Cash Game Question about leveling the playing field in a cash game

CrazyEddie

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The way you phrased the hypothetical made it seem like you were trying to set up a scenario in which the two players were obviously colluding and that I should be concerned about it.

Otherwise, no, I have no concerns about players buying and selling chips from each other rather than the bank, which, as you point out, is functionally equivalent to ratholing. Why should I, given that I already stated it doesn't bother me that players might take money off the table?
 

Darson

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You want your players to have fun and stay on the table - they see that someone having lots of money is a disadvantage to them and don't want to commit more money. There are two issues here:
1, They don't understand the game well enough to know that being short isn't a disadvantage
2, They are uncomfortable with committing $25

For 1, You can try educating them but they're not going to really take the lesson until they're more experienced.

For 2, drop the stakes. If people are uncomfortable putting $25 on the table, they should not be playing poker for $25. Maybe do a 5c/10c game with a $10 buy-in.

You will have people come and go from your game. Of the original 10 players from my first time hosting, only 3 are left and there are a bunch of new guys. The 7 that left mainly did so because they were always losing (not knowing the game well enough and not really interested in learning). I've had a few people join and leave because they weren't competitive. And I've had some join and remain regular because they enjoy themselves.

You can't please everyone all the time. Expect some change and recruit more players.
 

TheDuke

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The way you phrased the hypothetical made it seem like you were trying to set up a scenario in which the two players were obviously colluding and that I should be concerned about it.

Otherwise, no, I have no concerns about players buying and selling chips from each other rather than the bank, which, as you point out, is functionally equivalent to ratholing. Why should I, given that I already stated it doesn't bother me that players might take money off the table?
But you just demonstrated the issue. You assumed there was collusion. Because depending on viewpoint, it looks like collusion.

So if you're trying to attract new players (as we all know we need to continuously recruit new players to keep the game alive), and they see this behavior, do you think it's likely they'll ever return?
 

CrazyEddie

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But you just demonstrated the issue. You assumed there was collusion. Because depending on viewpoint, it looks like collusion.

So if you're trying to attract new players (as we all know we need to continuously recruit new players to keep the game alive), and they see this behavior, do you think it's likely they'll ever return?
Me: "It's fine if people take money off the table."

You: "If you let people take money off the table, then when two players are in a three-handed pot, one of them will give the pot back to the other. They aren't colluding, but because it looks like collusion it will scare away new players."

Pardon me if I'm skeptical about your hypothetical.
 

TheDuke

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Me: "It's fine if people take money off the table."

You: "If you let people take money off the table, then when two players are in a three-handed pot, one of them will give the pot back to the other. They aren't colluding, but because it looks like collusion it will scare away new players."

Pardon me if I'm skeptical about your hypothetical.
Who knows if they're colluding? It's not against your own rules of ratholing.

But that's the usual assumption when you see something that looks like shenanigans.

Perception of how a game operates is important. Even if it's fair and above board (let's say for some reason we know for 100% certainty these friends don't collude), it still has a poor look for anyone not familiar with the game or players involved.

Here's an exact scenario I've seen in a home game. Two friends show up together. One player goes bust. His friend wants to lend him chips because neither of them has or wants to put more money on the table. With your rules of ratholing, it's totally fine.

From my limited view, as a host and as an attendee at other games, I just can't see how that is acceptable at all.

This happened at my game many years ago with two new players. I politely told them to take a hike and they left to hit up one of those payday loan places to cash a check and returned later that night.
I've since played with them for many years.
They're both degenerates who love to gamble and play hard at one another. No collusion.
 
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grebe

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...only if you never allow rebuys, and every single player ratholes.
Welllll.....technicalllllyyyyyy <insert nerd voice>

Only has to be more money is being ratholed than is being rebought.

I don't know why I would even argue this point. It's (almost) unanimously considered a horrible practice that would rarely if ever last in any game for much time. It's just not going to be a thing, so no point in wasting brain cells on it.
 

JustinInMN

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Listen, I know I am climbing an uphill battle here. I am trying to point out (and pretty successfully, mind you) that LIMIT is a much better structure for home games....ESPECIALLY for this home game. If the players are so worried about losing money that you would consider scratching cash and going to a tournamant structure to limit losses, then your structure is the issue. Limit fixes that.

Honestly, my only argument against limit play is that it's just plain unpopular. Aside from that, it's a better game in so many ways as @grebe describes.
 

CrazyEddie

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So, first, I appreciate that when I challenged your hypothetical you showed that it had actually happened. That persuaded me to think through my position further.

I think, though, that it's not that hard to draw a line distinguishing letting players partially cash out during the game (logistical issues as pointed out by Zombie notwithstanding) and encouraging behavior that suggests that two players are sharing a financial interest in the game. The first doesn't necessarily imply that the second is going to happen, and the second can happen even without the first.

As a host, I'd have no problem distinguishing between these cases. If Bob, who I've been friends with for years, has a tight bankroll and wants to book his wins early, well, that's fine (fine by me, anyway, I know everyone else hates the thought of this). If Fred and George wander in off the street and look like they're playing with a shared bankroll - whether because they're lending each other chips or lending each other cash - then a) they might not be allowed to and b) they might not come back. If Fred and George have been friends of mine for years then neither I nor anyone else at the table might care, and if I or anyone else does care then I'd have a conversation with them and ask them to bring more money, each, next time, for the sake of appearances.
 

CrazyEddie

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And in the case that the OP @Toaster was considering, it would be even more cut and dried without any hint of impropriety, because his group was considering making it a rule that dictated that someone who was up by X amount would take some of that off the table because the group wanted it that way. I don't think that's the right way to solve his group's issues, but a) I don't think that everyone's reflexive distrust of ratholing is warranted and b) I certainly think that his group should be able to agree to play that way if that's what they all want.
 

upNdown

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Totally playing devils advocate here.

Suppose we’re at a loose, splashy, deep-stacked game, where my buyin was $25.
Suppose I’m a nit, but I caught quads and a boat and ran my stack up to $150.
And suppose that $150 is effective in most hands.
I might play cautiously, preferring to lock in my profit, over risking my stack in any given hand.
Suppose this game allowed ratholing, and I took $50 off the table. I’ve locked in a profit, and now I’m comfortable playing fast and loose with the remaining $100.
Is that better for the game?
 

LeLe

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F
Totally playing devils advocate here.

Suppose we’re at a loose, splashy, deep-stacked game, where my buyin was $25.
Suppose I’m a nit, but I caught quads and a boat and ran my stack up to $150.
And suppose that $150 is effective in most hands.
I might play cautiously, preferring to lock in my profit, over risking my stack in any given hand.
Suppose this game allowed ratholing, and I took $50 off the table. I’ve locked in a profit, and now I’m comfortable playing fast and loose with the remaining $100.
Is that better for the game?
From my experience nit will still play like a nit even more nit when they are up , they only become lossen and more sticky if they are down by a lot.
 

Legend5555

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Totally playing devils advocate here.

Suppose we’re at a loose, splashy, deep-stacked game, where my buyin was $25.
Suppose I’m a nit, but I caught quads and a boat and ran my stack up to $150.
And suppose that $150 is effective in most hands.
I might play cautiously, preferring to lock in my profit, over risking my stack in any given hand.
Suppose this game allowed ratholing, and I took $50 off the table. I’ve locked in a profit, and now I’m comfortable playing fast and loose with the remaining $100.
Is that better for the game?
Possibly. But I still think going down this road leads to long term issues. Better to just not allow it.
 

upNdown

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From my experience nit will still play like a nit even more nit when they are up , they only become lossen and more sticky if they are down by a lot.
I think you're probably right.
I could see myself, specifically, performing exactly that way I described. Although I tend toward nittiness, there are factors - mood, stakes, game, opponents - that will swing my playing style significantly. But yeah, in reality, most nits are gonna nit, so this probably wouldn't work.
And to be clear, I don't support ratholing; I'm just discussing.
 

Legend5555

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  1. Cash Game 5¢/10¢ NL Holdem: $15.05
  2. Cash Game 50¢/$1 Limit Holdem: $15.63
  3. Cash Game 50¢/$1 Limit Omaha: $18.33
  4. Tournament NLHE $20, 1 Rebuy max: $27.48
  5. Cash Game 25¢/50¢ NL Holdem: $37
  6. Cash Game 75¢/$1.50 Limit Holdem: $37.50
  7. Cash Game 25¢/25¢ NL Holdem: $38.75
  8. Cash Game 75¢/$1.50 Limit Omaha: $52.50
Cool stats. I can't say I'm a fan of tracking my players' play though. I just don't see the value. It both takes a lot of time and reveals things I'm sure some winners and losers would not want to either know themselves or have others know.

I find .25/.25 stats to ring pretty true. Often it plays almost identically to .25/.50 except shorter stackes and people are willing to splash around more. So it's not surprising people can lose more.
 

Coyote

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I can feel poker issues have been solved, so let's have some fun.

I 've put on, over the years, with enormous success, a "National Pornographic" T-shirt, using the logo and fonts of the National Geographic. I can't recommend it enough, especially to the younger and single part of the membership here.

In contrast, I never found out what a "Masturbation is NOT a Crime" T-shirt could engender, and my age and actual marrital status are clear obstacles in putting on something like this.
This is among the biggest regrets in my life. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

Poker Zombie

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Cool stats. I can't say I'm a fan of tracking my players' play though. I just don't see the value. It both takes a lot of time and reveals things I'm sure some winners and losers would not want to either know themselves or have others know.

I find .25/.25 stats to ring pretty true. Often it plays almost identically to .25/.50 except shorter stackes and people are willing to splash around more. So it's not surprising people can lose more.
Baseball background I guess. I just have a love for statistics.

For the most part though, I leave actual dollar amounts out of most published stats, for the same reasons. Knowing lifetime losses is like seeing your weekly caloric intake. You just can't believe how much you go through, and it never feels good.

However, some players have strongly resisted cash games. Having statistical proof that the lower Limit HE table poses less risk on average than the usual tournament is helpful. The same thing goes for Nickel/Dime NL - the nightly risk is minimal on average, despite the ability to dump it all in a single hand.
 

Legend5555

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Feels a bit like this thread has been hijacked :ROFL: :ROFLMAO::ROFL: :ROFLMAO::ROFL: :ROFLMAO::ROFL: :ROFLMAO::ROFL: :ROFLMAO::ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
tenor-3.gif
 

Toaster

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Thank you all for your help! This has been very informative. Moving forward, I will not permit ratholing, will allow players to top up their stacks (this was an oversight on my part), will NOT skim the max stack, likely will not increase the buy in amount over the course of the night (unless players feel strongly that I should), and will consider one of three things to limit losses according to what the players want: 1. Decrease the max buy in to 80 BB (from 100 BB), 2. Lower the stakes to something like 5c/10c, or 3. Play limit.

I realize now after posting this that majority of the concern came from 1 player of a 4 player game. I will host another game with hopefully more (and different) players to see how it goes. I suspect the losing player (Player 2) might feel differently if he finds himself the max stack in the next game. Time will tell.
 

TheDuke

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Cash game data of individual cash-in cash out is recorded. Players may request any stats they like, but in the newsletter I don't tend to focus on losses any more than ESPN focuses on NFL fumble leaders. The data is available, but as you mention it would be heartbreaking.

I have never checked my own personal losses.

Instead, I share positive stats. Even loss leaders have stats that are encouraging. Each event one random player that signs up early will get a Personal "Stat Sheet" For example, here is what @Mrs Poker Zombie 's looked like in July 2018...
View attachment 735555
View attachment 735556

For tournaments, it was a little more work of sorting and filtering to get the numbers. That data tracks every Knockout, finishing position, and rebuy (amongst other data not relevant to this discussion).

I could probably do an entire thread on statistics, but I suspect the only one that would be interested would be @TexRex (we have shared a lot of data over the years to improve our games).

Wow! That's a lot of tracking.

How do you stay on top of these during the game? Especially for an MTT. Items like the knockout info. Do you have a spreadsheet open and update as you're playing or tournament software? I never play tourneys anymore so the extent of my knowledge/experience is just using a basic app that uses a clock and blind levels.
 

Poker Zombie

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Wow! That's a lot of tracking.

How do you stay on top of these during the game? Especially for an MTT. Items like the knockout info. Do you have a spreadsheet open and update as you're playing or tournament software? I never play tourneys anymore so the extent of my knowledge/experience is just using a basic app that uses a clock and blind levels.
At first it was a challenge, but once players started seeing what the results were, it became a community effort. Now it is impossible for someone to be eliminated without a chorus of "KNOCKOUT" rising up from the table where the KO happened. Tables often spread into 2 rooms, so yelling it has become the norm.

Even when it is a knockout when it's heads up. Only a good friend can yell "KNOCKOUT" in your face after eliminating you on the bubble. Impossible to be on tilt when you are laughing at the absurdity.

@Mrs Poker Zombie records the KO, who the hand victor was, the level, and if there is a rebuy with pen and paper. It's oddly more convenient than a computer when at the tables. I handle the money and the chips for the rebuy. On break, we update the spreadsheet that determines payouts (tournaments), and at the end of the night we enter all the data into the master spreadsheet.

Although not every tab of the spreadsheet is updated post-game (don't need to record Cash in/Out if it was a tournament), there are a total of 36 tabs in the sheet.

None of them involve the brushing of teeth... yet.
 

Dugthefish

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Reminds me of a game I played in once. $.25/.50 NL Hold em/Omaha mix. $20 MAX buy in. When you busted, the rebuy chips came from whoever had the biggest stack, who would then put the cash in his pocket.
 
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