The Limits of No-Limit

CrazyEddie

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[This is a follow-up to my earlier post The Limits of a Limit Set]

I'm trying to establish the maximum number of workhorse chips one might ever reasonably want to include in a set. The way I see it, it's the smaller of these two:
  • The practical maximum - how many chips before the table gets too crowded, when pushing chips back and forth gets too cumbersome, etc.
  • The money maximum - how many chips you get when everyone has bought and rebought as many times and for as much money as they're going to put on the table in one night, and all of that money is in workhorse chips instead of value chips because, well, you like having lots of chips.
Based on feedback in various threads (mostly about fixed limit, including my previous post) it sounds like the practical maximum is maybe between three and five racks per player, depending on how big your table is and how eager your players are to push around giant piles of chips. Maybe even as low as two racks for some people.

As far as the money maximum:
  • @BGinGA once remarked that "in the MA/NH games $1000+ pots are not uncommon for 25c/50c games." That's a 2000bb pot, which suggests two players each in for 1000bb, one of them all-in. So perhaps there's around 1000bb per player on the table in those games, at least late in the session.
  • @bergs talked about a deep game: "The other game is uncapped 1/1. This generally only goes in March at Bounty Battle. Uncapped, so most buyins/rebuys are $100-300. Some $500 buyins occur later in the night, and we've had a couple of 1K buyins. I rebought in for 2k twice (once each of the last 2 years) in an effort (in vain) to get unstuck. The game was very, very deep at that point." So that's late-session buy-ins up to 1000bb - and if you figure people rebuying are trying to match or maybe overmatch the top stacks, that again suggests that typical players might have around 1000bb on the table at the time.
  • In a Live at the Bike Million Dollar Cash Game the blinds were 100-100-200 + 200 ante. Top players had $100k-$250k in their stacks, others were not that far below $100k. If you handwave and say the game plays like a 200-400 game (because there's $600 in the pot to start) then that's around 250 to 600 bb per player. If you treat it like a 100-200 game (because the big blind is 200) then that's around 500 to 1200 bb per player.
So, based on a few data points, it seems like total money on the table late in the session is going to be around 1000bb per player at most, even in very deep games. For a one-chip / two-chip game that's 2000 chips; with a 20 as the workhorse (i.e. a $5 in a $0.25/$0.50 game) that's 100 workhorse chips. Which is one rack.

So here's my question: even assuming you really like having lots of chips on the table, is there any reason to have more than one rack of the workhorse per player in your set? And contrariwise, again assuming you really like having lots of chips on the table, would you be satisfied with, say, only fifty workhorse chips per player in your set? Thirty?
 

tabletalker7

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Is this for limit or no limit?

For no limit having more than 2 barrels of the workhorse is a complete waste, with normal circumstances saying more than 1 barrel is a waste. If your games run that deep get more higher denoms. While lots of chips may be fun, it is very labor intensive to both function as a player with THAT many chips, and god forbid you now have to count down an all-in. Too much work having that many chips on the table at once. That much work means less time to drink beer. Nope can't have that.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Generally speaking, I'd say you want to stick with a baseline 600-800 chip set and then add high value chips as the game gets deeper, not workhorse chips.

For example, if you're building a single table .25/.50 NL/PL set:
  • 100x 25¢
  • 200-300x $1
  • 200-300x $5
  • 100x $25
This gives you a base bank of $3725-4325. Assuming nine players, that's already about 850-900bb each. If you need more, add $25s and/or $100s.
 

Saoliver

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Workhorse in NL - in a home game, a rack per player is plenty. Less is probably fine.

But I’ve played in many card rooms where the floor has no problem with 8 or more workhorse racks in front of a player. It becomes cumbersome to make a big bet of say 3 racks of $5s.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Workhorse in NL - in a home game, a rack per player is plenty. Less is probably fine.

But I’ve played in many card rooms where the floor has no problem with 8 or more workhorse racks in front of a player. It becomes cumbersome to make a big bet of say 3 racks of $5s.
I like lots of chips, and this would make me crazy.
 

Saoliver

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8 racks?!? I get an 8th barrel and I got the chip runner coloring up a rack for me. That is insane
I like lots of chips, and this would make me crazy.
Yup. I’ve seen it before. On the occasions where I’ve had more than 4 racks of $5s, I’ll ask the floor to color up a rack or two. More chips is intimidating, but I prefer a little space on the felt.
 

Mike Wells

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I like at least 20 racks in front of me:
Nick-Reget-22-or-23-racks-of-8-16-at-Canterbury-1024x768.jpeg
 

Rhodeman77

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I like lots of workhorse chips on the table!!!
All of my sets have at least 5 racks of $5’s, most more.

Lots of chips in play makes the players feel like they have even more than they do and will splash around more. When a player buys in for $500 and gets a full rack of $5 chips he is going to see more flops, after all it is only 3 chips, I have 100 of them!!!

now give that same guy 5 $100 chips and he is going to feel short stacked and fold more often.
 

ChaosRock

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So here's my question: even assuming you really like having lots of chips on the table, is there any reason to have more than one rack of the workhorse per player in your set? And contrariwise, again assuming you really like having lots of chips on the table, would you be satisfied with, say, only fifty workhorse chips per player in your set? Thirty?

For No-Limit and Pot-Limit games, not really any reason to have more than one rack per player imo. 100 of the workhorse per player is plenty. And liking to have lots of chips on the table, the minimum per player for me would be 40, probably (late game). Can the game work with less, sure. I would say the minimum for the game to run would be a barrel per person then additional higher denom chips.

For Limit games, two racks per player for me. One rack is definitely doable though.
 

RichMahogany

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For NL/PL I build sets with a range of 30-80 workhorse chips per player with the sweet spot being 40-60. It also depends on the availability and cost of the chips I’m looking for.

These days I’ve even begun to plan sets of harder to find chips with less fracs and $1s to focus more on the workhorse and value chips while making sure the set is playable.

Although for me short handed(6-8 players) games are preferred, my ultimate full ring set size is 100/200/600/200/100(or 80/20) of fracs through hundos or five hundos if the top end is 80/20 chips
 

JustinInMN

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So here's my question: even assuming you really like having lots of chips on the table, is there any reason to have more than one rack of the workhorse per player in your set?

In No Limit a rack per player is surely overkill.

For no limit having more than 2 barrels of the workhorse is a complete waste, with normal circumstances saying more than 1 barrel is a waste. If your games run that deep get more higher denoms.

I'm a little looser than this, I do like to target 2-3 barrels per player, but you can get by just fine with less, I wouldn't go less than 1 barrel per player though. In my 0.50-0.50 60 max I do starting stacks of 8/46/2 of (0.50/1/5), I stop putting 0.50 chips out when there is 60 on the table, and stop putting singles out once there is 400 on the table. It's more than needed, but it makes for better stacking.

I like at least 20 racks in front of me:
View attachment 544812

I love this picture whenever it's shared. This is Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN (my main track), I would guess between 2005 and 2008 since it's pre the 2008 renovation but after they installed the Bravo System and got shuffle machines. This was probably 8/16 limit with $2 chips (could also have been 6/12).

This would be too many chips in NL :).
 
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ArielVer18

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This isn't a popular opinion on this forum, but for 0.25/0.50 to 1/1 no limit, there's very little difference between a no limit set and a limit set. In my area, no-limit holdem didn't overtake fixed limit holdem in popularity until a few years. Locals are used to seeing mountains of chips on the table. I think there's even a local 2/3/5 NL game that does not allow $100 chips to play on the table.

Buy as many workhorse chips as your table and budget can support.
 

AWenger

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I like at least 20 racks in front of me:
OMG quite a stack. Is that at Atlantic City? The Taj Mahal?

First or second time I ever played poker in a casino (1/2 NL) was at Taj Mahal, and a ruckus/fight broke out at the yellow chip ($20) limit game right behind my table. A guy was drunk and had a mountain of chips, (but probably 1/6 of what's in your photo), I don't know what caused the ruckus, but security guards first tried to calmly escort him from the room, but he resisted & fought back, and the guards had to forcibly escort him from the room.
 

Beakertwang

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For my 5¢/10¢ game, I’m not quite sure whether the quarter or dollar is the workhorse. At any rate, I would never feel the need to have more than two racks of either on the table.
 

warma

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I used to start with about 40 chips total per player, roughly 30 of the lower two denoms which saw equal service. Call it 2 racks each. Worked well & could keep things under control easily.
 

TheWhat

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We get away with a bank that is ~3x our initial 8 Player 100BB buy in, and do it with less than 500 chips.

12x .25
12x 1.00
5x 2.00
5x 5.00

Get by with Rack of .25 - 1.00 - 5.00 and then Barrels of the 2.00 - 20.00.
 

AWenger

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It depends on how deep the game plays and personal preference. This game is a 1/2 game, with straddles to $5 (or more allowed). I typically buy in for $300 or less. When you can amass a larger stack of chips, it can be memorable to have 2 racks+ in front of you. This pic is from a good night of run-good. This game usually runs with 8-10 racks of the workhorse $5 chips in play.

1601681791359.png
 
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