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Skill League Scoring Formula

The scoring forumula used in the PokerSchool Online Skill League is intended to measure each player's performance over a sustained period, assessing his or her performance during numerous tournaments.

This large sample size reduces the influence of short-term variance and luck and gives a fairer impression of a player's skill.

Summary of the formula

Each month all players start with a score of 1,500 points. After each tournament played, the new scores for all participating players will be calculated. Points will be added to or subtracted from the player's current score based on the following factors:
  • Finishing position - the better your finish in the tournament, the more points are added to your score
  • Field Strength - if you do well against tough competition, you will earn more points
  • 'In the money' bonus - if you survive beyond 'the bubble', you earn more points
  • 'Final table' bonus - if you finish in the top nine, you earn even more points

Finishing position

The most important factor in determining your score is your overall performance in the Skill League tournaments, specifically how long you last in the events. Of course, you might still get really unlucky and bust early with aces when someone makes a bad call, but there are many tournaments to play and a single stroke of bad luck can be overcome. Try to get as far as possible by practicing the skills you have learned from our lessons.

The points are distributed as follows:
1. Top 6.25% of field.  (For example, if there are 800 players, the top 50.)
Points are distributed in a linear fashion for the top 6.25% (1/16) finishers of every tournament. The difference between two adjacent spots is relatively small and the payouts are "flatter" than in a regular multi-table tournament, which tends to weight the top three places particularly highly.
2. Top 25% to Top 1/16.
The points increase according to a specific logarithm, detailed below.  
3. The bottom 75% 
Points also increase according to a logarithm, but not as steeply as in the middle section

Example: In the very first tournament of the month all players start with 1,500 points. The average field strength is therefore 1,500. Given a field size of 1,150 players the distribution of the points will be as follows: 

Rank Skill Rating Change
1 1636.4 +136.4
2 1615.9 +115.9
3 1605.3 +105.3
50 1559.2 +59.2
150 1522.8 +22.8
300 1503.4 +3.4
500 1496 -4
1150 1484 -16

Field strength

Another factor that determines the points you earn is your starting score compared with the average field strength - ie, the average score of players also in the tournament. Players starting a tournament with a higher score will gain fewer points than a player who started the same tournament with a lower score. Additionally the player with the higher starting score will lose more if they bust out early.

Example: A player finishes 300th in a field of 1,150 players The average score is 1,500. 

Case 1. Ranking of the player is 1,700. His score is 200 points better than the average of the field.
Case 2. Ranking of the player is 1,300. In this case he is 200 points below the average. 

In Case 1 this player will lose 2.6 points. In case 2, he will earn 9.6 points for his result in the tournament. 

'In the money'

This is a simple one. If you finish "in the money", you will receive an additional three points.

You may notice, especially in our Open Skill League tournaments, a difference between the announced payout in the "Tournament Info" and in the tournament lobby.  Here is the explanation:

The "Tournament Info" displays the theoretical payout of the prize pool as a percentage. When the actual prize amount for a place drops below $0.01 the prize is not credited to the player, but instead added to the prize of the tournament winner.

The PokerSchool Skill League points are calculated with the theoretical prize distribution. For example, a player that is theoretically entitled to a prize below $0.01 will receive no actual money award for the tournament, but he will still receive the additional three Skill League points for finishing in the money.

Final Table

Reach the final table receive extra points as follows:
Position Points added
1st +50
2nd +30
3rd +20
4th - 9th +10


The Skill League points payout structure is considerably flatter when compared with a regular MTT prize structure. In most MTTs, paying a cash prize, the player busting first will receive the same as the player who goes out on the bubble: ie, nothing.  The Skill League scoring formula, however, means the difference between these two places is about 40 points.

Also the difference between the first and the tenth placed finishers is smaller than a usual prize structure. The winner will get about 68 per cent more points than place ten. In a regular tournament he will usually receive at least 100 per cent more.

Finally, there is another big difference: for very early bust outs there will be points deducted from your score. This way early gambling will be punished and continuous good results over the month rewarded. And remember, even if you don't do well in the league this month, everyone starts the next month with the same 1,500 points, so it is anyone's game to win.
IF you like math, here is the formula in detail ... (click to open)
    field := size of field
    rank := players finishing position
    field strength:= average of starting scores of all tournament participants
    2ln := Logarithm with the base 2
    New score = [old score] + delta + 4 + ([field strength] - [old score]) / 33
    Formula for delta:
    Top 1/16 finishers: 
    delta = 40+(1/16-(rank/field))*16*40
    Top 25% finishers: 
    delta = (2ln (field/rank)-2)*20
    Bottom 75% finishers: 
    delta = (2ln (field/rank)-2)*10
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