I like to play poker, and also like to keep track of how well/badly im doing. I play 2 different variations of the same game: a 5 person table and a 10 person table. in the 5 table game the top two players get paid, and in the 10 person game the top three get paid. other than this they are identical games.

My question is this. I want to come up with a universal figure for my finishing position. for example if i come 1st in a game i get a better figure than in a game where i finish 4th. Sounds easy, eh?! i thought that, and thought just a simple fraction with a lower number being better than a higher number. This would work if i only played in games with the same amount of players in it. An example of this problem is if i finish 2nd on a 5-person table (and win some money) this is classed as the same performance as finishing 4th on a 10-person table (not in the money)! This is obviously wrong, but i dont really know where to go from here.

Divide the total number of people finishing below you by the total number of other players. So if you finish second in a five person game and fourth in a ten person game, your overall score is (3 + 6)/(4 +9) = 9/13.

Where:
R=finishing rank for the table
T= # of players at the table (either 5 or 10)
This would mean that your universal position for a 1/5 and a 1/10 finish would be weighted the same(not sure if you want that), and a 2/5 and 3/10 would be the same as well.

I suggest that while the two different formats are played by the same rules, they actually require different skill sets; you are better off tracking them separately.

Most likely you will find that you do significantly better at one format than the other; use that knowledge to either choose to play your better game exclusively, or to help you figure out what you are doing wrong in your weaker game if you want to improve your overall poker ability.

Note that a ten handed tournament eventually becomes a five handed tournament (although blinds / antes and relative stack sizes will differ) and therefore requires both full-table and short-handed skills.