Ever since Party, PokerRoom and SunPoker pulled out of the US market, the player pools have gotten so large at the remaining US sites (Stars, UB, FTP and AP) that variance has gone through the roof for small stakes US tourney players. Most tourneys below $100 buyin get at least 500 participants and most have over 800. The nightly $3 rebuy gets over 2,500 entrants. Crazy.
The problem is the more players, the higher the variance. Even very good players that might make the final table in 5-7% of the small field tourneys (less than 300 players), will only see the final table of these large field tourneys in about 1-2% of the tourneys they enter. That is incredibly frustrating.
You really only have two choices to reduce this variance; 1) Go up in buy in to the $50, $100 and $150 buy-in tourneys, which have much smaller entry pools (100-300 players), or 2) stick to the "max" entry tourneys like the Stars 180 man SNGs and the nightly 360 max tourneys.
Option 1 only makes sense if your bankroll can sustain tourney variance at these higher buyin levels.
I am opting for Option 2 and will be sticking to the small field "max" entry tourneys. It is just too frustrating to play great throughout the beginning and middle of these large field tourneys and then get nailed by a bad beat or coinflip late in the tourney.
Great example tonight. I played the $3 rebuy on Stars. I played well and went deep. Over 2500 players started and 504 made the money. However, except for the top 36 spots, the money was really immaterial. Well with about 150 players, I had a decent stack and lost half of it when my KK lost to AJ -- ugly. I did not want to be all in but had to call an all in reraise with KK.
Then I went out 128th when my AQ lost to AT. What an utter waste of time. Played for about 6 hours and won $38.
I am sticking to the 180 SNGs and 360 max tourneys. They take about 3.5 to 4 hours and I make the FT in about 5-7% of them that I play.
No more lottery tourneys for me!!