Cash Game Cash Game Played with Friend for 20 Years

GimmieUChips

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I used to play in a small very friendly $20 - $50 max beer-drinking type poker game. Only friends with an occasional new person. Over the years the game got bigger. It went from one table .25/50 NL $50 max buy in to start. Then to 1/2 NL $200 max buy to start. Then to 1/2 buy all you want. We started losing our friends when the game pretty much opened up to a lot more players. The original game was friends that were mostly regular middle-income types. When we started playing for $100 buy-in some of the guys were not as regular as they were in the past. They would play some but would leave when they lost the $100. It was a lot of money for them. Someone had to fill the seats as the game got bigger. So basically I feel like we kicked our friends out to play for higher stakes when we got several big fish in the game. I am talking guys that would lose $1000 to $5000 every time they played. At one point we had a guy that lost $3500 to $10,000 a session. We had 3-5 guys that were "outsiders" playing and running the game stakes up because they lost so much. That is how a 1/2 - $200 buy-in game turns to $200 first buy - $1000 second buy. We were playing a 1/2 game with $12,000 - $25,000 on the table twice a week.

I never changed the way I played. I never changed "my rules of play". I showed up at 6:00 and left between 9 and 10:30. I left when my eyes started to water and I got tired. No matter what, I tried to never play tired. Up or Down, I left the same time as always. Also, I never bought in more than two buy-ins. If I lost $400 in 20 minutes I went home. If I was card dead for two hours, I left. Why push it, we are going to play twice a week. I won when we started playing as friends and I won when the game got bigger and bigger. Then I got accused of winning and leaving by the new fishes. I had been going home at the same time for years. I hated to see our friends "save up" to "play with friends" and lose more money than they could afford - guys from the original game. Our friends. So part of the original bunch basically ran most of our friends off to play with fish they could beat. They can't win shit at any other game. They don't try.

I never played poker for the money. I played for the competition and love of the game. I played to try and get better. Poker is fun. I don't like the fact that our friends had to quit playing the game because of some rich assholes and greedy guys from the original game. Some "our friends" would come to sit and watch the game for hours. That's not the same. How do you get better when your playing guys so bad that you can start pulling in the money before they turn their hands over? These guys are so bad that they hit a flush on a paired board and go all-in. The biggest pot ever in the game was won with a 9 high flush against the bottom full house. The guy with the flush didn't realize he one outed the 9 high Straight Flush! He almost mucked his cards! $18,000 pot in a 1/2 game. lol I did not see the hand. But, there is one guy that is a member of this forum and you guys probably know him well that was there. He told me about it.

So my question is this. Would you guys jeopardize your friendship for money? Or, would you set up one of the two nights aside for a small friendly game so everyone can stay together?
 

UnicornFlash

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Home poker games are about the social aspect for me. I play micro stakes with $5 buy ins with people who have never played before outside of the handful of times at our home games. The three or four of us that have played poker more than the occasional home game purposefully play in a way that allows them to have a good time. No aggression, no really huge bets from the "experienced" players.

I guess it comes down to what you are trying to get out of the game: money or a good time? I would set up a separate night with your regular group of friends at stakes they could afford, and leave the big fish for other nights. I know if I ever get to the point where I am playing a regular 50¢/$1 or higher-stakes NLHE game, I am still going to keep the regular 5¢/10¢ game going. If I wanted to make money, I would remove my friends from the equation, especially if they could not afford it, and go to casinos or local card rooms.
 

Pinesol13

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I have friends that will only play a 10c/20c game. Also have many friends that want to play 25c/50c game. And I have just enough friends that want to play a $1/$2 game to make it worth playing.

There was one time that my $1/$2 game looked like it was not going to happen because of several last minute cancellations, so I asked some friends that only play lower stakes games to play, and I will not do it again. They lost their $200 buy-in and I really felt bad about it.

So to answer your question, no I would never jeopardize friendship for money, but I host multiple games so that I can play with everyone I want to play with.
 

Coyote

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One issue, among friends, is stakes being too low, so every hand becomes a family pot (so, a lottery ticket, not poker).
Another issue is, by raising stakes (blinds) you end up with people who CAN afford to lose that money and are no longer your friends.
If you can strike a middle ground (e.g. at.50/.50 ?), so be it.

You could also have a cap for the session, a maximum amount of BBs a player can table. E.G. no one could table more than 500BBs in a single session at any given stakes.

If not, clearly separate friends from poker acquaintances.
 

chrismurda

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Create a “corporation” a la ‘The Professor, The Banker, & The Suicide King’ with original group of friends for more/bigger bullets at this cash game... split profits.
 

Chawks45

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So my question is this. Would you guys jeopardize your friendship for money? Or, would you set up one of the two nights aside for a small friendly game so everyone can stay together?

Friendship first.

When I hosted pre-COVID, I did two games and I left it to the majority on what they wanted whenever it was time to come together for a game: .25/.50 and 1/2 game. It started out at mostly .25/.50, then eventually more 1/2. Regardless of the stakes, we never tried to take each other's mortgage payments, vehicle payments, kid's college fund, etc. I've noticed during action that some of the better players at the table sometimes held their punches against the weaker players when they could've taken them for a ride. If the guys want all-out war at the table, they know they can get that kind of action at Harrah's KC, Hollywood or Ameristar against mostly strangers (pre-COVID, of course).

That said, I do a 2/5 game once a year for folks in the group wanting the bigger stakes for a home game. It's a small core group of 5-6, rarely fill the table, but it's enjoyable because it happens just once every 12 months or so.
 

Coyote

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Friendship first.

That said, I do a 2/5 game once a year for folks in group wanting the bigger stakes for a home game. It's a small core group of 5-6, rarely fill the table, but it's enjoyable because it happens just once every 12 months or so.
Friendship first: Agreed!

But the yearly 2/5 game is unfair, being mathematically wrong for those who could get unlucky during that session.
It's a very thin slice of variance. If Lady Luck is not with you, you 'll have to wait for next year.
 

Coyote

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Would never play against my friends for anything more than cheeseburger stakes. That’s what casinos are for.
In the country I live in:
-If you are an (even senior) Government official, your salary doesn't allow you to even play the minimum 1/2E stakes (closer to $3/6 in terms of local buying power and pocket feel) in a perfectly legal casino.
Already 1/2 is being played very aggressively, and you 'll often have to put in 20E (10BBs, or $60 to average American pockets) to see a flop; NOT comfortable for Government employees)

-Being a Government official, you can't really legally and safely play anywhere else but in your house.

-Now, sort out the true old friends from the poker buddies or try to combine them. It's a tough job.

The minimum casino stakes here are obviously addressed to wealthy foreigners on vacation, serious local criminals, semi-pros and wanna-be pros.
 

tabletalker7

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Honestly, if you play for competition and not for money, why did you lose the friends in the game in the first place? Sounds like it is time for you to buy a chip set, a table, and open up you home to your friends for a cheap quarter game once a week. And when the "outsiders" show up, run them off.
 

Beakertwang

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My group plays 5¢/10¢, buy-in is $5-20. The most anyone ever loses is $40. As one guy put it, "I'd spend that eating at Applebee's and going to a movie, and I like hanging out and playing poker." Most of my guys wouldn't enjoy risking $100 or more in a single night, so I won't be raising the stakes for that game.

But I have found a few other guys who would be interested in .25/.25 or .25/.50, so I'm hoping to get a second group going. There would only be one or two crossovers from the other group.
 
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UnicornFlash

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My group plays 5¢/10¢, buy-in is $5-20. The most anyone ever loses is $40. As one guy put it, "I'd spend that eating at Applebee's and going to a movie, and I like hanging out an playing poker." Most of my guys wouldn't enjoy risking $100 or more in a single night, so I won't be raising the stakes for that game.

But I have found a few other guys who would be interested in .25/.25 or .25/.50, so I'm hoping to get a second group going. There would only be one or two crossovers from the other group.
This is almost my exact situation.
 

Coyote

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My group plays 5¢/10¢, buy-in is $5-20. The most anyone ever loses is $40. As one guy put it, "I'd spend that eating at Applebee's and going to a movie, and I like hanging out an playing poker." Most of my guys wouldn't enjoy risking $100 or more in a single night, so I won't be raising the stakes for that game.

But I have found a few other guys who would be interested in .25/.25 or .25/.50, so I'm hoping to get a second group going. There would only be one or two crossovers from the other group.
Socially beautiful and most desirable; the question here is, however, is there any hand that doesn't become a family pot? That is a 10c ticket to a lottery?
 

Schmendr1ck

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My home game has been .25/.50 $100 max for a few years now. We've talked once or twice about increasing the stakes, but I like it where it is.

The stakes are high enough that people play competitively, and losing a big pot stings but doesn't draw blood. They're low enough that nobody's missing a bill payment after a bad night, and players will drink, talk smack, and have fun whether they're up or down. At these stakes I can play for stacks without feeling guilty about it.

The sweet spot for every group of friends is a little different. It might be .05/.10 or 1/2, but find it and stay there. Save the higher stakes for serious home games or the casino.
 

MrCatPants

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That's definitely a huge change. I've had a little bit of a change in my game over the years (decade plus) but it's been more about my friends' income levels and skill both rising...but yes, even that has left a few folks behind. That said, we were .25/.25 15 years ago and are .50/.50 today, with adding in PLO every other orbit, so not nearly as drastic.

Definitely would recommend splitting the games somehow. That's turned into something completely different.
 

MrCatPants

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Chris Manzoni

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Once a month for cash, twice a month for tournaments for the past 14 years. Not getting together at all these past few months unfortunately,
 

JMC9389

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My group has run 0.10/0.20 cash for the better part of the past 15 years. We're friends that have been playing together since high school. There's a core group of 5 or 6 of us each time that comes to just about every game, with the 6th and 7th seats usually filled on a rotational basis with people that can only come once in a while. I never have gotten more than 8 in a game pre COVID, and even with resuming games a month ago, we've been 4 or 5 handed each time.

Last month, we had a 0.05/0.10 dealer's choice game. I lowered the blinds because circus games can get a little crazy with betting at times. We played some new games and had a lot of fun.

My game going forward is going to be a cash game monthly, with circus nights 2 or 3 times a year among those monthly cash games.

I try to have tournaments every 6 to 8 weeks. We've played about twice a month pre COVID.

Starting next year January 2021 (COVID willing), I'm going to try and start a tournament league in which we will track places, number of cashes, and come up with a points system based on that. The tournaments will all count the same in terms of league standings, but I'm planning on three deep stack freeze outs per year (no bounties). Rest are going to be standard T10,000 games with rebuys and bounties. May try a progressive bounty game too if there's enough of interest as well.

I usually do $10 buy ins for regular tournaments ($5 to pool and $5 to bounty) which I hope promotes more action when some stacks get low, and will do $20 or $25 for the deep stack freeze outs.

But to answer the OP's question (I got way off tangent, sorry!), it's not worth breaking up a game with friends over trying to take fish money. The best solution is to have two separate games, one with friends keeping the stakes low, and another with the different group of players at higher stakes.
 

allforcharity

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It looks like OP is not the host of the big game, so maybe set up as a table as host for your friends at your original/lower stakes. Once a week, once every two weeks, once a month, whatever. Get the gang back together. Make it your own, make it exclusive. Celebrate it with your own personal chip set.

Keep playing the big game if you want. If rich people who can't play are donating thousands of dollars to you each week, then it's on them. The thing I'd worry about is with that amount of money on the table every week, and lots of people that know about the game, at what point does the risk of robbery become real?
 

AboveTheFelt

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I would decide to run two separate games. You could have your friendly game once a week and your real game once a week. Maybe that way when one of your friends wins in your friendly game they could take a shot in your bigger game. I personally would enjoy both types.
 
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