How does RP rebalance the tables in MTT and is it fair?

It seems re-balancing is a random gamble from my limited experience. Should it be a random gamble or should the system prioritise player selection more fairly?

How does RP re-balance the tables in MTT and is it fair?
How do LIVE, “real poker” MTTs get re-balanced?

This is a discussion. I personally rarely play MTTs and have no interest in making suggestions and offering feedback to bring about change regarding this topic. Re-balancing is obviously essential to maintaining “balanced” tables in MTTs. This ensures a fairer system, right?

I’ll personally answer the second part (and is it fair?) by saying NO, poker isn’t fair short term. Any decent player knows short term luck is highly influential to results, unavoidable and unbeatable. That said could the system be fairer and should it be altered and improved? I would presume the system operates very similarly to every other site and also to LIVE or “real poker” MTTs. I find it funny that players like to compare free poker to LIVE "real poker like chalk & cheese.

I rarely play MTTs, and I’m creating this post based on my very limited recent experience playing 2 different MTT - so here it is . I played a MTT for over 52mins without getting re-balanced or pushed to a new table. I was happy obviously and did very well in this tournament, but in a different MTT I was pushed around like a rag doll, 3 times in less than 12 mins. Is that fair and acceptable? I think I was very luck to play over 52mins on the same table and unlucky to get get pushed 3 times and play 4 different tables. Still I don’t feel it had a significant impact on results. Not really the point anyway, nor do short term results determine fairness.

You could easily argue that re-balancing is simply an additional aspect of the random element to playing poker.

Personally I think if I’m sitting at a table for over 30mins in a MTT I should be enlisted as the “man/woman” to join a new table & keep the balance when needed. Also if I have already served and been moved to a new table I should be last on the enlistment list.


It seems re-balancing is a random gamble from my limited experience. Should it be a random gamble or should the system prioritise more fairly?

MrReplay explained it all in this post in Oct '15

This is going to a rather long winded response, and should really be in our help section, but anyway here goes…

There are two simple rules that we check every time a player is eliminated from a tournament:

REMOVE TABLE - Remove a table if it’s possible (and redistribute the players amongst the remaining tables)

REBALANCE PLAYERS - Don’t ever allow the number of players on two tables to differ by 2+ players (move players amongst the tables to ‘rebalance’ them)


SCENARIO: 9 seat tourney with 19 players, seated: 7,6,6. One player gets eliminated, now seated: 7,6,5. That leaves 18 players which fit in two 9 seat tables, so we remove one of the tables.

Which table to remove?

The tables with less players, so we have less balances.

Who to move and where?

Move all the players from closed tables to available seats on other tables, always respecting the ideal distribution. There is a scenario where in addition to closing some tables we also have to move players from unclosed tables, this is also to achieve the ideal distribution every time, using a priority system that matches PLAYERS with SEATS (i.e.: 10 seats, 0 = best, 9 = worst).

Based on the last hand played on the removed table, the Big Blind player is given highest priority (0 - best seat), then each seat anti-clockwise from that seat is given the next priority down (1, 2, 3, etc) until the last seat, left of the BB, which is the ‘worst seat’ (first to act) has been assigned a priority. ALWAYS based on seated position.

Finally we match the highest priority players with the highest priority seats, each in turn, until the lowest priority player is seated. Of course there may well be more empty seats than players, which will result in the lowest priority seat(s) not being filled.

Caveat: in a scenario where we need to close a table and balance another, all occupied seats from the closed table will have higher priority than those single balances.


SCENARIO: 9 seat tourney with 26 players, seated: 9,9,8. One player gets eliminated, now seated: 9,9,7. That leaves 25 players, so we can’t remove a table. Instead we must ‘rebalance’ the tables, so that there is only a difference of 1 player (max) between the tables. Hence, a player is moved from a table with 9 players, to a table with 7 players, now seated: 9,8,8.

When does the rebalance occur?

Whenever a hand ends, we check to see if we have the ideal distribution. Players are then flagged as standing in one table and sitting in another, no players stand in the middle of a hand where they are playing.

Which table to move a player from?

All tables where the number of participants is greater than the ideal.

Which player to move?

Choose the N worst seats (ie. seated left of the Big Blind player) from all tables where the number of participants is greater than the ideal. Even if the player has been moved already, he/she’ll be moved again.

Basically at the end of each hand in a tournament we try to make an ideal distribution of the participants that are still playing through the numbers of tables that are necessary for number of players based on the number of seats.


If a bust-out occurs during a hand, and that table must be rebalanced after, the current priority is considered, not the priority from the future hand, which could cause a seat other than the worst to be moved.

That’s it, simple! :wink:

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