The goal of defining the blind structure of a poker tournament is to regulate the length of the tournament. You don't want the tournament to end too quickly - or to last too long. Small tournaments (10 players) should last about an hour. Medium sized tournaments (10-25 players) should last 2-3 hours and large tournaments (50 or so players) should last 3+ hours until the very end.
A good rule of thumb is that the big blind should be about 1-2% of the starting stack size at the beginning of a tournament. This means that a tournament with a starting stack of T2,000 should have starting blinds at 10/20 at least and 25/50 at most.
Blind increases are usually 50-100% of the last blind and the blind intervals are usually 20-30 minutes. Near the end of a tournament the big blind should be no larger than 2-4% of the average stack. To most players that seems low but think about this...If the big blind is 5% of the average stack then calling a bet to the river (without ANY raises) means you will lose 30% of your entire stack, which is a lot just for a single, non-raised hand. If you watch the WSOP or the $500 buy-in Pokerstars tourneys, then you will see that the big blinds is usually no more than 2-4% of the average stack when it gets down to the final few players.
My opinion on blind structures is that the majority of blinds schedules are way too high and the tourneys end up being crapshoots at the end. Having the tournament turn into a crapshoot at the end means that luck ends up playing a biggest part than skill at the exact time when the most money is as stake. This has never made sense to me. Most tournament blind structures are set up so that they reward players who play intelligent, patient poker at the beginning of the tournament when there are no prize incentives to do so. Then, at the end of the tournament, when there are huge differences in prizes, players have to give up control of the outcome because they are forced to go all-in on every hand. In tournaments where the blind structure is too aggressive, the tone of tournament tends to play like a chess game in the beginning where players act cerebral - and a craps game at the end, where they are just rolling the dice and hoping they win.(or the dealer for that matter) gets impatient and all the railbirds don't like watching all the folding - they want to see action - even if it means rushing you into making a move you don't want to. It also has to do with the fact that poker rooms ultimately make money by the hour and want the tourneys to finish faster.
Here is a blind schedule for a tournament with starting chip stacks of T2,000 and starting blinds of 10/20.
|Level||Hour||Time||Small Blind||Big Blind|
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HPG ADMIN on March 1, 2013