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Colouring Up

Discussion in 'Poker Chip Advice' started by 4ceps, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. 4ceps

    4ceps Well-Known Member

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    INTRODUCTION
    Imagine you're playing a 20-player tournament and your chip stack starts off with 1000 chips, broken down like this:

    T5 x 20, T25 x 16 and T100 x 5

    So for your T1000 you actually get 41 physical chips.

    Now fast forward to heads up action between you and your opponent. You are even in chips and the blinds are 400 and 800. Look at your chip stack! Your stack is half the chips, valued at T10,000 and you physically have 410 chips.

    How are you going to handle 200 chips of T5 and 160 T25 chips? That's ten stacks of T5 and 8 stacks of T25. How are you physically going to push those chips into the pot? Can you imagine, God forbid, splashing all those chips into the pot? What about winning all those chips and then having to stack them all?

    It's time for a chip colour up! (Or colour up, for short)

    WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?
    A chip colour up is a procedure that removes chips that have become obsolete due to the blinds structure. It is also done to introduce new higher denomination chips into play once the antes and blinds warrant them.

    You may ask, "Why would you make that extra effort to colour up?" Why not just play with the same chips that you started with?

    It is not unusual in a large tournament to have stack values in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands. Now can you imagine having a stack worth T150000, but T5000 is in T5 denominations? That's one thousand T5 chips or 50 stacks! Try and move those chips into the pot. Or even worse, how many racks are you going to need when you are moved to another table?

    Colouring up will replace those smaller chips with higher denomination chips, maintaining your stack's value. It reduces the number of chips you physically have to play with, making them not so unwieldy.

    Another purpose of colouring up is to make sure that no one bets an odd amount, like 3515, when the blinds are 500 and 1000. The smallest increment you can bet would be the value of the smallest chip in play. In the case when the blinds are 500 and 1000, the smallest chip is most likely the T100, so the bet would have to be either 3500 or 3600.

    WHEN DO YOU DO IT?
    At what blind level would you colour up the smallest chip? This is a product of the blind schedule. If a schedule is planned with regular colour ups in mind, the points where you need to colour up will become self-evident.

    In the early stages, the blinds will escalate in small steps; the big blinds may increase in increments of 10 chips, 20 chips, or even 40 chips. But as the tournament progresses, the amount of the blinds become bigger and relatively speaking, the step increases in the big blind also become bigger, in the ranges of 25, 50, 100 or more. In the last stages of a big tournament (that is, with a large starting field), blinds may be in the thousands, with big blinds increasing in the ranges of 100s, 500s and 1000s.

    At some point in the blind schedule, the blind sizes and increments become big enough that, when planned properly, lower denomination chips will not be needed anymore. It is at that time, or shortly after, that a colour up is done.

    Here is a technique to determine which at which levels you can colour up. It may seem tedious, but with practice you will be able to glance at a structure and know exactly when a colour up can be done.

    1. Look at the blind structure, including antes in a table format. Then add a column at the right, with the heading "Largest chip". Here's an example:

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD>
    Level​
    </TD><TD>
    Ante​
    </TD><TD>
    SB​
    </TD><TD>
    BB​
    </TD><TD>
    Largest Chip​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    1​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    2​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    30​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    3​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD>
    40​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    4​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    30​
    </TD><TD>
    60​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    5​
    </TD><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    50​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    6​
    </TD><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    75​
    </TD><TD>
    150​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    7​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    8​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD><TD>
    150​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    9​
    </TD><TD>
    50​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD>
    400​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    75​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD>
    600​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    11​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    12​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    700​
    </TD><TD>
    1400​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    13​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    14​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD>
    1500​
    </TD><TD>
    3000​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD>
    4000​
    </TD><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    2. Now look at each blind level and determine the chip with highest denomination in your distribution that can be used to make up the ante, small blind and big blind.

    On level 2, where the small blind is 15 and big blind is 30, we cannot use the T25, T100 nor T500. So the only chip that can make up those bets is T5. Place a 5 in the "Biggest Chip" column. On level 7 (ante 25, small blind 100, big blind 200) we can also use T5, but the higher denomination T25 works too. However, the higher denominations cannot work since the ante is only 25. When all the levels are worked out, this is what you get, assuming standard denominations of T5, T25, T100 & T500:

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD>
    Level​
    </TD><TD>
    Ante​
    </TD><TD>
    SB​
    </TD><TD>
    BB​
    </TD><TD>
    Largest Chip​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    1​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    2​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    30​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    3​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD>
    40​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    4​
    </TD><TD>
    -​
    </TD><TD>
    30​
    </TD><TD>
    60​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    5​
    </TD><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    50​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    6​
    </TD><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    75​
    </TD><TD>
    150​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    7​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    8​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD><TD>
    150​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    9​
    </TD><TD>
    50​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD>
    400​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    75​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD>
    600​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    11​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    12​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD><TD>
    700​
    </TD><TD>
    1400​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    13​
    </TD><TD>
    200​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    14​
    </TD><TD>
    300​
    </TD><TD>
    1500​
    </TD><TD>
    3000​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD>
    4000​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    3. Finally, take the latest level that each denomination is still needed. The end of that level is when that chip can be coloured up. In our example, T5 can be coloured up at the end of level 6, T25 at the end of level 10 and T100 at the end of level 14.

    Designing a Blind Schedule
    It can be a nightmare if the schedule is not planned properly. Here is an attempt at a blind schedule without antes, one that doesn't work so well for colour ups:

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD>
    Level​
    </TD><TD>
    SB​
    </TD><TD>
    BB​
    </TD><TD>
    Biggest Chip​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    1​
    </TD><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    2​
    </TD><TD>
    20​
    </TD><TD>
    40​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    3​
    </TD><TD>
    30​
    </TD><TD>
    60​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    4​
    </TD><TD>
    45​
    </TD><TD>
    90​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    5​
    </TD><TD>
    60​
    </TD><TD>
    120​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    6​
    </TD><TD>
    80​
    </TD><TD>
    160​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    7​
    </TD><TD>
    120​
    </TD><TD>
    240​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    8​
    </TD><TD>
    180​
    </TD><TD>
    360​
    </TD><TD>
    5​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    9​
    </TD><TD>
    250​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    10​
    </TD><TD>
    350​
    </TD><TD>
    700​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    11​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD>
    500​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    12​
    </TD><TD>
    750​
    </TD><TD>
    1500​
    </TD><TD>
    25​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    13​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    14​
    </TD><TD>
    1400​
    </TD><TD>
    2800​
    </TD><TD>
    100​
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>
    15​
    </TD><TD>
    2000​
    </TD><TD>
    4000​
    </TD><TD>
    1000​
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    We see that the T5 chips would be needed from levels 1 to 8. A colour up should definitely be done at the end of level 8.

    Why is this schedule not so desirable in terms of colouring up? The first thing is how long the smallest chip stays in play. In this structure, it is in play for 8 rounds. Even in a single table tournament, by level 8, some chip stacks can be quite substantial. To have a huge stack comprised of a lot of small chips leads us back to our original problem in the introduction.

    The other problem is that the blinds were set so that lower denomination chips were kept in play because of unusual blind bets.

    So when designing your own schedule, make sure that first few blinds (and antes, if you are using them) are in multiples of your lowest denominated chips. Then at regular intervals (say every 4-6 levels) make the blind bets be multiples of the next higher chips. Repeat this process until you have a schedule that is appropriately long for you expected number of players.

    HOW DO YOU DO IT?
    With all that background out of the way, how do we do it? First off, you will need some basic arithmetic: you'll need five T5 chips to colour up to one T25 chip, four T25 chips to colour up to one T100 chip, five T100 chips to colour up to one T500 chip...you get the picture.

    Step 1: Colour Up Full Increments
    The first step is to exchange as many lower denomination chips from each player that is a full increment of the next higher chip.

    For example:

    You are colouring up the T5 chips into T25 chips. Player A has 58 chips of T5, totaling 290 in value. The closest increment of 25, without going over is 275. So the Tournament Director would take 55 x T5 from the player in exchange for 11 x T25 or 2 x T100 and 3 x T25 chips. This process is done until all the players have exchanged all their chips in multiples of the 25. What each player is left with, are the odd chips that don't total up to 25. In this example, Player A would have 3 odd T5 chips remaining.

    When all the players at the table have gone thorough that process, there will be some players with odd chips left over since not all players will have exact number of chips for full increments of the higher chip.

    Step 2: Odd Chips
    What do you do with the odd chips? This is the second step of the colouring up process. There are many methods that can be used to colour up the odd chips. I will go through many options, from the simplest to the most complex.

    Option 1: Don't colour up the odd chips
    You can leave the odd chips in play with one rule. The rule is that the odd chips may not be used for any action, unless the player is going all in. This is the simplest method for the odd chips and it preserves the stack values for each player; however, you may run into problems when the player with the odd chip(s) goes all in against a player without any odd chips. If the player with the odd chip(s) wins, they may not be able to give change back to the losing player, especially if there were only 1 or 2 odd chips.

    Option 2: Anyone with odd chip(s) gets the next higher chip
    Anyone who has one or more odd chips gets one chip of the next higher denomination chip. This is very generous option, but players with more odd chips may not like the fact that their 4 odd chips gives them 1 new chip while someone else, who only has 1 odd chip ALSO gets a new chip.

    This option also inflates the value of total chips in play. If the tournament started off with a set amount of chips in play, let's say 10,000, this process could introduce an additional value of 200 chips (if colouring up from T5 to T25) just with the first colour up (hypothetically speaking, if each player at the table had exactly one odd chip left). The second colour up could add another 750. That's a total value of 950 chips added to the original 10,000, almost 10% after 2 colour ups!

    Option 3: Round up
    Any player with half or more of the required odd chips for the next higher chip gets a new chip.

    So when colouring up from T5 to T25, anyone with 3 or more odd chips gets one T25 chip. Anyone with 1 or 2 gets none. To colour up from T25 to T100, anyone with 2 or more odd chips will get one T100 chip. It is possible, theoretically, that each player may be left with only one odd chip at the table. In that situation, all ten players would not get a new chip. This obviously will reduce the total number of chips in play. Again, in our example of 10,000 total starting chips, you may lose 50 chips during the first colour up and 250 during the second one, for a total value of 300 or 3% of the original chips in play.

    Option 4: Chip race
    The chip race is the method most likely to preserve the value of the chips in play. This is probably the most complicated option of all. But once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature. Making the players understand the logic behind it, however, is another matter.

    In the chip race, all the players with odd chips will receive one card for each odd chip they have, dealt from a shuffled deck. Then all the odd chips are collected from the players. The TD will then exchange the chips for the appropriate number of higher denomination chips. Then one new chip will be given to the player with highest card. The next new chip will be given to another player with the next highest card. In this method, only one chip can be given to any individual player. If a player has the 2 or 3 highest cards, only the highest card counts. You can think of it this way: a player may use only 1 card, no matter how many they received, to exchange for a chip.

    For the chip race, the first card is dealt to the player in Seat 1. Seat 1 is usually predetermined at the beginning of the tournament. In an oval table with a dedicated dealer along one of the long sides, Seat 1 is the first seat to the left of the dealer. At a self-dealt table, seat 1 is usually marked as such for the purpose of seating players at the beginning of the tournament. That seat will be the first one to receive a card. Another option, which may be simpler, is to deal first to the player who would be the next small blind.

    If a player has more than one odd chip, they will receive all of the cards before the next player gets any cards. So if Player A has 3 odd chips, Player A will receive 3 consecutive cards from the deck before Player B receives any.

    The rankings of the cards are used to determine which players receive the new chips. Cards are ranked by their value, where the ace counts as a high card, of course. In the case where 2 or more players receive cards of the same value, the suits will determine the rank.

    Suits are ranked in following order, from highest to lowest: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. An easy way to remember the suit ranks is that they are ranked in reverse alphabetical order. The suit that starts with the later letter in the alphabet ranks higher than a suit that starts with an earlier letter in the alphabet.

    :spade: > :heart: > :diamond: > :club:

    Still More Odd Chips
    In a single table tournament, or a table where no player movements have been made, the total odd chips will always total up to a multiple of the new higher chip. (e.g. A total of 20 odd T5 chips for a value of 100, or four T25 chips. No problems!)

    If you decide on a chip race to get rid of the odd chips and if you have a multi-table tournament with players being moved from table to table, there will be occasions where the total number of odd chips at a table will not equal an increment of the higher chip. (e.g. A player was moved to the table at the last blind level; now there are 18 odd T5 chips for a total value of 90, which is not a multiple of 25.)

    In the latter situation, the TD still deals out cards to the players according to the numbers of odd chips. Then the initial odd chips are collected and taken out in exchange for an equivalent amount of the new higher chips. If there are still odd chips after the first exchange, like in the last example, these chips will be rounded up to one new chip if there is half or more of the required number of chips. So we will only round up to a T25 chip if there is 3 or more T5 chips left.
    So with our last example, the 18 odd chips of T5 would be exchanged for three T25 chips with 3 leftover odd T5 chips. Since 3 chips is half or more than the required amount to round up, they would be exchanged for one additional T25 chip and a total of 4 chips will be raced off.

    No one can be eliminated by a colour up
    There is one thing to consider if using the last 2 options for the odd chips. When racing off or rounding up, a player may not be eliminated from the tournament as a result of not receiving the next chip. If a player is unlucky enough to be on his last two T5 chips and loses out on the chip race, they may not be eliminated. After the race or round up, any player without any chips at all is given one chip of the next higher denomination, before any other chips are awarded.

    INTRODUCING HIGHER DENOMINATION CHIPS
    In a large tournament, sometimes you will need to introduce new denominations that were not previously in play. If you are holding a large tournament, for the same reason why a colour up is necessary, you will need to introduce new denominations. A good guideline would be to ensure there are no less than 2 denominations in play. Ideally you would like 3 denominations for ease and flexibility.

    You may introduce these new chips whenever the big blind hits that amount. So when the blinds are 500 and 1000, you can start introducing the T1000 chip if they are not already in play. This can be done at the same time the obsolete chips are being coloured up. If any player has a stack that warrants giving out the new high denomination chip, do that in addition to or instead of the regular colour up.

    Once these steps are done at each table, you're done!

    TIPS
    Here are some practical tips for colouring up.

    Schedule the breaks to coincide with a colour up if possible. If not possible, delay the colour up or a break so that they can occur at the same time. This will save you from trying to colour up during play time.

    When colouring up the full increments, ask the players to place their chips in stacks that are increments of the next higher denomination (e.g. when colouring up T5, stack them in values of T25; if colouring up T25, stack them in values of T100, etc...). Stacking in standard stacks of 20 chips is even better; any left over chips could then be stacked in full increments. After that, only the odd chips are left. This will make it easier and faster for the TD to evaluate a player's chipstack during the colour up.

    In the last few minutes before a colour up, ask the chip leader at each table to buy up all the small chips from the other players so that they only have odd chips left. This will speed up the colouring up process so that the first step of buying up all the full increments is only done with one player. The only thing left to do is to deal with the odd chips from each player.

    If your tournament is in its last stages, that is, there are only 2 or 3 players left and it's time for a colour up, you may want to decide to skip the colour up in the interest of speeding up the game.

    If you have enough tournament help, you may also want to colour up during play. This could be done by colouring up players who are not in the hand. Another way would be to encourage the players to use the lowest chips to bet close to the colour up and have an organizer colour up the pot before it's awarded to the winning player.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    So, with a little forethought and planning, your colouring up procedure should run smoothly. But, do expect some inquisitive looks and questions from your newer players. Be patient, and explain it to them to ensure that they are not feeling cheated out of chips. Decide on a properly scheduled blind structure. Also decide in advance how you will deal with the odd chips during a colour up.

    Good Luck
     
    #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2007
  2. MixMastaPJ

    MixMastaPJ Faux Clay Nation

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    I feel the chip race is the most underused and under-appreciated step in running a tourney. definitely the right way to do things, especially for numbers' sake
     
    #2
  3. Guma

    Guma Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up! I agree, people are too lazy to learn how to chip race. I race off chips at all of my tournaments and oddly enough after 2 races per tournament and 6 tournaments with mostly the same group, they still do not understand why their pair of 6's didn't get a chip...
     
    #3
  4. ipgyst

    ipgyst Well-Known Member

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    That's a good OP. Should be published somewhere or stickied or something.
     
    #4
  5. imthatguy

    imthatguy Lifetimer/Former Mod
    Lifetime Supporter

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    Excellent write-up Ed. Some people don't understand the art of a colour-up, but very much appreciate it. Well done!

    +rep for you!
     
    #5
  6. Matthew

    Matthew Super Moderator
    Staff Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Ummm - it is published (along with a ton of other articles)

    http://www.chiptalk.net/forum/poker-chip-advice/

    Check out the Reviews and Articles drop downs in the bottom menu bar.
     
    #6
  7. chipNAchair

    chipNAchair Creativity Alliance

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    Very good post 4ceps. All the more info to gather and learn from.:wink:
     
    #7
  8. denizzz

    denizzz Well-Known Member

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    Great post! Thanks for the information, i will use it in my games! for sure!
     
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