Ant - What are M & Q Numbers for Poker Tournaments

M is the most important single number that governs your play toward the end of tournaments. M is the ratio of your stack to the current total of blinds and antes. For example, the blinds are now 1000 and 2000 chips and the antes are 25. Eight players remain on the table. Your stack size is equal 20000 chips. Then

M = 20000 / (1000 + 2000 + 25*8) = 6.25

As your stack (or M) gets lower, other players with better M's will start to steal your blinds and risk losing a pot in order to eliminate you from competition. As your M drops, you play needs to get more aggressive. Term M was suggested by Paul Magriel. There is another number Q which Dan Harrington calls the ‘weak force’. Q is a comparison of your stack to other player's stacks by determining the average number of chips of all players left in the tournament. For example, if you have 20000 chips in your stack and the average player has 5000 chips, your Q = 20000 / 5000 = 4.0

 

Your Wise Strategies Depending on Harrington’s Poker Zones

Knowing your M score helps you by making tournament strategy adjustments based on this score. This is where Dan Harrington’s Poker Zone Theory comes into play. Your ‘M’ level (and the M of your opponents) determines which ‘zone’ you are in and so what your current strategy should be. There are 5 zones in total from the highest to the lowest these are.

 

Level Zone Your wise strategy
1 Green Zone
M > 20
You have many poker tournament strategy options available. Here you can raise, re-raise and still have chips left if you lose a hand.
2 Yellow Zone
10 < M < 20
Loosen up now to stop the blinds eating away at your stack. Small pairs and suited connectors are less desirable now as your implied odds (chance of winning a big pot from a small investments) are lower.
3 Orange Zone
6 < M < 10
Here you have lost the ability to ‘resteal’ and your stack is dwindling, you must now play aggressively to stay alive in the tournament.
4 Red Zone
1 < M < 5
You have lost all flexibility if you play a hand it should be all-in, try to be first into a pot to maximize the chance opponents will fold.
5 Dead Zone
M < 1
Here you are on the tournament critical list – any high cards are good enough for an all-in move, but expect to be called!

Harrington-M-Zones-Inflection-Points

 

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