Is Ratholing Something That is Common in Online Home Poker? (1 Viewer)

Do You Support Ratholing in Online Poker?

  • Yes

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • No

    Votes: 41 97.6%

  • Total voters
    42

BearMetal

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My local game has always been people close to me; either long-time friends or local dad's that I've known for years. Cheating, stealing, abusing the rules, etc would have been something I would bet against 1,000,000:1 - in other words, not with these people. Never. Ever.

When COVID hit, I transitioned to online poker via Poker Mavens. Some members just didn't like it and stopped playing. However, some friends-of-friends joined and the club grew organically. Those suggesting new members were "sponsors" for them and agreed to be on the hook for any poor behavior on their part. Which, never happened, because these are all close friends of very close friends.

Except now, we have friends-of-friends-of-friends wanting to join. So, as a trial, I let one of them join. And we already have a problem. The other night, after winning some large hands in NLHE, he left the table and then tried to rejoin it several minutes later. I hypothesized he was trying to rathole (take money off of the table).

For those who don't know about this practice, it's when a player just takes money off the table, but continues to play. So, let's say I bet $100 and get called by 4 players and I win. A $500 pot gets pushed to me. I take $400 and put it in my pocket, and continue to play with my $100. I know that many card rooms have rules against this. Not only does it mean there's less money on the table to rake from, but it other players saw this happening, they'd just leave and the casino would lose action.

So, my theory was correct, and this guy was trying to rathole. He reaches out to me and asks why he was not able to leave the table and then sit back down with less money. For transparency, he bought-in for $40, lost that, bought in another $40, eventually won about $200, and tried to leave/sit-back-down with $40, thereby taking $120 off the table. I explained the concept of ratholing and that my tables have a 90 minute wait period to leave and come back with a lower amount of money.

He kept pushing the issue saying that "he's never heard of that" and "real casinos don't do that" and "is this up for a vote?". My answer was a stern "No" and I basically disregarded any further communication about it.

My question for all of you... am I wrong? Is ratholing something I should allow players to for any logical reason? I can't see it. The mere thought of doing such a thing makes me want to puke.
 

Coyote

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All venues, poker rooms and homes alike, enforce the "one stack per player per session" rule.
This can and must be enforced among socially related people, also online.
But it cannot be practically enforced online, among hundreds of strangers and dozens of tables (ie you can win and then sit in another table, in a huge site).
So, among live people or socially related online people it's ratholing and it's wrong; explain that to your player.
 

upNdown

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You are not wrong.
I can totally see how casual players, even players who have been in a poker room a few times and think they know what they’re doing, don’t realize it’s a rule. But it is, and they need to be educated.
New guy says is this up for a vote? Fuck you, dummy
 

Easylife

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You've explained it pretty clearly, your (virtual) house your rules. Plus the wait period you have put in place of 90 minutes seems reasonable as well.
 

Rieguy

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My question for all of you... am I wrong? Is ratholing something I should allow players to for any logical reason? I can't see it. The mere thought of doing such a thing makes me want to puke.

A genuine person would hear you out and either apologize or state they understand for the future. Anything short of that is grounds to revoke the invite. Your house, your rules.
 

upNdown

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90 minutes seems reasonable as well.
I’d argue that it’s not. It’s different in a casino because they care less about how poker players treat each other or the game, and there are far worse things to them, than somebody wandering around the casino for 90 min with extra cash in their pocket.
But for a home online game, I could see how a 90 minute rule could be a problem. I don’t know if mavens lets you adjust that time period, but if you’re lucky enough to have 5+ hour sessions, 90 minutes is actually a short period of time and could easily be abused.
 

Highli99

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I’d argue that it’s not. It’s different in a casino because they care less about how poker players treat each other or the game, and there are far worse things to them, than somebody wandering around the casino for 90 min with extra cash in their pocket.
But for a home online game, I could see how a 90 minute rule could be a problem. I don’t know if mavens lets you adjust that time period, but if you’re lucky enough to have 5+ hour sessions, 90 minutes is actually a short period of time and could easily be abused.
Totally agree. My online game prohibits it for the duration of each game, which is usually 3 to 6 hours. Hell, since my game settles up weekly I actually wish it lasted all week. Lol.
 

BearMetal

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Thanks PCF Friends! I wanted to make sure I wasn't going crazy. It really is something that I was honestly shocked someone would try to do. In fact, let's say he did it by accident and want to know why it wasn't letting him sit with less. After being told the reason, to continue to argue his point should be grounds for dismissal. First time for everything, right?

I do try to leave some things open for a vote. But taking money off the table seemed like a rule written in stone in blood. When he started arguing that "no casino has rules against this" I started to question my own sanity and reality.

I am sure it's happened by accident before (whether in person or online). But come on, right; taking money off the table is just wrong.
 

BearMetal

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I’d argue that it’s not. It’s different in a casino because they care less about how poker players treat each other or the game, and there are far worse things to them, than somebody wandering around the casino for 90 min with extra cash in their pocket.
But for a home online game, I could see how a 90 minute rule could be a problem. I don’t know if mavens lets you adjust that time period, but if you’re lucky enough to have 5+ hour sessions, 90 minutes is actually a short period of time and could easily be abused.
Yes, Poker Mavens lets me configure this on a per-table basis for any cash game. From no rathole up to 2 years :) ... but, I can certainly increase it. To date, the cash tables on my site are usually used in a 4-5hour session from about 9pm to 2am. So, it's conceivable that someone wins a huge hand at 9:30pm, then leaves for the night (dick) ... and then comes back at 11:15pm to play some more, but has only bought in for $20.

All venues, poker rooms and homes alike, enforce the "one stack per player per session" rule.
If I'm following the one stack / player / session rule, then technically, based on @upNdown's comment above, I should actually adjust this to more than 90 minutes. Probably like 5 hours ... or 12 hours ... ?

@Highli99 - you use 3-6 hours in yours?
 

grebe

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When he started arguing that "no casino has rules against this" I started to question my own sanity and reality.
If he does not know the difference between playing at a card room/casino and playing in a home game....whether online or live...he really should be educated that his line of thinking is not healthy for the game. If he continues to argue and not heed your words, kindly flush him out. There is for sure a learning curve with the nuances of the different games....however if he is not willing to listen, away with him.
 

Colquhoun

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....let's say he did it by accident and want to know why it wasn't letting him sit with less. After being told the reason, to continue to argue his point should be grounds for dismissal. ...
If it was by accident, he wouldn't have argued.
He argued because he knew you caught on to that nonsense.
 

Schmendr1ck

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When he started arguing that "no casino has rules against this"
... he effectively told you that he's either never played in a casino or he's full of it.

EVERY casino and cardroom I've played in has rules against going south.
 

Easylife

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If I read it right, they can come back any time without a time penalty if they put in same amount they left with?
 

TheOffalo

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If I read it right, they can come back any time without a time penalty if they put in same amount they left with?
Yes, it's not a penalty for preventing a player from coming back, just an enforced floor on the min buy-in.

I've heard some casinos "reset" buy-ins if you move up or down in stakes, so there are some variation and potential loopholes that may allow for some from ability to put some money in your pocket. Just mentioning that there's no monolithic rule on this even at casinos; I am against ratholing.
 
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Eloe2000

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I think the best thing to do is to codify your rules and make them available. Write this into the rule sheet. Don’t let incidents like this be a barrier from growing your game if that’s what you desire.
 

Highli99

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Yes, Poker Mavens lets me configure this on a per-table basis for any cash game. From no rathole up to 2 years :) ... but, I can certainly increase it. To date, the cash tables on my site are usually used in a 4-5hour session from about 9pm to 2am. So, it's conceivable that someone wins a huge hand at 9:30pm, then leaves for the night (dick) ... and then comes back at 11:15pm to play some more, but has only bought in for $20.


If I'm following the one stack / player / session rule, then technically, based on @upNdown's comment above, I should actually adjust this to more than 90 minutes. Probably like 5 hours ... or 12 hours ... ?

@Highli99 - you use 3-6 hours in yours?
My game is on pokerrrrr 2. I don’t think there is even a setting it just doesn’t allow ratholing in each hosted game. The only way around it is to have another device / account, but none of our players have ever abused that.

The whole quitting the game and coming back hours later definitely happens. One of our players has been known to leave the game after a bad beat, send me screenshots of the app being deleted, PayPal me their loss, announce retirement from poker, leave the group chat, and then rejoin the table roughly 2 hours later :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: This person is one of my favorite people to play with even though they are a tough opponent.

Makes me smile every time. For the record this person would NEVER rathole nor would any of our players even if the app allowed it.
 

Easylife

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I’d argue that it’s not. It’s different in a casino because they care less about how poker players treat each other or the game, and there are far worse things to them, than somebody wandering around the casino for 90 min with extra cash in their pocket.
But for a home online game, I could see how a 90 minute rule could be a problem. I don’t know if mavens lets you adjust that time period, but if you’re lucky enough to have 5+ hour sessions, 90 minutes is actually a short period of time and could easily be abused.
Just going from the home games I play in. We probably don't take it as seriously as some on here and a lot of its about socialising for us including online so rather people can come back at some point, can see if game is being taken more seriously side too though.
 

Coyote

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If I'm following the one stack / player / session rule, then technically, based on @upNdown's comment above, I should actually adjust this to more than 90 minutes. Probably like 5 hours ... or 12 hours ... ?

@Highli99 - you use 3-6 hours in yours?
I would make it as long as the usual session, if we 're serious about the rule.
 

Schmendr1ck

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I've heard some casinos "reset" buy-ins if you move up or down in stakes, so there are some variation and potential loopholes that may allow for some from ability to put some money in your pocket. Just mentioning that there's no monolithic rule on this even at casinos; I am against ratholing.
Unfortunately you're correct.

I haven't checked recently to see if they changed it, but one of my local rooms had a loophole that was even worse than changing stakes. If your cash table was broken, you took your full stack to the new table. But if you requested a table change (at the same stakes), you had to go down to the max buyin.

People used to do this all the time: win a big pot, get a table change, and pocket the profit.
 

BearMetal

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If it was by accident, he wouldn't have argued.
He argued because he knew you caught on to that nonsense.
Correct. I noticed him doing it. When you take a seat at a table in Poker Mavens, it says "RESERVED" until you have bought in. Technically, you could sit at a table and see the minimum is $200 and then just leave, never putting any chips down. In his case, he left the table, came back, took a seat and when it asked him to put in $200+, he left again ... then came back ... then left again, etc. I thought he might be trying to rathole, but figured maybe it was an honest mistake.

... he effectively told you that he's either never played in a casino or he's full of it.

EVERY casino and cardroom I've played in has rules against going south.
That's what I figured. For him to suggest otherwise was kinda surprising since I know he goes to casinos in AC.

If I read it right, they can come back any time without a time penalty if they put in same amount they left with?
No penalty; it just a minimum buy-in amount. For a table with $100 cap, you can put down $100 after $100 and lose $1,000's. Leave, and then come back and only put down the minimum (since you busted). It doesn't matter how much money you've put into play, only how much you try to leave with. So, as soon as you triple-up to $300 and leave, now you can come back at any point in the first 90 minutes, but you have to put that $300 back.

I think the best thing to do is to codify your rules and make them available. Write this into the rule sheet. Don’t let incidents like this be a barrier from growing your game if that’s what you desire.
Each table exposes the rules in the info section, including rathole minutes. But, yes, since the club is growing and seems to be here to stay for quite some time (as we have members in like 7 states), it might be good to spell them out in a single document.

The whole quitting the game and coming back hours later definitely happens. One of our players has been known to leave the game after a bad beat, send me screenshots of the app being deleted, PayPal me their loss, announce retirement from poker, leave the group chat, and then rejoin the table roughly 2 hours later :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: This person is one of my favorite people to play with even though they are a tough opponent.
OMG, THAT IS THIS GUY FOR ME: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/does-playing-it-wrong-piss-anyone-else-off.83781/
... I created The List b/c I needed some comic relief against the "Broken ATM" at the table that catches against me a lot. But when he does lose, he loses bad and leaves the Zoom, leaves the table, only to come back 10 minutes later and just go all-in on the first hand. Then bust, then leave, then come back, then go all-in on the first hand, etc etc ... until he catches and doubles up :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: He sends me texts that the site is rigged, etc. It's hilarious. I had to redact the amount of money he's lost in my stats page b/c it was embarrassing:

Screen Shot 2022-05-04 at 3.48.51 PM.png


Just going from the home games I play in. We probably don't take it as seriously as some on here and a lot of its about socialising for us including online so rather people can come back at some point, can see if game is being taken more seriously side too though.
My home game was 100% socializing. I could win $200 on the night, but be down b/c I entertained with pizza and bourbon and was just glad to have my close friends all come together and play. Going online changed that a little; although I met some great new friends, as things grew, it was bound to hit on a player that took away from that social aspect.
 
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BearMetal

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I haven't checked recently to see if they changed it, but one of my local rooms had a loophole that was even worse than changing stakes. If your cash table was broken, you took your full stack to the new table. But if you requested a table change (at the same stakes), you had to go down to the max buyin.
That's an interesting point; if you change tables at the same stakes, I would expect your stack to stay. But I suppose that it's unfair if everyone at your new table is on their first buy-in (say $1000) and you're allowed to sit with $100 to prevent you from being a bully.

I guess the issue there is that you were allowed to request a change to the same stakes.
 

Schmendr1ck

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That's an interesting point; if you change tables at the same stakes, I would expect your stack to stay. But I suppose that it's unfair if everyone at your new table is on their first buy-in (say $1000) and you're allowed to sit with $100 to prevent you from being a bully.
"Big stack bully" is a myth in cash games. Effective stacks are the same if everybody else has $100 and I buy in for $100 or $100,000.

It might be a problem for players who are deeper than max buyin, which is probably why the rule exists/existed. I can see why a casual player who just turned his $200 into $1000 doesn't want a better player with a big stack coming to his table.

But he always has the option to call it a night and take his profit. I don't like hitting and running, but it's far better than going south IMO.

I guess the issue there is that you were allowed to request a change to the same stakes.
No, that's a good thing. I want to be able to table select in the casino! :D
 

BearMetal

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But he always has the option to call it a night and take his profit. I don't like hitting and running, but it's far better than going south IMO.
Right; I would do either, but at least hitting and running isn't as bad as going south.

No, that's a good thing. I want to be able to table select in the casino! :D
Hah, sure, and you have the right to do so. But when you do...
  • If you have $1,000 and you are forced down to table max (say $100), you now pocket all the profit from the other tables. I suppose the players at your new table don't care b/c it's not their money you are pocketing. But they are probably also happy you're not sitting down with 10x their stacks

  • If you kept the $1,000 during the table change, then it's more for them to win. I think there is the notion of being a bully; you can call a lot lighter and make bets that blow away smaller stacks ability to call and decide on the next card.
 

Schmendr1ck

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If you kept the $1,000 during the table change, then it's more for me to win if there are other big stacks at the table.
FTFY ;)

I think there is the notion of being a bully; you can call a lot lighter and make bets that blow away smaller stacks ability to call and decide on the next card.
Effective stacks are effective stacks. If you've got $100 and I have $100, your decisions should be the same as if you had $100 and I had $1000.

I think some players can be intimidated by a huge stack, but that doesn't change the fact that the amount you can win or lose in a hand is capped.
 
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