Cash Game How do I explain going south or ratholing to my home-game players? (2 Viewers)

Joined
Jun 17, 2023
Messages
141
Reaction score
93
Location
Atlanta, GA
Heyo, I’ve been running/dealing casual low-stakes home games. Last week, someone was up $100, and then they lost it all lol. When we were packing everything up, he asked, “could we just cash out some of our chips — keep the rest on the table?”
Unfortunately, I said yeah even though i’ve never heard of this idea.
After a quick google search, I was overwhelmed by all the critical bashing of “going south”. Now I know it’s bad and banned in casinos. How do I explain this to my new player who is expecting cashing out some chips to be okay? I want to give a better explanation that simply, “it’s banned in casinos, so we shouldn’t do it here.”
 
Last edited:
Just let them know hey I was wrong when I answered, whatever you're gambling with stays on the table. If he wants he can leave with his winnings and be done, but he can't just take some and hide it. Don't be embarrassed about being wrong, you're just beginning as a host, it happens. Explanation wise, just pose it as the money being on the table staying on the table.

If he's a good friend you can be honest with him and tell him to tighten up if he's got a big win, just fold more hands. It's not great for the game but if it keeps him happy and playing, oh well. Long as he's not making it obvious (cutting out his original buyin and pushing it away from his stack lol) it should be completely fine.
 
Just let them know hey I was wrong when I answered, whatever you're gambling with stays on the table. If he wants he can leave with his winnings and be done, but he can't just take some and hide it. Don't be embarrassed about being wrong, you're just beginning as a host, it happens. Explanation wise, just pose it as the money being on the table staying on the table.

If he's a good friend you can be honest with him and tell him to tighten up if he's got a big win, just fold more hands. It's not great for the game but if it keeps him happy and playing, oh well. Long as he's not making it obvious (cutting out his original buyin and pushing it away from his stack lol) it should be completely fine.
Yeah we are all good friends at the table! I don’t think think it will be a big deal either. I just want a decent explanation that outlines the reasoning behind my stance
 
This is no different than teaching a young child why it's good etiquette to not chew with their mouth open. They don't know any better and it seems harmless, so just let them know it is frowned upon and explain exactly why. You can also add that it is your responsibility as a good host to not allow said practice, and further, recommend that people should announce an orbit or two or set time before they are going to leave.

This same sentiment applies to the introduction or use of common home game rules. Explain the practice and reasoning for it, and remind if or when necessary.
 
I played in a game recently where ratholing was not only allowed, it was "required" when the host ran out of chips in the bank. I left my cash on the table and tried to make a raise using the cash and was told that wasn't allowed.
Yeah, had the same....except the host had a bunch of chips. Just dice chips, he had another 80x greens which he was using for $5s. No idea. Players bought their chips off me and I kept some of the cash tucked under my stack for most of the night but doubt it would play. Think it was his way of capping the game, some very deep pockets at that game.
 
It's a tough one to explain. In extreme cases, you could, in theory change the amount of chips in play on every hand. Lets say you had $50 in your stack (on a $50 buy-in), and you get dealt Aces. You raise, everyone folds, and you win the minimum. Maybe the next hand, you feel like you won't get dealt a good hand, and take $30 of the table just to be safe. You were right, and you lose. The next hand, you return your chips and have more, and you could continue doing this every hand.

Basically the rule just states that once chips are put in play, they are not allowed to be removed from the table unless the player(s) is/are cashing out with the expectation that they will not be returning. It protects the other players investment into the game. If you are into the game for 3 buy-ins, but every player keeps removing every chip from the game over their initial investment, the odds that you will be able to recoup any losses is significantly reduced. I understand that the player that just won the pot is trying to protect their investment/win .. but that pretty much screws the player(s) that just lost the chips.

It's never happened in my game, as players know better. Actually, at my game, its the opposite. Always trying to get more and more chips onto the table.

Mark
 
When we played cash with friends all the games were usually limit so in pocket or on table didn't matter. No such thing as all in. Either you get the cash out of your pocket to call, raise max or fold. A few times years back got out of hand before implementing limit and we'd have guns, 4 wheelers etc in the pot.
 
If people in your group are afraid to play bigger pots, you could also introduce something like a 100bb cap per player per hand. It protects to lose all winnings in one hand, yet the chips stay on the table.
 
Welcome!
I offer you a different point of view - allow them to do a partial cash out, aka let them go south.

You see, 'ratholing' wasn't a rule to not screw over other players at table. It came about as control for the casino. It is now so ingrained into culture everyone says NO, but they don't actually know why, or the impact on the game.

1706113039909.png


Here is another discussion on the topic.

While I will argue that there is a place for this in poker culture, I wouldn't actually allow it at my game unless the majority was okay with it. I would also likely put in some sort of minimum limit, if you have more than 200 bb or Max buy-in, you can take off 50% of the difference in stack and the min 200 bb. So if its a 1/1 and you have 400 you can pull off 100.

There are other ways to achieve a similar result. Playing PLH (Pot Limit Holdem) would prevent the dumb mechanics of playing NLH in smaller stakes where there are less skilled players or the idgiaf players. It allows for less bluffing and focuses on better calls/raises/folds. What I find most dumb is the starting hand EV diff in holdem, its why its so boring to play, I said play but really its a wait for top starting hands and try to trap game, or try to bad bead someone with 2 random cards from a limp and hit the nuts on the flop. Other games are about making decisions based on dynamics of the game, this is more rewarding and enjoyable at least to me. (My argument here is to pick a better / more fun game, and you won't have people worried about going south at least as much)

Another way is to limit the buy in and not have a match or 1/2 stack option. Explain to your players they should at least have 3 buy-ins and with a cap, it effectively functions the same as going south in the long run.

If a player is limited to a max buy-in, then they can't get stacked for all of the winnings by someone constantly re-buy shove. Which is how it accomplished the same function. If you have players over allocating a bank roll you might also reiterate that the game is focused on entertainment and is by design soft to help newer players.

to be more direct and answer the OP - Partial cash outs are called 'going south or ratholing' its considered extremely rude because 99% of the population that plays poker is ignorant to the reason the rule was in place and now the dogma prevents anyone from being flexable in this way. However, there are other things we can do that will help players be winning players. For starters, we don't take a rake - you're welcome' ;)
 
Last edited:
Welcome!
I offer you a different point of view - allow them to do a partial cash out, aka let them go south.

You see, 'ratholing' wasn't a rule to not screw over other players at table. It came about as control for the casino. It is now so ingrained into culture everyone says NO, but they don't actually know why, or the impact on the game.

View attachment 1261038

Here is another discussion on the topic.

While I will argue that there is a place for this in poker culture, I wouldn't actually allow it at my game unless the majority was okay with it. I would also likely put in some sort of minimum limit, if you have more than 200 bb or Max buy-in, you can take off 50% of the difference in stack and the min 200 bb. So if its a 1/1 and you have 400 you can pull off 100.

There are other ways to achieve a similar result. Playing PLH (Pot Limit Holdem) would prevent the dumb mechanics of playing NLH in smaller stakes where there are less skilled players or the idgiaf players. It allows for less bluffing and focuses on better calls/raises/folds. What I find most dumb is the starting hand EV diff in holdem, its why its so boring to play, I said play but really its a wait for top starting hands and try to trap game, or try to bad bead someone with 2 random cards from a limp and hit the nuts on the flop. Other games are about making decisions based on dynamics of the game, this is more rewarding and enjoyable at least to me. (My argument here is to pick a better / more fun game, and you won't have people worried about going south at least as much)

Another way is to limit the buy in and not have a match or 1/2 stack option. Explain to your players they should at least have 3 buy-ins and with a cap, it effectively functions the same as going south in the long run.

If a player is limited to a max buy-in, then they can't get stacked for all of the winnings by someone constantly re-buy shove. Which is how it accomplished the same function. If you have players over allocating a bank roll you might also reiterate that the game is focused on entertainment and is by design soft to help newer players.

to be more direct and answer the OP - Partial cash outs are called 'going south or ratholing' its considered extremely rude because 99% of the population that plays poker is ignorant to the reason the rule was in place and now the dogma prevents anyone from being flexable in this way. However, there are other things we can do that will help players be winning players. For starters, we don't take a rake - you're welcome' ;)
This is a very insightful read! Thank you.
 
Welcome!
I offer you a different point of view - allow them to do a partial cash out, aka let them go south.

You see, 'ratholing' wasn't a rule to not screw over other players at table. It came about as control for the casino. It is now so ingrained into culture everyone says NO, but they don't actually know why, or the impact on the game.

View attachment 1261038

Here is another discussion on the topic.

While I will argue that there is a place for this in poker culture, I wouldn't actually allow it at my game unless the majority was okay with it. I would also likely put in some sort of minimum limit, if you have more than 200 bb or Max buy-in, you can take off 50% of the difference in stack and the min 200 bb. So if its a 1/1 and you have 400 you can pull off 100.

There are other ways to achieve a similar result. Playing PLH (Pot Limit Holdem) would prevent the dumb mechanics of playing NLH in smaller stakes where there are less skilled players or the idgiaf players. It allows for less bluffing and focuses on better calls/raises/folds. What I find most dumb is the starting hand EV diff in holdem, its why its so boring to play, I said play but really its a wait for top starting hands and try to trap game, or try to bad bead someone with 2 random cards from a limp and hit the nuts on the flop. Other games are about making decisions based on dynamics of the game, this is more rewarding and enjoyable at least to me. (My argument here is to pick a better / more fun game, and you won't have people worried about going south at least as much)

Another way is to limit the buy in and not have a match or 1/2 stack option. Explain to your players they should at least have 3 buy-ins and with a cap, it effectively functions the same as going south in the long run.

If a player is limited to a max buy-in, then they can't get stacked for all of the winnings by someone constantly re-buy shove. Which is how it accomplished the same function. If you have players over allocating a bank roll you might also reiterate that the game is focused on entertainment and is by design soft to help newer players.

to be more direct and answer the OP - Partial cash outs are called 'going south or ratholing' its considered extremely rude because 99% of the population that plays poker is ignorant to the reason the rule was in place and now the dogma prevents anyone from being flexable in this way. However, there are other things we can do that will help players be winning players. For starters, we don't take a rake - you're welcome' ;)

WHATEVER! Are we playing, or not? How long on those espressos?
 
I am pro-ratholing between hands as a way to let players manage their risk to their comfort. I play with a home game for over ten years where it’s the norm and it’s fine. You can think of it as playing with a ~100 bb total bet cap which makes for a friendlier and more action game.
 
Bet what you can afford to lose. if you can't then fold. Side pots are BS in cash games anyways. We only play side pots in tournaments.
 
People in my games always wanna rebuy off the big stack for some reason. I'm not sure how many times I've tried to explain that big stack bullying doesn't exist in cash poker, but they still don't believe me.
 
For me it's not about bullying, it's about how I can't win what I can't put in. If big stack has 3x what I have then I would like to match his stack incase we get it all in.
 
For me it's not about bullying, it's about how I can't win what I can't put in. If big stack has 3x what I have then I would like to match his stack incase we get it all in.
exactly. If you feel like risking big stack money pull it out and call or fold. Calling part of a person's bet is half assed.
 
If big stack has 3x what I have then I would like to match his stack incase we get it all in.
So this is exactly what I'm talking about, this is why people want to take money off the table. This is also why I have a capped buy in, so no one can just Martingale winner.

What is Martingale?
The Martingale system is a betting strategy based on recovering your losses. The idea is that with every losing roulette spin, you double your wager. In theory, this means that if you eventually win again, you’ll recover any previous losses plus gain a small profit.
 
I can't stop everyone. Last time I had a 2 table cash game, players started buying from each other. They only see the short term personal benefit and don't realize how that can hurt them later put someone all in. But with smaller games, when players buy from each other they are clear about leaving the cash on the table, so it plays. This group is pretty rowdy so they won't like the rules to be enforced 100%. As the bank, I will only cash out 100% of their stack. They can buy back in after 30 minutes or so with a smaller stack. Can't argue that one.
 
Last edited:
You see, 'ratholing' wasn't a rule to not screw over other players at table. It came about as control for the casino. It is now so ingrained into culture everyone says NO, but they don't actually know why, or the impact on the game.

View attachment 1261038

Where is this quote from?

Frankly I find it hard to believe that going south was OK before that.

Might have to dig into some old Doyle Brunson stories. I feel like he had some about players getting in deep sh!t for ratholing in Texas private games.
 
Where is this quote from?
its a book called 'cardrooms everything bad and how to make them better an analysis of those areas where poker rooms need improvement'

It talks about why poker doesn't thrive in all casinos, and how to get new players involved in the game

Might have to dig into some old Doyle Brunson stories.
Titanic Thompson stories are better :) - There are a few different books on Titanic, I believe Brunson attended his funeral, and was witness to Titanic prop betting his way into free hotel rooms. Brunson has a few things to say about Titanic.

Alvin Clarence Thomas (November 30, 1893 – May 19, 1974) was an American gambler, golfer, and hustler, who killed five men but was never charged with a crime, better known as Titanic Thompson.

Also he was married 5 times, and all the brides were in their teens on their wedding days. Two of the men he killed meant to rob him after a poker game.
 
Last edited:
I have no idea what the provenance of the term or rule is, but it seems to me like it's the same reason people get so upset about 'hit and runs'. Once players have lost money to someone, they feel like they ought to have the chance to win it back. Obviously you can't ban hit and runs because people should be free to get up and leave whenever they want, but you can tell them they can't go south.

I understand the logic, but it can be very obnoxious behavior sometimes. I won a decent sized pot off another player at a card room with a flush over set, and he spent the next hour bitching every time I folded pre that I'm such a nit (sorry I'm not playing J2o buddy), how he's the only one who came here to play poker, how's he going to win any money if no one else wants to play hands, yadda yadda. To be honest, I wish I'd racked up immediately after the hand, people who whine that much deserve it.

Anyways, there's no hard and fast reason it needs to be a rule. For your home game, if everyone is okay with it you can totally allow it. If I wanted to allow going south, I'd say they can only go down to the maximum buy in, or maybe whatever the next largest stack has.
 
Bet what you can afford to lose. if you can't then fold. Side pots are BS in cash games anyways. We only play side pots in tournaments.
How does that work? Player one goes all in, then players 2 and 3 just call the $5? If player 2 knows he has a weak hand, he knows that he is risking only $5 to see the outcome?
 
if Player 1 bet $100 and you only have $5 in chips left you have no choice but fold or pull the other $95 out of your wallet to cover. No side pot $5 crap. Either call the whole amount or fold and go home when your money is gone.
 
Oh hell no. I’m never playing that way. Completely changes the game. If it works for you guys that’s great but wow.
It's even across the board. Have a barn burner hand and want to raise what's in your wallet go for it but don't be mad when someone calls gets lucky and beats you. It happens.
 
Whoa, there, you've seen me play, you know I'm not chasing my losses, but, I do like having as much as the big stack in case we do get in a hand where I'm nutted and can get it all in, I would like to maximize my potential.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account and join our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Back
Top Bottom