Future skill edge – FSE incentives

Future skill edge

A player has a future skill edge (FSE), in a poker tournament, if on average he or she will be able to make better decisions than his opponents during the rest of the tournament.

The better you are at implementing a strategy superior to your opponents (on average), the more your future skill edge will be relative to your opponents. Of course it is possible, that in a given tournament it is your opponents (and not you) who have a future skill edge.

If you have a FSE in a tournament, sometimes you will NOT want to take the highest chip EV decision.

When future skill edge is most important

  • The beginning and the end of the tournament is when you should be most thinking about future skill edge.
    • We expect you are entering tournaments where you believe you have a skill edge over the average field – if not, why are you entering the tournament? At UnfairPoker.com we have an full explanation of what makes a tournament soft. The bigger your edge over the field (i.e. the softer the tournament) the more you don’t want to get eliminated unnecessarily early on.
    • The closer you are to the end of the tournament, you can see exactly what you are up against. You can who is left (you may have some knowledge of some of the remaining players), what stacks sizes they have etc. As soon as the final table starts, you know the exact positions of each player (which will not change). On the final table, you should be able to have a great idea of whether you or your opponents have FSE. When there are two or three tables left, whilst there are more unknowns, you should still be able to make some FSE assumptions.
  • When you have a deep stack, and the blinds in the tournament are rising slowly (so your stack will remain deep), FSE is more important than if this wasn’t the case.

When future skill edge is least important

  • In the middle of the tournament, future skill edge is relatively less important (i.e. your focus should be on other incentives). This is true on the bubble, and during the fast eliminations after the bubble.
  • If you are relatively more skilled than your opponents, but currently possess a shallow stack, or the blinds in the tournament are rising fast such that stacks are getting shallower and shallower fast, FSE isn’t as important than if this wasn’t the case (or important at all).

FSE cannot be considered alone

When making a tournament decision where you are considering deviating from chipEV remember to consider ICM, volatility, and future skill edge incentives together. How important each of these incentives are will vary on your stack size, and the current phase of the tournament.