Reason(s) for Dropping a Home Game

Mojo1312

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The house takes $75 from the weekly $50 tournament I play in. There is a $1/$2 Omaha-hi game afterwards that runs for about an hour and a half after the tournament ends. The group has been playing together since 2004. The majority of players are in their mid fifties or older.

I joined the game in the fall of 2015. At that time we had 21 to 23 players each week. Typically, there would be seven or eight re-buys and the PLO game would get quite big. The tournament would run until 12:15 to 12:30 and the cash game would end full stop at 1:00. The house took $100 from the tournament prize pool, which given the number of players and spots paid, was largely inconsequential.

In early 2016, I took a six day/70 to75 hour a week job that ended my involvement in poker. Shortly after my departure, two players, an alcoholic and his opioid addicted girlfriend crashed the game. From conversations with other members in the group, they would often get into arguments with one another or with others at the table. I guess some nights were a real shit-show. The host feared they would report the game if he kicked them out.

When I rejoined the game in the Spring of 2018, the number of players had dropped to seven or eight and the host dropped his take to $50. We lost another player or two when the weather warmed up. Why the host and the players in the group would allow these two to ruin the game without taking any action grated the hell out of me. I hit my breaking point when I showed up two weeks in a row to find we only had six players. I informed the host I was through during the break when the two of them were outside. One player immediately chimed in that he too, was done with the game. The host finally found his balls that evening and kicked the two of them out when the tournament recommenced.

Gradually, players returned to the game. We got up to around 13 to 15 within a couple of months. We even started to get the old camaraderie back when the host, in his infinite wisdom, increased the house's take to $75. Impossible to say for sure whether this was the reason we lost two players right away, except that it did coincide with the host's decision.

The game continued on a slow downward spiral. We were down to eight or nine players when the host ended the game late last October in response to the multiple Covid outbreaks that hit our community. A couple of players had been griping about the tournament ending at 11:30ish when they had to work in the morning. Consensus was slowly building towards re-structuring the blinds/levels of the tournament in favor of making room for the cash game and ending the evening at midnight.

Tonight we had our first game post Covid. Six players. The host has revamped the tournament. The blind structure is more aggressive and the levels are shorter in duration, which effectively brings the tournament to a conclusion an hour sooner. Tonight, the tournament which started at quarter past seven, ended at ten past ten. Only three of the five other players stayed for cash.

Pron from the tournament:
(Disclaimer: Chips are not Paulson's)

1617863484655.png


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Last hand of the tournament. Hero has all of the chippies.
(Gray one-thousands are out in front. Blue one-hundreds are on top of the grays)

1617863695220.png


My main issue is the $75 the host takes from the prize pool combined with the hour he has cut from the tournament.

A rational person may ask, Why not keep the tournament friendly if it is no longer the main event and take a rake from the cash game? Or get rid of the tournament all together?

Maybe Hero is a grouch. Fact is, neither the tournament nor the cash game is big enough to excite Hero in to looking forward to the game on a weekly basis.

Input welcome.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is Hero alone, or has anyone else grown tired or become disenchanted with their home game? What were the reasons?

Remedy?
 
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cpac54

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$75 out of a $300 prize pool? Seems like a nice deal for the host. What's his reasoning for taking the rake? Is he using it to provide food/drink for the players, because imo that's the only reasonable explanation I can see for taking something out of the prize pool. Even then, rather just have people pay separately into a food fund if that's the case so the prize pool stays intact. If he insists on raking the game, then he should do it on a per player basis so that it's not disproportionally high when playing short-handed and perhaps cap the rake at a maximum amount.

Personally, I like to invest my time in things and with people that bring me joy. That's the question I'd be asking... do you enjoy spending time with the people who are playing regularly? If so, then it's probably worth trying to salvage the game. If playing in the game is just generally not fun, then I think you have your answer. In any case, I'd certainly be addressing the rake issue.

Also, those chips are garbage.
 

CHP TD

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yeah... that rake... what do you get for the rake? Does he put on food?

What i see is he free-rolls the tourney and gets $25 to help the buy in for the cashie afterwards.

Meh id give that game a miss.

We cant rake in oz due to the law. Pretty happy about that.
 

RainmanTrail

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Sounds like a game that was never worth playing in the first place. I'd be looking for other options.
 
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I'm going to echo the comments above but am also going to add some more on top. It's the end of my night and I'm feeling rather wordy right now so I apologize for that....


I think more than COVID killed this particular game... the host did. Must be nice as host to know you are going to come out up on the night regardless of how you play. :rolleyes:

I've hosted for nearly 15 years now and have never taken a dime for anything. Even if my game were much more than the weekly "beer and bullshit" session, beyond the possible legal ramifications * of taking money above what is won (or lost) in the game itself, I'd feel kind of squidgy asking for money as host.

I've always had the policy of "BYOB, for yourself or to share". I've hosted the game providing beer verticals or 'martini' nights, but have also received well beyond what I have given in return from what others have brought in consumables, including gaining some lifelong friends. I have one regular who "uses" poker night to share the amazing beers he is able to get his hands on. I'm certain he's spent a lot more money on the beers he brings, but he's always great to have at the game because he's "good people" and everyone likes him as a good person to be around. My point is my game is a social event with some rather competitive low-stakes poker as the anchor. I don't host to make money off of hosting alone.

A home game that takes a rake (and that is what you are describing) just seems like a game I'm not sure I'd want to be part of unless the benefits provided were pretty good... and even then I'd still tread carefully. It just feels funny to me, even beyond the dice chips and felt on a kitchen table.

The host of a game does so because they enjoy the game and want to make it enjoyable for others and themself, not to make money solely because because they host. (making profit *in* the game is a different story).





* Many moons ago, before the state gaming laws allowed no-limit poker at the tribal casinos here, there was a smaller poker room that had opened that charged a monthly membership fee to join the "club" and spread 1-2, 1-3 and 2-5 NLHE across maybe a half-dozen tables. It wasn't in some back alley, but a smaller storefront on a major thoroughfare in town. Clearly they weren't shy about what they were doing, but also not super overt about it. A couple of months after opening, they were shut down because they *technically* violated the state gaming laws by charging that fee. I'm unsure of the gaming laws in Maine, but it's entirely possible the host of the game you go to could be violating the state gaming laws by taking this out of the entry fees! I'm not a lawyer, nor do I have one in my immediate or extended family so don't take this as proper legal advice, but being a participant in this game could get you in trouble for participating. Short story and short answer (and seems to be the same as the posts above) is I'd take a big step away and let this particular game die it's own slow death.
 
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TheDuke

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If you had posted the pics at the top of your post I could have skipped the reading and said you should move on from this game.

I'm not playing in a raked game that has that kind of crappy table and dice chips. Unless it was crazy juicy and free money every session. Which by the sound of it, it is not.

I'd only play if it was a tight knit friendly group where the social aspect was the defining factor. It doesn't sound like this is the case either.

So, unless there are no other games in the area, I'd never play in this game again.
 

Chawks45

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Fact is, neither the tournament nor the cash game is big enough to excite Hero in to looking forward to the game on a weekly basis.
Outside of the rake -- I cringed seeing that part; did the host watch "Molly's Game"? -- I think two things:

1. If you don't look forward to the game, the desire to get together with this specific group is long gone. It's sort of like knowing when it's time to change jobs. If a person used to arrive early at the office and couldn't wait to start the day, the passion is there. But as time goes forward and the person now sits in their car in the parking lot dreading until the last possible minute before heading inside to start the day, it's time to move on.

2. You took the time to vent in the early morning hours with a well-thought cathartic post, providing a snapshot of background information and even posting photos of dice chips. You don't need any of us to advise you to abort. I believe you know the answer.

May the Force be with you on your ultimate decision.
 

trigs

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  • game is not fun
  • host takes a rake (which isn't terrible I guess but...)
  • rake doesn't seem to be "repayed" to the players in any way (i.e. shitty dice chips, shitty tables, etc. not sure if host offers food/drinks though)
  • only getting 6 max players for a tournament
Sounds like a game I'd pass on going to (unless it was my only option I guess).

And I agree with what some others said - $75-$100 rake for a $50 tournament? Sounds like host has just been freerolling you all for years and offering nothing in return for the rake taken.
 

grebe

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How is this the best game you can find? This game SUCKS. I wouldnt play here if my mother was the host.

EDIT: many games around here are raked (no card rooms/casinos). I don't have issue with a raked game per se, but it better be well run and have a good setup....as that is what I am paying a rake for. Yes, it's illegal. but most times it's just a dude trying to make a side hustle. I am cool with that. The reasons that your game suck have little to do with the take and more to do with the host.
 
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CraigT78

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I've dropped a few games. Mostly because shitty rules, but also because of equipment. For me, the people attending and the structure of the game are most important, with the quality of equipment a close third.

The rake doesn't bother me, I charge one as well. I'd be fine offering all that I do for free, but the head of gaming doesn't want me dropping $300/mo on beer, bourbon and food. She makes the rules!

If I were you, and I was able - I'd take over this player pool and start hostingy own game. That or I'd partner with someone who had the space to do so. There are enough hosts on this site, you'd have a wealth of knowledge to draw from.


Good luck!
 

upNdown

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Is it worth hanging around and recruiting (or re-recruiting) for the game?
The rake on the 6 player tournament sucks. But like you said, the rake on the 22 person tournament was negligible. And cash games afterward that weren’t just NLHE - despite the chips and the rake and the less than perfect tables, it sounds like it was a good game once. If you’re going to hang around, I guess it’s because you’re hoping it will return to what it once was. So you might as well help work on that. Or quit.
 

Senzrock

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Generally fun (good) home games that last over many years and help build up camaraderie amongst the group requires a strong host with his or her finger on the pulse. As others have stated, and you infer in your post, this host was not that. I can't imagine (1) allowing this couple into the game in the first place and (2) allowing them to do harm to an otherwise fun game. The fact that the host is not investing even minimal effort into the table or chips, is a major red flag, not as a PCF chip snob but as someone who appreciates a well organized game.

I think you should talk to the host (if he is at this point a good friend) about either taking over the game, or collectivizing the process between a few of you, doing away with the rake (or putting the rake *towards something* like a final table freeroll pool at the end of the year), and reconstituting it on a real table with decent chips etc - an entire re-branding that has some buy-in from multiple members. That seems like the only way to build this back up. If work is not crushing you anymore, and you care about this game, it's time to invest some effort into (re)building it.
 

wolfpack

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I wouldn't have played in that shitty game to begin with. start hosting yourself and run the game right and watch you get backup to those 15-20 a session.
 

upNdown

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Let me go on record and say that if I could play a weekly tournament with 20+ players that was a well-run, decent structure, I’d happily pay a 10% rake, whether there were shit chips or not.
For me, a rake is just another factor. I don’t care what I’m getting for it. Overall, is the game a good game or not?
 

Poker Zombie

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Reasons I've quit hame games:
  • Shit rules. The first game I quit used "blinds double every time someone gets eliminated" as a blind structure. I attended 2 games and binked in the fishpond, but my personal motto is "If it ain't fun to do, it ain't worth doin'." It didn't matter that the game was stupid profitable, it was dumb.
  • Dice chips and crap equipment. This was a group I joined in it's infancy on meetup.com. Some good people playing in a bar, but we were using dice chips and there was a constant churn of new players. People I don't know with dice chips is problematic for me. They also played fast and loose with a lot of "little" rules, like who moved tables to rebalance a tournament. The bar requested we buy food/drinks, which I was happy to do, but a lot of players didn't and it started creating animosity with the bar owner.
The first game was unsalvageable, but when I quit the second game, I poached a handful of the better players (personality wise, and food-buying respectful) - including the host.

I'm in the no-rake camp, but will pay if it appears to be for something tangible - security, food, high quality setting and the like.

The game you described misses on every single level. Time to poach and host.
 
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wolfpack

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There should not be a rake unless top notch food and drink are probided. I am talking top shelf bourbon and good eats. BYOB and bring your own Snacks should never rake a game
 

ekricket

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One would at least expect decent chips and not a felted kitchen table for a raked game.

Sounds like a game that was never worth playing in the first place. I'd be looking for other options.

I refuse to play in raked home games. If I'm going to pay a rake I'd much rather go to a casino.

There should not be a rake unless top notch food and drink are probided. I am talking top shelf bourbon and good eats. BYOB and bring your own Snacks should never rake a game

I know. If a rake is being taken, I expect clays or ceramics.

You must immediately turn your Degenerate cards in.
There’s a game isn’t there?
 

Poker Zombie

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From my November game...
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UDSA Primals.
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Rake collected = $0

However, virtually nobody shows up empty-handed anymore. It might be chips, a home-made dessert, or an expertly crafted side, but friends won't take advantage of your generosity. We usually eat for close to a week on the leftovers, so I guess our rake is food.
 

Papasatyr

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JustinInMN

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We cant rake in oz due to the law. Pretty happy about that.
Hate to point this out, but in most jurisdictions in the US, you can't take a rake either unless you have a gaming license.

That said, I know there are raked games outside of licensed venues here. The ones I know about the host will make an effort to make a nice space, nice tables, and at least free snacks and drinks. What exactly is this host providing? Is he even renting a hall?

I personally don't object to raked games, I won't say more on that lest I be forced into the politics forum, and I don't wanna go. But I think there's definitely a higher expectation of what the host provides if he's raking the game, this host doesn't seem to be doing next to nothing compared to raked games I know about.

I don't rake my own games. Pre-covid, I would usually will provide pizza from my oven or some simple snacks, and a water cooler. Players are welcome to BYOB. My players are pretty good about tipping out, usually get $20ish a night give or take. I could get that every hour if I raked the game modestly and no one would miss it. But the tips I get are enough to keep me in Kifer-Cards (@Josh Kifer ).

So I mean there are a lot of good reasons to quit a game. And whether or not you enjoy it is top of the list. But I think in a raked game, you have a right to expect far more enjoyment than an unraked one, and surely more enjoyment than the original post describes.
 
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