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Mixed-max Tournaments – The Pivot Point of Heads Up Play

by Ben Yu |  Published: Jun 24, 2015

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The invention of mixed-max tournaments spawned an interesting format testing players in full-ring, short-handed, and heads-up play normally experienced only at final tables. A typical mix-max tournament starts nine-handed, moves to six and/or four-handed play before culminating in a series of heads up matches. These elimination matches typically begin when the four, eight, 16, or 32 players left are seeded into a bracket based on how many chips they have. This confers an enormous advantage to the chip leaders, because they are paired against shortstacks. All players who advance are rewarded with the same pay jumps, so being seeded higher in the field makes them a bigger favorite to win those earnings. Normally, the adage is, “every additional chip you earn in a tournament is worth less than the previous one,” but before the mixed-max format, the opposite can be true. At pivotal junctures, some chips are worth significantly more ...


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