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Blind structure refers to how many chips players start with relative to the blinds and to how quickly the blinds and antes increase. Amateurs looking to get the most play for their money should prefer tournaments that start with a lot of chips and raise the blinds slowly. Those who expect to be outclassed might as well play shallow structures where the skill edge held by better players is minimized.
Professionals need to consider what kind of structure will play to their strengths and what will be best for their hourly rates. Ring game pros may benefit from deeper stacks similar to those found in cash games, whereas tournament experts may find they make the best decisions when stacks are shallow, as they navigate these late-game situations much more frequently than their opponents.
Opportunity cost and hourly rate are also important factors for professionals. Even though deeper stacks allow for more skillful play and higher ROI, this may not be enough to compensate for the fact that they make the tournament last longer. A professional might earn more per hour in a shallow tournament than he would with a slightly higher ROI in a tournament that took much longer to finish. Similarly, online professionals can more effectively multi-table tournaments with shallow structures, where many of their decisions will be binary choices between moving all-in or folding rather than complex strategies played out over multiple streets.