Reason(s) for Dropping a Home Game

Budha

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I want to try Alaska Amber!

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And I don’t know what all the hubbub about “there better be value added to the game because of the rake” is about. One of the reasons I stopped hosting a couple of years ago was because I was having a hard time getting more than 3 or 4 people to show up. If this guy actually had 22 people there for a tournament, there’s the value right there.
And by the way, though my ideal game is 8-max, having 16 people in MY house would not be twice as good. To me, there’s value added right there - nobody in my house. No cars lining the streets, annoying the neighbors. No crowds going outside to smoke weed, further annoying the neighbors.
If a game is profitable to me, why should I care if it’s profitable to the host too?
All fair points - I guess my perspective is that if a hosts feels its that inconvenient to host, then don’t host. If they are hosting just for the money, then HOST - lol.

If I’m going to play in a raked game, then I’d like to have the utmost confidence it’s legit. The host that organized, and is taking a rake, and is doing so solely for the money, AND is also sitting at the table - is not overly inspiring from a confidence perspective. Fine for a low limit game, but then why bother - lol. Playing for any meaningful stakes in that set up is just not overly attractive for me. I’ll go to a casino

as for me - I would prefer to get value for my $$ whenever possible as I certainly have to provide value to get it - lol.

Edit: This assumes a straight up raked game. Contributing to the host for providing a good set up with food, beer, etc is another matter entirely (and one I would happily contribute too). My point is simply - if you are hosting a raked game to make money, there are some minimum standards I think are reasonably to be expected.
 
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Schmendr1ck

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And I don’t know what all the hubbub about “there better be value added to the game because of the rake” is about. One of the reasons I stopped hosting a couple of years ago was because I was having a hard time getting more than 3 or 4 people to show up. If this guy actually had 22 people there for a tournament, there’s the value right there.
YMMV, but I've got three legal cardrooms within a one hour drive, so it would be silly for me to go to a raked, no-value-added house game.

I'll pay the vig for a legal, secure game with a larger player pool instead.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Exactly. I just tapped two kegs. It was $261 for them both. If I hosted here and there, I wouldn't think twice - but over the course of the year I'll spend $3,200 on beer alone.
Yeah, that's steep. I probably spend $50-100 per game, 8-9 times a year, so it's a lot easier to just not worry about it. It just comes out of my profit. :rolleyes:
 

jja412

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From my November game...
View attachment 673254

View attachment 673255

UDSA Primals.
View attachment 673256

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.
If I find a way to move closeby, can I count on an invite? Poker AND great food?? Sign me up.
 

TKEUofM

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I’ve hosted for almost 20 years and never taken a rake. We have 20-25 person tournaments with a $50 buy in and take $80 out of the pot and buy pizza, pop, chips, cookies, etc for everyone to eat. I usually come out $10 or so behind on the food, but that’s the price of hosting and being able to get drunk at your own house and never worry about driving home.
 

warma

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Well I would agree with this, but sometimes prosecutors have bad ideas.
You could have everyone bet $20 and then fold to your amazing
:8s:
:3d:
on the river...
 

boltonguy

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TomC727

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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.
Very well said. I've been hosting for the past 6 months once my basement was finished. I have refused multiple attempts to pay me for food and beverage. I host because I love to do it. I provide all the food and drink and if someone wants to bring something, so be it. Raking a game feels dirty to me. I would have found a new game a long time ago.

I will continue to host without any expectation. I want to open it up a little more come summer when a few of my older family will be vaccinated completely and feel safe being around younger people. As of now, I've mainly just had coworkers.

If the host truly wants some kickback for food, then a food and beverage jar can be put out, but a rake is very suspect.
 

Mojo1312

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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?

I am a pragmatist, not an idealist, when it comes to mandatory tip-outs, rakes, or in this case, the house taking a lump sum to play. I would gladly fork over five bucks to play in a twenty+ player tournament followed by a $1/$2 cash game, sans real casino chips.

Considering the age of the players and the fact that everyone knows one another, I believe the risk of someone going to the trouble of smuggling in dice chips and sneaking them into play is exceptionally low. (This game has been running for 17 years.)

The "host" in the OP owns the property, a two story home that he converted into four apartments and a small efficiency. There is plenty of parking. He plays in about 70% of the tournaments and rarely hangs around for the cash game. The only thing he provides is a semi finished heated basement, the poker tables, and a mini refrigerator for beverages.

The $75 hosting fee goes toward plowing and heat. ($3900 a year easily covers those costs)

The new blind structure to the tournament is even more aggressive than stated in the O.P. A full ring game of nine players will have less than twenty BB's on the table after 160 minutes of play, counting re-buys. It is a three hour game when you factor in the two ten minute breaks.

Scale is the issue. The game has shrunk to the point where the thrill is gone. Playing in $20 home games or tournaments with a small prize pool no longer does anything for me, win or lose.

Shortening the tournament and ending the evening an hour early does not address the core issue of why this game has lost its luster and is no longer worthwhile.
 
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JustinInMN

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The "host" in the OP owns the property, a two story home that he converted into four apartments and a small efficiency. There is plenty of parking. He plays in about 70% of the tournaments and rarely hangs around for the cash game. The only thing he provides is a semi finished heated basement, the poker tables, and a mini refrigerator for beverages.

Okay, so he's a landlord renting 4 apartments and setting up in the basement that isn't part of the actual rental space. Actually, pretty neat idea.

The $75 hosting fee goes toward plowing and heat. ($3900 a year easily covers those costs)

Cynically, why are the costs the players' responsibility? He's has to provide that to his tenants whether or not there are games in the basement. My players do not cause me to turn the thermostat up when they play. If anything, more warm bodies probably slows the calls to the furnace down.

My players are nice, but I don't expect them to plow my driveway for me in winter. That's on me and just a basic courtesy I owe visitors to my house.

I mean, I don't oppose raked games on philosophical grounds, but if I am picking between a raked and an unraked game, the raked game better offer more. So in terms of the original post, if you are feeling guilty for not liking this game anymore, I think you have been given many good reasons to dislike the game. And honestly, disliking a game for the sake of disliking it is a good enough reason itself. It's your time and money, spend it however you want.
 
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Rhodeman77

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I played in a game that we had to pay the host $20 each every week. The money was to cover the inconvenience of having to set up his table and chairs. At first I thought it covered the food and drinks that were provided so no big deal. Food was always good. I later came to find out that the Bad Beat drop ($3/hand) paid for the food and drinks each week.

The game was so soft and the host was one of the biggest fish in the game that I happily paid the extra $20.

If the game was tougher, I may have looked for a different game that didn’t have the $20 rake. As long as the game is profitable/fun play it, once it isn’t move on.

The above game I played in broke up when the biggest fish stopped playing and the host realized he was the Big Fish now.
 

JScott

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Okay, so he's a landlord renting 4 apartments and setting up in the basement that isn't part of the actual rental space. Actually, pretty neat idea.



Cynically, why are the costs the players' responsibility? He's has to provide that to his tenants whether or not there are games in the basement. My players do not cause me to turn the thermostat up when they play. If anything, more warm bodies probably slows the calls to the furnace down.

My players are nice, but I don't expect them to plow my driveway for me in winter. That's on me and just a basic courtesy I owe visitors to my house.

I mean, I don't oppose raked games on philosophical grounds, but if I am picking between a raked and an unraked game, the raked game better offer more. So in terms of the original post, if you are feeling guilty for not liking this game anymore, I think you have been given many good reasons to dislike the game. And honestly, disliking a game for the sake of disliking it is a good enough reason itself. It's your time and money, spend it however you want.
I’m with you on this 100%. @Mojo1312 you either like this game or you don’t. I think you want to leave it as much as you’re defending it. No ones judging you for going for 17 years, but I don’t think the rake is justified either.

I’ve got thousands (hell tens of thousands) into chips & tables, hundreds into cards and other accessories, I do a drink of the night, and am currently adding onto my house to make a room to put my custom table into. I don’t expect my players to cover that cost, I don’t know why a host would.

I guess if I wasn’t a winning player or able to afford it maybe I’d look at it differently, but I average $2k a year winning, and costs... I don’t even want to know.
 

viet rounder

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I think some are over analyzing the situation. You are paying for entertainment. As long as you are entertained that's all that matters. Now if it was a house game amongst good friends and the host (who is also a friend) takes rake, that may be a different story.
 

Poker Zombie

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I played in a game that we had to pay the host $20 each every week. The money was to cover the inconvenience of having to set up his table and chairs. At first I thought it covered the food and drinks that were provided so no big deal. Food was always good. I later came to find out that the Bad Beat drop ($3/hand) paid for the food and drinks each week.

The game was so soft and the host was one of the biggest fish in the game that I happily paid the extra $20.

If the game was tougher, I may have looked for a different game that didn’t have the $20 rake. As long as the game is profitable/fun play it, once it isn’t move on.

The above game I played in broke up when the biggest fish stopped playing and the host realized he was the Big Fish now.
Isn't this one of the biggest problems of a raked game? Fish are already -EV, but the rake hurts them even more.

The fish play poker like a slot-machine player. It is a -EV venture, but they "win" often enough that they forget they are losing more than they win. Take a rake, and the fish win less, increasing their thoughts that the game is unbeatable.

In Mojo's example, that doesn't really apply as much, as the players have been around for 17 years. However, as friends, you should be able to simply tell the host "Look, I'm not attending if you have d-bags invited - I don't consider them friends. Also, I'll help you out for hosting, but $X is my limit."
 

Rhodeman77

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Isn't this one of the biggest problems of a raked game? Fish are already -EV, but the rake hurts them even more.

The fish play poker like a slot-machine player. It is a -EV venture, but they "win" often enough that they forget they are losing more than they win. Take a rake, and the fish win less, increasing their thoughts that the game is unbeatable.

In Mojo's example, that doesn't really apply as much, as the players have been around for 17 years. However, as friends, you should be able to simply tell the host "Look, I'm not attending if you have d-bags invited - I don't consider them friends. Also, I'll help you out for hosting, but $X is my limit."

if a game is going to be raked in some way I prefer it to be taken from the pot. Then it is the winning players paying it.

If the Big Fish loses $300 every week and has to pay $20 extra for the right to lose it, he is losing $320. But if the rake is take from the pot he is only losing his $300. The flat fee costs the winning players less since everyone shares it equally, but if they are winning the small extra they are paying is negligible.

*This is assuming of course that the amount of the flat fee and drop per hand are about equal on any given night.






*This same philosophy could be applied to our tax system* :ninja:
 

Poker Zombie

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If the big fish loses every week and keeps coming back, great.

I'm concerned about the player that breaks even +/- a few bucks each week. I know that guy. It is me.

A rake, out of the pot or a flat sitting fee makes it more difficult for me to ever turn a profit. I still play in casinos, and know I'm likely to finish down, but I'm paying for the entertainment - and hopefully for free drinks.

However, in a casino I only tip when I win a hand instead of tipping the dealer at the end of every push. So I guess I agree with the pay per pot method vs pay per time.

But More Rake isn't better - no rake is.
 

Jimulacrum

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I agree wholeheartedly with many of the points made in the replies:
  • The house cut may have been negligible at 20+ players, but at 6 or 7 players, giving the host a free buy-in (or more) is excessive. The fact that the host thought this was okay says a lot about how much sense and respect for the game he has.
  • The host does not seem to be doing anything to justify that house cut. Low-quality equipment, no food, etc. What is the house cut actually supposed to be paying for, rent on the space? For $75 a game, you could rent an Airbnb to host in for the night.
  • Kinda related to the point above, but this is a much bigger offense: failing to curate the player pool. Host let two obnoxious nobodies ruin the game for everyone else until it almost disappeared. Even in an unraked home game, this is atrociously bad hosting.
I'm not blanket opposed to rake in private games, but you gotta be offering some material benefit or covered expense for all that money, not just "I'm the host, so I get to freeroll the game every time." Hosting a friendly home poker game should be more like hosting a party, not running a business for profit.

A couple of the replies suggest poaching this guy's players and hosting something yourself. Your circumstances will probably dictate whether that's feasible, but if it is, it may be worth a shot.
 

trigs

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Hey guys! I'm hosting a game next week at my place. Tournament with $100 buy-in. $100 fee (split amongst all of you attending). Dice chips. Piece of felt draped over my dining room table. No food and no drinks provided. Cash game for maybe an hour max after tournament (I'll play in the cash game if I place in the tournament...maybe). Sign up now before it fills up! ;) :wtf: :tdown:
 

JustinInMN

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Hey guys! I'm hosting a game next week at my place. Tournament with $100 buy-in. $100 fee (split amongst all of you attending). Dice chips. Piece of felt draped over my dining room table. No food and no drinks provided. Cash game for maybe an hour max after tournament (I'll play in the cash game if I place in the tournament...maybe). Sign up now before it fills up! ;) :wtf: :tdown:
I'm doing the same thing for $80 next week.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Right. How can you say bad beat drop if it's not all going to the prize pool. Admin fees?
If it's a house game, you can say whatever you want.

Pull this crap in a Florida cardroom and you will lose your license. All jackpot drops have to go back to the players by law.
 

Rhodeman77

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Da Faq?

How's that work? $2 to BBJP and $1 to host?

whatever was raked for that night was not added to the BB. The host would take whatever money the dinner/snacks/drinks out of then the balance would be added to the next weeks total that could be won.

the total bad beat was actually split in 1/2. If it was hit then 1/2 would be paid out. The other half then would be split in half again with 1/2 being the new BB and the other 1/2 being the new reserve.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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What the hell!!! This thread ran strong for exactly 2 days, then abruptly died!

@Mojo1312 what was the resolution? Did you stay, quit, poach, or convince the host to upgrade his game? Curious minds want to know! At least this one does.
 

Mojo1312

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What the hell!!! This thread ran strong for exactly 2 days, then abruptly died!

@Mojo1312 what was the resolution? Did you stay, quit, poach, or convince the host to upgrade his game? Curious minds want to know! At least this one does.

Based upon history, my belief is the host lacks the leadership required to breathe life back into the game. I have moved on. There is a $2/$5 Hold-em home game an hour from where I live, which is a little outside of my bankroll.

I pondered my lot for the better part of a week before confronting reality. I am an addict, a shameless junkie with no hope of recovery. I can't handle being away from the card table for long spells. Bad things will happen.

After acknowledging my pathetic lack of willpower and self discipline, I picked up the phone and called the one player I know who is a regular at the $2/$5 game. He gave me the cell phone number of the host. Wasting no time, I gave him a call and left a message identifying myself.

"Hello Dave, this is Mojo. My friends call me E-Z Money. Jimmy gave me your number. I am a donkey in search of a card game. My number is xxx-xxx-1593. Please return my call if you have a seat available."

To my surprise, he called and informed me that they changed the blinds to $1/$2, minimum buy-in $100, max buy-in $300, $500 after 9PM. Game runs from 6PM to 11:30PM, sometimes midnight. There is a $10 mandatory seat fee. The host provides a home cooked meal, usually steak and pasta with a vegetable. No hot dog sandwiches.

His game is thriving. All ten seats are locked up this week. I am second on the wait list. Preference is given to the regulars, but I expect he will work hard at finding a seat for Mr. E-Z Money next week. Hopefully, Jimmy won't blow my cover.
 
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Jimulacrum

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Based upon history, my belief is the host lacks the leadership required to breathe life back into the game. I have moved on. There is a $2/$5 Hold-em home game an hour from where I live, which is a little outside of my bankroll. I pondered my lot for the better part of a week before confronting reality. I am an addict., a shameless junkie with no hope of recovery. I can't handle being away from the card table for long spells. Bad things will happen.

After acknowledging my pathetic lack of willpower and self discipline, I picked up the phone and called the one player I know who is a regular at the $2/$5 game. He gave me the cell phone number of the host. Wasting no time, I gave him a call and left a message identifying myself.

"Hello Dave, this is Mojo. My friends call me E-Z Money. Jimmy gave me your number. I am a donkey in search of a card game. My number is xxx-xxx-1593. Please return my call if you have a seat available."

To my surprise, he called and informed me that they changed the blinds to $1/$2, minimum buy-in $100, max buy-in $300, $500 after 9PM. Game runs from 6PM to 11:30PM, sometimes midnight. There is a $10 mandatory seat fee. The host provides a home cooked meal, usually steak and pasta with a vegetable. No hot dog sandwiches.

His game is thriving. All ten seats are locked up this week. I am second on the wait list. Preference is giving to the regulars, but I expect he will work hard at finding a seat for Mr. E-Z Money next week. Hopefully, Jimmy won't blow my cover.
Sounds like you found a decent game, and one where the modest rake is proportionate to the game and actually funds something meaningful.

Good luck!
 
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