Cash Game Cash game poker leagues? (1 Viewer)

subztance

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Has anyone tried running a cash game poker league?

My group usually plays micro-stakes because some of us are not comfortable with the variance of higher stakes. Unfortunately, micro-stakes are a bit too low for many of us to take the game seriously, so I'd like to find some kind of balance where we can award prizes at the end of a season based on cash game performance. This by itself seems pretty straightforward, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had success/advice with something like this.

Most information I've found about poker leagues revolve around aggregating points through tournaments, with people playing cash games after they've busted out (but the cash games have no impact on the league itself). However, my group is too small (usually between 6-8 people on any given night) for us to quickly fill cash games, so when we play a single table tournament there's usually a bunch of people sitting and waiting for a while.
 

upNdown

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Hmm, that's a new one. I don't know why you'd do it. With cash games, people are instantly rewarded with exactly what they deserve, for their performance. Every night. (Unlike a tournament where, if only the top 3 get paid, but one guy could consistently finish 4th but never gets paid.) Why would you want to give nightly cash winners extras cash or rewards at the end of the season? And remember, when you're tracking the winners, you're also tracking the losers. Reminding a loser of exactly how much he lost every night might just convince him to stop showing up.
 

subztance

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Okay, sounds like this is a bad idea. I guess my real issue is that we're playing well below the stakes necessary for some of our players to take the game seriously (but it's those same players who don't want to raise the stakes).
 

TheDuke

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The above posters raise legitimate concerns about tracking winners and losers at a cash game. But those concerns are usually for stakes that matter, not micro stakes that are too low for people to really care about.

Rather than track exact wins/losses, just award points per night. Ie. 8 points for the biggest winner, 7 to the next, down to 0 for the biggest loser. Something simple given that it seems like your game is skewed more towards the social aspect. Using points will obscure true wins/loses. But not that it really matters for micro stakes.

Awards for top points winner. Prize for worst beat. Also, add some awards for shame - donk that has the most zero scores, etc.
 

grebe

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Common problem for a home game. You need to decide what you want your game to be, then have a talk with your player pool. If you are happy with the micro stakes, talk to the ones that want to bump it up and explain why you are happy with the stakes where they are. If vice versa, you are just going to have to ditch the micro guys, unfortunately.

It's always going to be an issue until you have a group that is happy with what your game is....if you keep it low and you have guys that want to play higher, they are going to start straddling and blind raising. This will piss off the micro stakes guys. Disallow this and the higher stakes guys get bored.

Long term it will work itself out if you define what the game will be early on and stick to it. Your player pool will mold around your stakes. Those that are happy will stick around and bring new players in.....those that are not happy will leave.
 

Highli99

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Tracking cash game results is a bad idea unless your goal is to help donaters identify themselves and leave the game. It's not that donaters are unaware they are losing players, but having results rubbed in their faces is no fun. Those players play because because they have fun or enjoy gambling. They come back because the fun or sweat was better than the loss. When you show them a total they might change their calculus.

Sounds like you need to recruit players more aligned with stakes that suit key players. Best of luck.
 

xdukeluvax

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Why not just do tournaments instead? We do tournament league. I find it a good balance for all income levels because a $20ish buy in and no one loses their house but everyone gets the same stack and if you bust youre out so everyone takes it very seriously and everyone wants to win. No longer becomes all about the money
 

JZPdub

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We do something like this - the goal was to encourage people to show up on a regular basis.

Points are accrued two ways -
1) Showing up - you get 1 point
2) Cash game wins - every $100 dollars you win on a given night equals 1 point (we use fractional points, so if I end up $135 for the night, I get 1.35 points)

The amount of points you have determines your starting stack for an end of the year tournament (there's an upfront payment and money collected throughout the year that goes to the prize pool for the tournament). So if the club in total has 100 points, and I personally have 20, I get 20% of the starting chips for the end of the year tourney.

Works well to incentivize people to show up on a weekly basis, rewards good play, and gives us something to talk about throughout the year.

Happy to share more details if it would be helpful, but we've had a game pretty much every week for the past four years (went online during the pandemic) since we implemented theis.
 

subztance

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But those concerns are usually for stakes that matter, not micro stakes that are too low for people to really care about.
Yea, we have one player who loves to say “eh, it’s only 5 dollars”, and before he calls allins and flips over some kind of draw.
Why not just do tournaments instead? We do tournament league. I find it a good balance for all income levels because a $20ish buy in and no one loses their house but everyone gets the same stack and if you bust youre out so everyone takes it very seriously and everyone wants to win. No longer becomes all about the money
We’ve tried this, because we only have a small number of people it leaves a lot of downtime once you’ve busted out.

We do something like this - the goal was to encourage people to show up on a regular basis.

Points are accrued two ways -
1) Showing up - you get 1 point
2) Cash game wins - every $100 dollars you win on a given night equals 1 point (we use fractional points, so if I end up $135 for the night, I get 1.35 points)

The amount of points you have determines your starting stack for an end of the year tournament (there's an upfront payment and money collected throughout the year that goes to the prize pool for the tournament). So if the club in total has 100 points, and I personally have 20, I get 20% of the starting chips for the end of the year tourney.
I really like this idea! I might try some spin on this :)

As many of the responses to this thread have said, I think long term the solution may just be aligning on higher stakes and those who don’t want to play at those stakes are out. I might also consider hosting multiple nights with different stakes.
 

Eriks

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Tracking cash game results is a bad idea unless your goal is to help donaters identify themselves and leave the game. It's not that donaters are unaware they are losing players, but having results rubbed in their faces is no fun. Those players play because because they have fun or enjoy gambling. They come back because the fun or sweat was better than the loss. When you show them a total they might change their calculus.

Sounds like you need to recruit players more aligned with stakes that suit key players. Best of luck.
I agree with this. The higher the stakes the bigger the issue, sure. But even if someone only loses like 20 bucks each time and doesn’t think it’s a big deal, getting the year’s total summed up to whatever many hundreds of dollars might push them towards wondering wtf they’re doing there.

Gamblers don’t think in terms of the long run, don’t show it to them. They remember that one time when they went on a crazy heater or hit that beautiful 2-outer on the river and got all the money in.
 

SteveEH

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I guess my real issue is that we're playing well below the stakes necessary for some of our players to take the game seriously (but it's those same players who don't want to raise the stakes).

For a sustainable game, it's important to make sure the players are comfortable with how much they're losing. It sounds like you've already had that discussion...

I used to try to convince players to try to "take things seriously" in our micro stakes games. One day when I was playing 3/5 no limit at the commerce casino in LA I had a revelation. A guy sat down and proceeded to go all in and rebuy about 10 times in a row. I didn't try to convince him to play serious...I just waited till I had a decent hand and doubled up.

Accept the fact that these players will never want to play the way you do and adjust your game to win.
 

philhut

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Has anyone tried running a cash game poker league?

My group usually plays micro-stakes because some of us are not comfortable with the variance of higher stakes. Unfortunately, micro-stakes are a bit too low for many of us to take the game seriously, so I'd like to find some kind of balance where we can award prizes at the end of a season based on cash game performance. This by itself seems pretty straightforward, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had success/advice with something like this.

Most information I've found about poker leagues revolve around aggregating points through tournaments, with people playing cash games after they've busted out (but the cash games have no impact on the league itself). However, my group is too small (usually between 6-8 people on any given night) for us to quickly fill cash games, so when we play a single table tournament there's usually a bunch of people sitting and waiting for a while

I'd recommend keeping your information on the fish secret from others....

Also keeping records on financial betting could become evidence should any unfortunate legal circumstances occur at your premises. I'd suggest keeping rankings to tournament play only and in such a way that does not include $...only points or Quatloos
 

JustinInMN

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Yea, we have one player who loves to say “eh, it’s only 5 dollars”, and before he calls allins and flips over some kind of draw.
So what? You shouldn't be policing this. If it's a bad call, the opposition benefits.

We’ve tried this, because we only have a small number of people it leaves a lot of downtime once you’ve busted out.
Yeah, this is a major downside to tournaments. One way to mitigate this is to offer re-entry for a set time period at the start. (Like if you play 90 minutes then a break allow re-entry through the break.)
 

CrazyEddie

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Yea, we have one player who loves to say “eh, it’s only 5 dollars”, and before he calls allins and flips over some kind of draw.
Tournaments are a good solution to this sort of problem because of the top-heavy payout structure. Most people entering a tournament will know they're not going to win anything, and so look at the entrance fee as the price of having an entertaining evening playing poker. But because the payout is top-heavy, the big prize is big enough to be worth playing for, which means even the "ah, who cares, it's only five bucks" types of players still have an incentive to play well because everyone knows that to win the big prize you have to play better, consistently, all night long (plus get lucky a few times).

We’ve tried this [running tournaments], because we only have a small number of people it leaves a lot of downtime once you’ve busted out.
Run a tournament that ends after the bubble instead of playing down to a single winner!

Say you've got six players. Pay spots one through four, and end the tournament as soon as the second person busts out after the rebuy period is over. That way only one person is sitting around waiting for the tournament to end, and he probably doesn't have to wait very long.

When the tournament ends, you can either pay first prize to the chip leader and second to second place, etc, or you can use a mandatory chop (chip chop or ICM chop, see here for details) to more equitably reward players who have accumulated more chips. Once you've paid out the prizes, you could run another tournament, or start a cash game, or you could arrange the tournament structure and schedule so that it ends right about the time you want everyone to go home.
 

doublebooyah85

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I get the purpose and all, but in my experience it might not always be a pleasant surprise for the long time big losers to get the season totals, and maybe not good for the game.
Agree. You don’t want people to see the ROI.

I’d try switching to tournaments. For my lower stakes players we do tournaments. $10-$50 buy ins. Then when they graduate they come to the $1-$2 cash games!
 

CrazyEddie

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Yea, we have one player who loves to say “eh, it’s only 5 dollars”, and before he calls allins and flips over some kind of draw.
So what? You shouldn't be policing this. If it's a bad call, the opposition benefits.
Players in a microstakes game might rather have interesting and competent opponents rather than constantly playing nominally profitable gambles against unmotivated opponents for nickels. I know I would.
 

JustinInMN

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Players in a microstakes game might rather have interesting and competent opponents rather than constantly playing nominally profitable gambles against unmotivated opponents for nickels. I know I would.
This is getting a little close to dictating strategy as a condition of participation for my taste.
 

JustinInMN

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When the tournament ends, you can either pay first prize to the chip leader and second to second place, etc, or you can use a mandatory chop (chip chop or ICM chop, see here for details) to more equitably reward players who have accumulated more chips. Once you've paid out the prizes, you could run another tournament, or start a cash game, or you could arrange the tournament structure and schedule so that it ends right about the time you want everyone to go home.
I've seen this format mentioned a few times on PCF recently. This seems like another good idea.
 

subztance

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Players in a microstakes game might rather have interesting and competent opponents rather than constantly playing nominally profitable gambles against unmotivated opponents for nickels. I know I would.
Yea, I mean this is a group of friends I grew up with, so I wanted to play a challenging game of poker with them while keeping everyone comfortable with the stakes. Not everyone is on the same page though :(
@Seeking Alpha Social Club tracks cash games both for his league and for meet ups! Not sure if he has seen this thread yet,but may have some decent insight given years of operating on such a system.
Wow, I'd love to hear more about this :)
 
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@Seeking Alpha Social Club tracks cash games both for his league and for meet ups! Not sure if he has seen this thread yet,but may have some decent insight given years of operating on such a system.
We did it for 9 or so years up until the pandemic. Pretty easy to do, and people stuck in because they were never out of it just because they missed a few games. Here's what I did:

  • We played every Friday, Labor day weekend through 4pm on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • .50/$1 NLHE
  • Buy in: $20 - $200
  • First $20 cost you $3, which went to the money pool. Every $20 after that cost you $1 to the money pool. So if you buy in for $100, you owe $7 to the prize pool.
  • Prize pool accumulates throughout the season, and pays out the top 4, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%.
  • Points are base on the amount of money you win or lose each night. Buy in for $20 and cash out for $20, you get 0 points. In for $200 and out for $0, you get -200. In for $100 out for $200, you get +100.
  • You are also only entitled to the amount of the prize pool that you actually played in. If you played every Friday, you are entitled to 100%. If you only played periodically, you only get prize pool money from the days you played.
  • The key was to build a spreadsheet to track everything. You will need (1) buy in worksheet. I used check boxes and just ticked every $20 imcrement somebody bought in; (2) scoring spreadsheet that keeps track of end of night totals. This should connect to the other spreasheet so you just input the total each player cashes out for and it automatically deducts the buy ins., and (3) running weekly totals with if/then statements that wil keep a running total for each player based on which days they played and the prize pool they are entitled to.
It sounds complicated, but the key is setting up the spreadsheet properly. At the end of the night I put it upon other players to double check players cashing out. I of course asked players I trust to do the double checking, but not having to mess with that made it easier.

It was a ton of fun and, if I recall correcly, we usually accumulated a few thousand in the prize pool.
 
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he just likes keeping score lol
You ain't wrong about that...LOL!! Top pic is our last season final scores for our cash game tourney, and bottom pic are the winners for the tourneys we run (cash tourney left, WSOP seat on the right).

Now, if I could just be worth a shit at tournament play (right side of the bottom pic), my dumb ass could win a seat at the Main Event.

Screenshot_20220824-132415_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20220824-132432_Chrome.jpg
 

subztance

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We did it for 9 or so years up until the pandemic. Pretty easy to do, and people stuck in because they were never out of it just because they missed a few games. Here's what I did:

  • We played every Friday, Labor day weekend through 4pm on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • .50/$1 NLHE
  • Buy in: $20 - $200
  • First $20 cost you $3, which went to the money pool. Every $20 after that cost you $1 to the money pool. So if you buy in for $100, you owe $7 to the prize pool.
  • Prize pool accumulates throughout the season, and pays out the top 4, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%.
  • Points are base on the amount of money you win or lose each night. Buy in for $20 and cash out for $20, you get 0 points. In for $200 and out for $0, you get -200. In for $100 out for $200, you get +100.
  • You are also only entitled to the amount of the prize pool that you actually played in. If you played every Friday, you are entitled to 100%. If you only played periodically, you only get prize pool money from the days you played.
  • The key was to build a spreadsheet to track everything. You will need (1) buy in worksheet. I used check boxes and just ticked every $20 imcrement somebody bought in; (2) scoring spreadsheet that keeps track of end of night totals. This should connect to the other spreasheet so you just input the total each player cashes out for and it automatically deducts the buy ins., and (3) running weekly totals with if/then statements that wil keep a running total for each player based on which days they played and the prize pool they are entitled to.
It sounds complicated, but the key is setting up the spreadsheet properly. At the end of the night I put it upon other players to double check players cashing out. I of course asked players I trust to do the double checking, but not having to mess with that made it easier.

It was a ton of fun and, if I recall correcly, we usually accumulated a few thousand in the prize pool.
Cool, thanks a lot for sharing this :) This is great!
 

chipchipchip

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I wonder how the “fairness” would stack up if you accumulated points based on how much *profit* a player makes in a given night, and ignoring losses. The idea is to keep the long-term losing players from recognizing how much they’ve lost.

I wonder how the consistent winners would line up against spewy LAGs that might go -$200, -$200, -200, +$500.

Even if it was “unfair” in the initial goal of rewarding long-term winners this might actually incentivize action players and make the game better overall. Especially late in the season if someone knows they need to jump $500 quickly. This could make for juicy games if people take the final prize pool seriously.

My gut says it’s just not with the effort though.
 

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A bunch of us began to play online during Covid for $5 buy in, and we keep track of winnings and loses as we use e-transfer at the end of each month and start at zero the next month. We use an excel spreadsheet program that determines the rack of the online pokerstars table, and adjust the money accordingly. We play cash games, one rebuy allowed, and play for 1.5 hours. Small stakes, no one loses or makes much each month.
We are back to our monthly home cash games $20 buy in for $20.00 in chips ($.25 SM-BB) and play for 4 hours. We don't keep track of winnings or losses, but we all know...
The only incentive we use is that whoever shows the biggest hand of the night get $2.00 more in their starting stack the next time we play.
Everyone has a chance at that incentive.
 
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