning chips AND also accumulating Points on the Leaderboards. My guess is ten percent don’t care about the Leaderboards.

One way of winning chips is to come in first, second, or third. The amounts won are calculated by some tried and true simple mathematics. The other way to win chips is to consistently come in the top five positions. If you come in fourth or fifth, you don’t win chips, your goal, but you do win Points. The amount of points in the first five positions are calculated, supposedly, by a higher order of some tried and true not so simple mathematics.

At one time this was the way it worked. But then players who could play 200 game per month did play 200 games per month and they would win chips and score more chips with the highest amount of chips. It became pretty obvious that there needed to be an adjustment. What was then introduced was an algorithm that fundamentally made playing more than the allotted games per month a dance with the devil. It is referred to as walking the plank and I do not know one player who ever added to his or her score after the set amount of games were played. In essence a math was used to discourage people from playing. My presumption is that the code could not be written to just not permit people to play. Instead this god awful rule exists.

Over time strategies evolved and in came what is called the Fold to the Gold method. Here is how it works:

1st, the player wants to get to 5th place, that position where you start to achieve points. So their strategy is not to have their AA busted out by trip 2s. They play super tight.

The 2nd goal is to “come in the money” and win Third Place chips. This evolves a whole new strategy and in this phase of the game if the bad players are still in, they loosen up, over bet, and win or lose.

Of course the 3rd goal is to win first place.

So for most of the game the style of play has little to do with winning chips; it is all about winning points and only when there are four players, that is a minority of the players, are finally free to fight for chips.

This is all nice and good. But suddenly it is the last week of the month and EVERYTHING that the top players do has noting to do with winning chips and everything to do with WINNING Points. Why, because if the monthly Leaderboard is a sixty game tournament, each of the top three players may be forced to play game 61 and NOBODY wants to play game 61 except the second player.

There is still another catch! Catch 22. If you play game 61 and you come in 5th place, you don’t win points, you lose a few points; your points for the first time are deducted. The other truth about Catch 22 is that even when you win on the 61st game you don’t get the usual 18,000 points, you get half or less.

There have been a few months where the first place player after 60 games has come in second or third. Catch 22 has to go.


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Hey Scratch - thanks for starting a thread on this. Probably will result in a lot of good discussion though I was only pointing out something that seemed to be a simple tweak to the formulas, not a total overhaul. Let me try to address 1 of the points you made above here:

I think you have that inside out and by a larger margin than 90/10. I went back and looked at previous leaderboards for low, medium and high and the numbers tell a different story. Lets use Medium as the example, but the case is clearly shown across all the boards in all the months. Last month, 2,168 players played at least 1 Medium SnG. Judging from the posted leaderboard results for the top 50 players, only between 25 and 30 players played most/all of the 90 games that qualify for the leaderboard. A similar result is seen in every previous month that I’ve looked at for this board and for the other 2.

So, if we assume that the people interested in the leaderboards play enough games to make the leaderboards, then the percentage of people playing a Medium SnG in any month who are competing for leaderboard spots is under 2%. Therefore, ~98% of all players who play a Medium SnG in any month are not playing for leaderboard spots. Harder to tell with the Low board but if 7-8 thousand players play at least 1 low SnG a month, it looks like less than 1% are competing for leaderboard points.

Correct me if I’m wrong but this looks to be the case in every single leaderboard across every month available for viewing. I know the High board is a strange beast because so few games actually run but in the last month, only 13 players of 421 even played half of the 60-games available to be averaged. All of this tells me that the Leaderboard competitors are a tiny fraction of total SnG players, across all boards and for as long back as I’ve been able to look.

I’m going to leave the rest for another post because these things get long. Since I am a lot newer here than you, I may be totally missing something. If that is the case, then of course I would have to rethink some of the suggestions I’ve made. If I am correct about this though, then the games have been highly stylized because of a competition involving about 2% of the playing population (though who probably account for a large percentage of total games played).

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Its not ( SnG Only ), the regional MTT work the same way, and , for the most part, there is the same strategy for the MTT leaderboards in general.

Another catch ??? what was #1 ???
And incorrect, you do get full points for SnG #61 ( in your example )

Pretty sure you don’t get full points for game 61, but I was wrong once before.

This all sounds like deja vu from when I first started playing here.


From the descriptions of how points are calculated, a player does get the full point value of every game, above or below the threshold set by the board. Up to the threshold, the points are simply added up. After the threshold, the points are added up and then divided by the total games played.

So, for the 1st 90 games in medium, you just take the total points won and that’s all there is to it. For game 91, you add the total points won but then divide this sum by 91 to get a new average and multiply that average by 90 to normalize it. This way you can change your average up or down but you don’t simply get additional points for added volume of play above the threshold number.

Great battle for 1st place in Feb '17 between satchypaul and abe23987. It was so close that each kept playing additional games to try and outscore the other one by a fraction. Satchy wound up winning with an 8,095 point average over 123 games to abe’s 8,046 average over 124 games. Both added to their averages each successive game played over 120. Good stuff

The medium stake leaderboard sums up the tourney points earned in your first 90 SnG Tournaments during the month. After 90 tourneys we take your average score across ALL qualifying tourneys and multiply it by 90, which means after 90 tourneys your overall score can go down as well as up! Qualifying tourneys for this leaderboard feature a buy-in between 5,001 and 50,000 chips (inclusive).

Each monthly leaderboard starts on the first day of the month at 00:00 ET and ends on the last day of the month at 23:59 ET.

Tournament points are calculated with the formula below:

(1,000 × (√Runners)/√(Finishing Position))×(1+log(Buy-in))

There is no modifier in the formula for 90+x games …
Lets take this example…
90 played … 900,000 pts earned…
next SnG played, player earns 20,000 pts…
The players total will be … 909,890 … ( not 920,000 )
The calculation is as follows … (( 900,000 + 20,000 ) / 91 ) * 90 …
But yes you do get the full 20,000 points for that 91st SnG …
See how that works now ???

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I agree. It has nothing to do with how many players played; it has everything to do with who won chips. Only the top 18 players win chips. Now look again at the results and what you will learn is that almost 16 players have played all the games in the past 18 months. This is self evident, because near the end of the month people realize they aren’t going to win a thing. Please revisit Medium for the past 18 months and see:
Month Number Completed 90 Games

In Lo there are many more players of 18 games or more.

In Hi, which can’t compete with Medium or Lo there are less players that complete games. But between low, medium and high there may be 10,000 players every month and that isn’t 2%


Ok , Guess I am confused because I have played a 91st game to move me from 2nd to 1st and didn’t get full points…


ok , now I get it .

True, also Badonkidonk lost to SatchyPaul on the last day of the month when he walked the plank three times.


This makes no sense to me. You are arguing that 90% of the 2000+ players start the month with the intention of competing but give up at some point? Again, the numbers don’t bear that out. People just outside the bonus line have averages higher than those who won bonus chips. These are likely good players who are scoring lots of points and have no interest in the leaderboards at all. If they cared, they would play another few games a month and win bonus chips.

I’m sorry but the data does not support your theory as far as I can see. In fact, I would be willing to wager that 75%+ of people who have played an SnG have no idea a leaderboard exists or how they would compete on one even if they knew about it. Many of the names on the leaderboards are likely there incidentally, not from directly competing.

There are SnG regulars for sure, Because you compete for points, you notice others who do as well. I see many of the same players over and over again when I play too. This is observation bias though, not hard data. We notice the players we see all the time and don’t pay much attention to the ones who come and go. Now, because this core group competes for points, they tend to play more total games than anyone else. However, the numbers clearly show that this group is tiny as compared to the total population playing these games monthly.

Maybe I’m thick but this is what I see here.

I have to agree with you there.

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In Lo, if you play game 121, you could lose points.

In Medium, if you play game 91, you could lose points.

In High, if you play game 61, you can lose points.



Here is a dirty little secret that applies to both SnG & MTT…
Lets take " SnG Low " leaderboard … 5k and below entry fee …
If you take 1st place, the following is the t-pts for a 9 person SnG vs a 6 person SnG

1k - (9) 12000 … (6) 9797
2k - (9) 12903 … (6) 10535
3k - (9) 13431 … (6) 10966
4k - (9) 13806 … (6) 11272
5k - (9) 14096 … (6) 11510

Now I ask you Scratch, should the player who dominates 6-max, have a built in disadvantage vs a player that does better @ 9 ppl tables ???
Or should the player who buys in for 1k have a disadvantage vs the player who pays 5k… Aren’t they all " Low " SnGs ???

Then mix-match… 9797 vs 14096 … both for winning one " Low SnG "…

Yes, and so on and so forth; the more players you beat the more you should win.



Scroll back Scratch… I did the damn math for you, and I’m NOT wrong !!!

Please sir, my words: “In Replay Poker it knows that 90% of their customers are daily players and interested in winning chips AND also accumulating Points on the Leaderboards.”

You attribute to me much more than I said.

Peace brother.


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Scratch, you said “you don’t get full points” … I said “you do get full points”…
Now… if you are right in the following equation the 20,000 would be less than that , as you said… but it is still the FULL 20,000 as I said … I did not say that your new total would be 20,000 more that it was @ 90 games… do you see the distinction ???

The calculation is as follows … (( 900,000 + 20,000 ) / 91 ) * 90 …
New player total after 91 games 909,890 … not 920,000

I’m lost Ron. I think we may be talking past each other here.

I took what you wrote to mean that you (and Replay) think 90% of SnG players care about leaderboards while 10% do not. My point was to refute that theory. If I misunderstood the theory you were putting forth, I am sorry.

From your chart, I read that at most, there are 30 players a month who compete for bonus points out of 2000+ in the Medium stakes lobby. That’s 1.5% of players who show up to play at least 1 game a month in that specific lobby. I don’t know how we get from 1.5% who seem to be competing to the 90% number I thought you suggested do.

Not trying to be confrontational, only to understand and develop ideas together.

Oh Lord, Sassy dear, I am awful at math. My late physicist friend, Gottfried Mayer Kress, explained enough about complexity and chaos that Game Theory Optimal hasn’t a chance against the chaos of ten hours of poker.