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During multi-table tournaments, players are re-assigned to other tables in order to keep minimum number of tables and to have them as balanced as possible. Are there any rules as to which table to break down or which player at a particular table to move ?

In online poker moving players is particularly easy, for obvious reasons. From what I've seen, the players are re-arranged in such a way that the difference between the smallest and largest table is 1 player at most. This seems logical. But it doesn't explain which players to re-assign.

In live play, the re-assignments can get very tricky, especially if it's a large field. Are there any usual tricks that the tournament staff uses to achieve this ? The good thing about live tournaments, though, is that they usually take many more hours; this will help with re-assignments.

PS: I played in a live tournament once where the player who was re-assigned was always the one in the cut-off seat. It's good to have a rule about this to avoid problems about who to move, but I doubt it's standard practice to move the guy in the cut-off.

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3 Answers 3

I don't have much experience in that, but as much as I noticed, In both online and live tournaments, the re-assignment process is according to the betting structure in the table that the players should be assigned to.

for example, If a manager want to re-assign player to another table, and in the new table the player will be the big blind, he will choose the player that should be the big blind in the "old" table (or the one after him).

The managers tries to keep on fairness in this case.

of course there are exceptions, but this is (as much as I know), the general idea.

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Thanks for your answer. Fairness does indeed seem important in these cases, I wouldn't want to play a hand in the big blind and then be moved to a table where I'm again in the big blind. –  Radu Murzea Jun 5 '12 at 11:57

In most live tournaments, tables break according to a preset pattern, so that the tables can be reused for other games. For this reason, experienced players often adjust their playing style based on the table they are seated at. If they are at a table that breaks quickly, they know that they do not have time to build strong reads, and must instead take advantage of other factors. Conversely if they are at a table that will not break for a long time, they may work to establish a particular table image, and to build (and exploit) reads on other players. Online tournaments can follow this rule, but definitely do not have to do so.

There is no set rule for how the seat assignments will occur when a player is moved - it varies from one casino to the next. Very seldom are they in any way random though, especially in live events. Instead, they follow whatever rules the casino deems optimal for gameflow and fairness.

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Its very interesting - Can a player know if the table he currently playing is about to be split (not talking about case of very big tournaments when some tables are placed in a different room due to lack of space)? –  amigal Jun 5 '12 at 14:42
    
Yes, a player can definitely know. I don't recall ever playing a live tournament in which I did not know. It's often clearly stated, but it is not bad form to ask the tournament organizers which tables will break first. –  Jeffrey Blake Jun 5 '12 at 15:57
    
thanks, never asked... –  amigal Jun 5 '12 at 19:53
    
"it varies from from one casino to the next". What about WSOP, WSOPE, WPT, EPT etc. ? I googled it and couldn't find anything... –  Radu Murzea Jun 20 '12 at 15:41
    
It's been a couple of years since I played in any of those. Honestly, I do not recall what method they followed. –  Jeffrey Blake Jun 20 '12 at 19:07

I doubt that there is such a thing as a "standard practice" when it comes to the reseating process.

I too have played in tourneys in which reseated players always take the cutoff seats. This is certainly fair for the players being reseated, but it does have disadvantages:

  • It's not so fair for the current late-position players. Seating new players at the cutoff position erodes the positional advantage of the former late-position players, especially if more than one player is coming in.
  • Mandating a late-position seat for a reseated player can be a hassle, since it may force several existing players to shift positions. This is particularly bothersome if the tables are packed into a confined space, or if there are players in wheelchairs at the table.

I've not seen a tourney that used an absolute fixed order for collapsing tables. In my tourneys, I usually designate the next table to be broken (at my discretion) so players at that table may act appropriately. I also designate a "feature table" (i.e., where the final table is played) that will not be broken during the tourney.

As for reseating players from a broken table, the most common procedure is to simply assign those players to open seats at random using the seating cards or tags that were used to originally seat the tourney. If a player has the misfortune of getting seated at a blind position, they are still responsible for paying the blind; this is an inviolable rule pretty much everywhere. Tournament directors may or may not adjust the seating to prevent such an inequity; however, this should always be at the director's discretion.

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