The other day as Cardgrrl and I were talking about the WSOP Main Event, and things like how long one had to play before hitting the money, she asked me whether it would be possible to just fold every hand and last long enough to survive the bubble.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
My initial impulse was no. First, if there were a reasonable chance of it working, surely somebody would have tried it already and we likely would have heard of it. Second, there must surely be cases in which somebody registers, but then doesn't show up to play for some reason, and they get blinded off gradually. Again, if a chair empty from the start of the tournament had made the money, I think every poker news media outlet would jump on such a silly story.
But I couldn't stop wondering. So let's try to work it out. The structure sheet is here. Last year the money bubble burst on Day 4, and I think it's safe to assume that that will be the case again this year. I'm going to give this sucker maximal chance to make it, and assume that the dead stack gets a really slow-moving table, dealing out only 20 hands per hour. Maybe the person deploying this strategy irritates the bejeezus out of his tablemates by taking forever to muck every time it's his turn, getting the clock called on him every orbit, just to maximize his chance of squeaking into the cash. I'm also assuming ten-handed play, so he has to post two sets of blinds every hour. One starts with 30,000 in chips.
After level 1, he will have spent 300 in blinds, and be down to 29,700.
Level 2 will cost him 600 in blinds, and he'll be down to 29,100.
Level 3 will cost him 900 in blinds, and he'll be down to 28,200.
Level 4 will cost him 900 in blinds plus 500 in antes, and he'll be down to 26,800.
Level 5 will cost him 1200 in blinds plus 1000 in antes, and he'll be down to 24,600. So he'll definitely survive through the end of Day 1.
Level 6 will cost him 1500 in blinds plus 1000 in antes, and he'll be down to 22,100.
Level 7 will cost him 1800 in blinds plus 1500 in antes, and he'll be down to 18,800.
Level 8 will cost him 2400 in blinds plus 2000 in antes, and he'll be down to 14,400.
Level 9 will cost him 3000 in blinds plus 2000 in antes, and he'll be down to 9400.
Level 10 will cost him 3600 in blinds plus 4000 in antes, and he'll be down to 1800 at the end of Day 2.
Day 3 starts with Level 11, ante of 200 and blinds of 800/1600, so he won't even survive the first orbit unless he gets lucky when forced to be all in.
In other words, no, it isn't possible to just fold, fold, fold and last through the money bubble. Not even close. In case you ever wondered, now you know.