Matt Savage introduces new tournament structure concept

WPT Rolling Thunder chip stack

In the Savage Average structure, blind levels increase based on average stack size rather than time. [Image: / World Poker Tour]

Tournament director extraordinaire Matt Savage has unveiled a new no-limit tournament structure to be tested on March 17 at the WPT Rolling Thunder Festival in an event with a $570 buy-in and a $50,000 guarantee.

The average chip stack and not the time to determine when the blind levels rise

The new Savage Average structure uses the average chip stack, not time, to determine when blind levels rise. In this format, the average stack will never fall below 50 big blinds. When the average stack increases high enough – generally in the big blind range of 60 – it reaches a new level with increased blinds.

In an example Savage posted on When the average stack reaches 60,000 – when there are about 83 players left – the level changes and the big blind increases to 1,200. The average stack is again 50,000. The next threshold is an average stack of 80,000 chips, or about 63 players remaining.

Blinds will not be increased during the late registration period.

Savage explained that the advantages of this structure include the elimination of the tournament clock, structures that remain consistent from tournament to tournament, and breaks at set times without having to wait for a level to end. Floor managers also need to be more involved in monitoring when levels need to be raised and chips need to be colored.

As Savage pointed out, the March 17 event is just a “one-off event to see how it goes.” If it doesn’t work, it’s back to the drawing board. If it’s a success, the poker world might see more of the Savage Average in the future.


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