PokerStars Grand Tour Analysis

CRStals

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I wanted to further my analysis on the thread that ChickenArse started on pokerstars Grand Tour as I too feel there hasn't been enough discussion on this very different and fascinating brand of poker that they recently introduced.

For those unfamiliar with it, basically it's a 100% PKO shootout style MTT where you can buy-in at any level - $1, $2, $5, $12, $25 and $60. You win money for every person you knock-out, and you collect your bounty when it hits $100 - and you win the MTT.

My general strategy for all sprints minus the final one (I'll get into the $60 buy-in later):
- Identify where you are in chips relative to the big stack - people that win and move up may have bigger bounties to start
- Goal is to become chip leader as quick as possible
- Punish stacks 10BB or less on every orbit
- Any two cards do if you can win two bounties
- Expand your range

To date I've played around 55 to 60 Grand Tours, the majority from the $5 level as I believe this is the most profitable level to play from. Other pros such as the OP Poker Team and Croaks who both are grinding this hard, also play from the $5's. Why?

I've noticed that you can expect the three bounties won in a stage to be roughly 30 to 35% of the buy-ins. This obviously is impacted by the purple and gold jerseys that pay out substantially more...but on average if I had to guess I'd say that you can expect the bounties won to be roughly the equivalent to your full buy-in to the level.

So for each buy-in level the bounties to be won are:
$1 - $1.26
$2 - $2.52
$5 - $6.30
$12 - $15.12
$25 - $31.50
$60 - $75.60

So let's say you started at each level and won all three bounties per level. Your net score, exclusive of your own bounty would be:
$1 - $132.30 --> Net of $131.30 over six sprints ($21.88 / sprint)
$2 - $131.04 --> Net of $129.04 over five sprints ($25.81 / sprint)
$5 - $128.52 --> Net of $123.52 over four sprints ($30.88 / sprint)
$12 - $122.22 --> Net of $110.22 over three sprints ($36.74 / sprint)
$25 - $107.10 --> Net of $82.10 over two sprints ($41.05 / sprint)
$60 - $75.60 --> Net of $15.60 over one sprint ($15.60 / sprint)

So obviously playing from the $25's should be the best for profit / hour only having to play 2 sprints but that requires a substantial bankroll to play. The $12 sprints might appear to be the best past that but keep in mind:
- Skill level would be higher at the $12 sprints - harder to get 3 KO's
- You have more KO opportunities starting from the $5 level - more opportunities to hit a jackpot bounty
- More people can afford playing these from the $5's

I would NOT recommend playing from the $1 or $2 level. There is a lot of variance in these games and as you can see your expected profit goes way down per sprint so if you're looking to try it out and get a feel go for it. But with having to win 5 or 6 in a row, your chances of reaching the end go down.

Game play is quite wide - there are some that shove every hand and leave it up to chance. Others play like a normal MTT which is a mistake because blinds go up every 4 hands. Your 20BB stack playing tight will dwindle waiting for premium hands. So in my experience:
- I don't shove or call a shove on hand 1 unless I have a premium hand
- Identify the "MANIACS" and adjust
- Punish those playing tight

As I mentioned above, I believe you need to be chip leader after the first or second orbit. You need to be the one putting the table at risk in these to win boumties. If you are the one at risk, you will be called by wide hands and will lose more than you should because of variance so it's key to get chips early.

You also need to understand the dynamic of this variant. This is an example of what I mean:

I'm first in chips in the BB with 22BB. UTG has 10BB, BTN has 7 BB, and the SB has 12BB. UTG limps, BTN folds and the SB shoves. I have T7d.

I shove here where in a spin n go or typical MTT I'd fold. Why shove?
I''d be left with 10BB back if I lose, and I'll give the UTG odds to call putting their bounty up. Recall I said earlier - if you can get two bounties at risk you call any two cards. I only need to beat one hand to win their bounty, and could win both making this an easy decision. As it turned out, the SB won the hand but I did beat UTG getting their bounty.

The final level does play different - I've played one and did win all three bounties for a massive win but the game play was definitely tighter earlier on due to your own bounty being so lucrative now as it is available to win. Again, you have to chip up and be the one to put pressure on others but you do find shoving doesn't get called as much as the others sprints because of this. You can easily come back from a very short stack because your opponent will be hyper aggressive to win your bounty so keep that in mind. That goes for any buy-in level - you can chip up fast due to the escalating blinds and the bounty over your head.

One other piece of advice - I don't typically play one buy-in to the end. You are allowed to have 6 sprints on the go at once so I tend to play a couple of $5's, get a $12 one on standby and then work to get another one up. Play both and work towards a $25. And I repeat until I have a couple of $60's+ waiting to play one so I always have a bigger race to go if I get hot.

One tour win to my name thus far - how are you doing in the tour and what things about it do you want to know more about??

Good luck!!
 
Tracid

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I'm definitely a GTI racer and enjoying it... I think the format is popular so will be around for a while. LIKE.
 
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kristersb123

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Wow, really nice thread, and I agree that 1,2$ aren't profitable and variance is massive. I was grinding 1$ Grand Tours and couldn't manage to climb really far and most of the time I couldn't get a lot of bounties too, rarely I managed to get 2-3 bounties and players there are going for bounties like really crazy, structure is really fast too so variance is massive. Respect to players who make some good profit at this game.
 
Propane Goat

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I would love to try these out....except there's that pesky thing about being south of the north border :mad::(
 
ADRI7HO

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Wow. This was a fantastic analysis.
Now I learned a lot about the Grand Tour and learned. Thanks.
Once I start on it now I know $ 5 is the right one and I don’t have to step up all the way to $ 60. :)
 
CRStals

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I'm definitely a GTI racer and enjoying it... I think the format is popular so will be around for a while. LIKE.


I hope it is too Tracid, I feel this is beatable which is rare these days for online poker.
 
CRStals

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Wow, really nice thread, and I agree that 1,2$ aren't profitable and variance is massive. I was grinding 1$ Grand Tours and couldn't manage to climb really far and most of the time I couldn't get a lot of bounties too, rarely I managed to get 2-3 bounties and players there are going for bounties like really crazy, structure is really fast too so variance is massive. Respect to players who make some good profit at this game.


As I'm finding out, it's not the level you start at but the level above where you need to make your money and if you're grinding $1 then there just isn't a lot of money for you at the $2 level. You'll get a better idea tomorrow when I post my stats. I'm a big loser at the level I buy-in at which is the $5, but the money made at the $12 makes up for it plus
 
CRStals

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I would love to try these out....except there's that pesky thing about being south of the north border :mad::(


Just means you need to move north to grind it :) When the border opens up that is...
 
CRStals

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Wow. This was a fantastic analysis.
Now I learned a lot about the Grand Tour and learned. Thanks.
Once I start on it now I know $ 5 is the right one and I don’t have to step up all the way to $ 60. :)


Thanks - glad you're enjoying this so far.

You definitely can profit comfortably in this playing the $5 level and never winning a tour...in fact I haven't won that much money at the $25 level despite having 5 wins out of 13 at that buy-in. The majority of my profit is coming from the $12's and I've only won 13 of 38.
 
CRStals

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So as promised here are my stats from June 30th (Stars won't send me tournament summaries earlier than this and PT4 stinks for tracking).

$2 Level
Played: 11
Buy-Ins: $22
1st Place - 4
Winning % - 36.36%
KO's - 11
KO's - $11.33
Profit: -$10.67

$5 Buy-In

Played: 134
Buy-Ins: $650
1st Place - 42
Winning % - 31.34%
KO's - 134
KO's - $423.70
Profit: -$226.30

$12 Buy-In

Played: 42
Buy-Ins: $0
1st Place - 15
Winning % - 35.71%
KO's - 44
KO's - $285.52
Profit: $285.52

$25 Buy-In

Played: 14
Buy-Ins: $0
1st Place - 4
Winning % - 28.57%
KO's - 12
KO's - $97.33
Profit: $97.33

$60 Buy-In

Played: 3
Buy-Ins: $0
1st Place - 1
Winning % - 33.33%
KO's - 6 (Includes my own for winning)
KO's - $294.94
Profit: $294.94

Overall

Played: 204
Buy-Ins: $672
1st Place - 66
Winning % - 32.35%
KO's - 206
KO's - $1112.82
Profit: $440.82
ROI: 165.60%

Now as mentioned I spoke to Nick Walsh, OP Poker Ambassador and a serious grinder of the Grand Tour and we chatted briefly about the tour. He had some awesome points to add:

- At the lower stakes, prioritize winning the stage vs going for the bounties. As noted, you'll see that I'm losing money at the $5 stakes mainly because the bounties are not large. So don't feel pressure to go for the kill, be smart about your place relative to the risk going for them

- He didn't think avoiding the $1 or $2 was a horrible provided you put the volume in. The hourly win rate will be horrible but these games technically are the most profitable. It ultimately comes down to how much you're playing to make it work from the $2 stakes. Most won't have the stomach to grind from the $1 or $2 but your exposure to bounties - and multipliers goes up.

- Skill level is only slightly higher he feels as you go up in levels, primarily because of the number of people buying in directly, and the pace of the game

- He feels chipping up early is key, not only to go for bounties but to avoid bleeding chips as the blind level is fast. But don't be reckless about it.

So I'm currently sitting with 2 runs at the $60, 2 at the $25 and 1 at the $12 so I'm hoping to complete another grand tour this week.

How is everyone else doing? Who else has nabbed a tour?
 
CRStals

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Ok a quick update on my stats:

Won my 2nd tour yesterday! I'm 2 for 5 now in the final sprint!

Overall I'm keeping pace with winning 30% of my sprints overall but interestingly enough that percentage goes up with buy-in so I hope that's a trend that continues.

It looks like I'm getting one $60 shot with every 38-39 sprint starts and some of those were at the $2 level which are harder to accomplish so that also is interesting when you consider that to get to the final stage you beat 63 other people (if everyone started at the $5).

My KO to sprint number did dip a bit, I'm now averaging 0.96 KO's / sprint but again I'm getting more bounties at the higher buy-ins than the $5's so that also is a positive sign.

I'm curious for those that have played from the $2's - are you finding similar numbers to me at the $5's?
 

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PsychoVas

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Being a sucker for challenges, I thought these are really fun. After reading this thread I see that they are profitable for some good players too. I don't have much time to play lately, due to my day job (I hope you all missed me in CC games), let alone study, but I think I'll give it a try when things cool down a little.
Great thread!
 
CRStals

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Being a sucker for challenges, I thought these are really fun. After reading this thread I see that they are profitable for some good players too. I don't have much time to play lately, due to my day job (I hope you all missed me in CC games), let alone study, but I think I'll give it a try when things cool down a little.
Great thread!
I think you should and the beauty of this is you don't need long to play - a sprint can take 5 mins but typically less and you can restart after winning later so it really does fit anyone's schedule
 
ChickenArise

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...PT4 stinks for tracking)....

As an aside, can you turn of PT4 or pause collection of data when playing these high variance short handed tournaments? If not I would think playing these would screw up your data and make analyzing your game impossible as it would be skewed with useless data. I am looking into getting either PT4 or HM and will likely get the one I can turn off or pause data collection if there is a difference.

I am curious, why did you choose to start a new thread?
 
CRStals

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As an aside, can you turn of PT4 or pause collection of data when playing these high variance short handed tournaments? If not I would think playing these would screw up your data and make analyzing your game impossible as it would be skewed with useless data. I am looking into getting either PT4 or HM and will likely get the one I can turn off or pause data collection if there is a difference.

I am curious, why did you choose to start a new thread?


The data definitely doesn't read properly in PT4 so I've resorted to tracking manually. I actually find PT4 for MTT's with tickets or 0 buy-ins is very manual and not accurate so I tend to do my own tracking.

I started a new thread for two reasons:
- I wanted a place to post my own stats and update more often and didn't want to overtake your thread
- More threads and discussion on this the better to get the word out on these games.

You have a great thread going and I didn't want to overtake it...
 
CRStals

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Update on how things are going:

- Captured my 3rd tour yesterday. It was a fight, and I only captured one bounty but being the last one it was the one that counted.
- My path to the 3rd one was not as smooth as the first two as I had a harder time getting out of the 5's. My win rate dropped to 26.5% - however my win rate in the higher sprints seemed to go up so I am encouraged overall
- My stats at the $5 are down but I'm still liking that I'm getting HU more often than not. I did note that the average KO went down here - probably because we haven't hit any big KO's and the one gold jersey I have brought it up artifically
- Maintaining one KO / sprint at the $25 and $60 should make for a tidy profit if that can hold. My KO rate at the $12's dipped slightly but we are still looking good there
- I still have 2 $60's in the bank, 3 $25's in the bank (1 each are for the stake I'm running right now) and a $12 so here's hoping that we can turn one of those into my 4th sprint.
- I did start playing these from the $12's but found I didn't play as well so I've reverted back to the $5's and will stay there for now.

Keep pedaling and going for the bounties!
 

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ChickenArise

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The data definitely doesn't read properly in PT4 so I've resorted to tracking manually. I actually find PT4 for MTT's with tickets or 0 buy-ins is very manual and not accurate so I tend to do my own tracking.

I started a new thread for two reasons:
- I wanted a place to post my own stats and update more often and didn't want to overtake your thread
- More threads and discussion on this the better to get the word out on these games.

You have a great thread going and I didn't want to overtake it...

Cool, thanks for your candor. I thought my thread was dying on the vine and could use some help. I want to get PT or HM but want to make sure I get the right one. If I could not exclude these games from my data in one, it would make my decision easy and I would buy the other.
 
CRStals

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Cool, thanks for your candor. I thought my thread was dying on the vine and could use some help. I want to get PT or HM but want to make sure I get the right one. If I could not exclude these games from my data in one, it would make my decision easy and I would buy the other.


PT4 doesn't track it well so I'd look into HM if I were you - I'm not getting it as I have PT4 with everything else I play but up to you.

Wanted to update my stats in the GT:
- I'm getting to more $25 and $60 than I should be so far but my rate at winning $5's has come down so I'm hoping that changes to keep the $12 and $25 win rates up
- I was almost even on my 3rd win - I had a big downswing in the $5's which dropped my rate. Hoping that I've plugged a few holes with that one
- I still have 2 $60's in the bank and 2 $25's to play in case you're looking at my math, those are taken into account
 

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CRStals

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So it's been a while since I've updated my stats so here they are after yesterday. Couple of things that jump out, knowing that the sample size is small. Realistically I need 2500 sprints to get a better gauge across all levels which will take a few weeks to get.

I'm not happy that my $5 sprint win rate has gone down but my win rate above $5 has maintained to date so that's encouraging. Being 4 for 12 in the final sprint is helping my bottom line as well. Being significantly ahead of winning $12's (Rate of 9.38 $5 sprints per $12 win) is awesome though.

I need to win more KO's above the $5's and I'm noticing that chasing bounties in the $5's is not worth risking the sprint itself, but above the $5's it is a lot more lucrative.

Note I'm tracking all of this manually - how are you tracking your progress?
 

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Great Thread

What a great thread!

However, after reading it I thought I would grind my way from the $5 until I had six $25 games ready to go - took a while but got there.

Got HU in 4
- Two of them I had a 3:1 lead and lost two flips in a row.
- Two of them I was even in chips HU and lost flip

Other two I was chip leader and did the CALL ANY TWO strategy here when two players were all in I had covered - had complete junk both times and didn't win a single bounty. (9,4s one hand and had 7,3o in the other) Down to about 5bb in both and out shortly after.

Not sure about that strategy - I just found the whole thing highly infuriating after grinding for hours to get the five $25 games ready and then to get HU in four and stack off in two.

Grrrr

Would love to know what others thing about the CALL ANY TWO strategy.

J
 
CRStals

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What a great thread!

However, after reading it I thought I would grind my way from the $5 until I had six $25 games ready to go - took a while but got there.

Got HU in 4
- Two of them I had a 3:1 lead and lost two flips in a row.
- Two of them I was even in chips HU and lost flip

Other two I was chip leader and did the CALL ANY TWO strategy here when two players were all in I had covered - had complete junk both times and didn't win a single bounty. (9,4s one hand and had 7,3o in the other) Down to about 5bb in both and out shortly after.

Not sure about that strategy - I just found the whole thing highly infuriating after grinding for hours to get the five $25 games ready and then to get HU in four and stack off in two.

Grrrr

Would love to know what others thing about the CALL ANY TWO strategy.

J
Thanks for following along and impressive runs for you so far. How many sprints have you started in total and how many $60's have you got to overall?

As far as any two, I did back off on this on a later post that you may have missed. Going for two bounties with any two within some reason...better to prioritize winning the sprint over the bounties but at the $60 level those are big bounties...
But your bpunty to win is bigger yet (usually) so prioritize the win vs the KO unless you can win two. Any two is too wide but I'd be fine calling 75c, 22, A5o, etc
 
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