Prominent poker tournament director Matt Savage has announced the creation of a new tourney format that will be introduced in March during a World Poker Tour series at Thunder Valley near Sacramento. Dubbed the “Savage Average,” the new format will feature blinds that increase based on the average number of chips in play, rather than according to a forced schedule featuring blind increases after a specified number of minutes.
According to Savage, blinds will automatically increase in the format whenever the average (mean) number of blinds for the players drops below the 50-big-blinds level. One prominent feature of the format is that it would entirely eliminate the need for tournament clocks, although in discussing the format on social media, Savage did allow that time banks for individual players might be another wrinkle that could be added, to prevent those individual players’ stalling from occurring. (Last year, Savage spoke with PokerOrg about his ongoing efforts to minimize tanking in tourneys.)
Savage currently serves as the WPT’s Executive Tour Director and has been among the industry’s foremost innovators. Also known as the founder of the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), Savage also once served as the WSOP’s lead director among numerous other high-profile roles. He’s also been the runner-up on multiple occasions to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, a continuing oversight that will undoubtedly be corrected in a near-future election cycle.
Savage also cited several other advantages the format can offer when posting about the format’s pending introduction on Twitter/X:
Thunder Valley Director of Poker Operations Ben Erwin and another prominent TD, Justin Hammer, will be among those on hand to usher in the new format. The event featuring the avg-BB format will begin on March 17, 2024, and it includes a $570 buy-in and a $50,000 prize-pool guarantee. The event will run during the heart of the WPT Rolling Thunder festival, which begins its 20-day run on March 7.
In response to one critic’s suggestion that the format was a situation in search of a problem, Savage responded, “It’s not for every event, just a one off to see how it goes.” The concept could prove benficial, though, and should it also prove popular with players, look for it to become a recurring event at WPT stops.