Yesterday I posed this question: In a poker tournament, would you rather have 20,000 in chips and 20-minute blind levels or 12,000 in chips and 30-minute levels. My guess would have been that it's pretty close - one factor compensates for the other.
Arnold Snyder proposes something he calls the Patience Factor. In his book, The Poker Tournament Formula, he determines the speed of a tournament (using the PF), then suggests strategies on how to play given that information. When a tournament is fast, a good player must take more chances. It's a mistake to wait for good hands. On the other hand, it's a mistake to play too recklessly when the tournament is a slow one.
Here's how Snyder determines a live tournament's speed. He assumes you play about 10 hands per 20 minutes (obviously you have to adjust if automatic shufflers are used, tables are short-handed or playing online). He then sees how long it would take a player to be blinded off if he never played a hand. He then takes that figure (in terms of hours with a decimal) and squares it. The resulting number is the PF.
Tournaments have a PF of 1.49 or less are a total crapshoot. He says they have a skill level of 0. Tournaments with a PF of 1.5 to 2.99 are fast. He says pray for good cards, and assigns this a skill level of 1. There are more numbers (see chart below), but the really good tournaments have a PF of 10.0 and up and have a skill factor of 6.
Using Snyder's method, you would last 3.3 hours in the Saturday tournament with 12K in chips and 30-minutes levels. Squaring it gives it a PF of 10.9 which means it's a superb tournament.
Doing the same thing for the Sunday tournament with 20K in chips and 20-minute levels, a player would last 2.8 hours if he never played a hand. Squaring it gives 7.84. This isn't as good as the Saturday tournament, but is still a pretty good one.