things to look for when assessing the quality of a home game..

xdan

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things I look for:

chips

i played in a game where they were using tourney chips as cash chips.. not so bad
50's = 50c
100's = $1
500's = $5
1000's = $10

BUT, the worst setup I came across was 'lets just use the chips and have them worth half the value'
100's = 50c
500's = $2.50
etc..

Next time I played with them, I brought my chips, which are a proper cash set.
we were playing 50c/$1 cash game

My cash set has 25c/$1/$5/$25 chips.

when they look at my chips, I got 'how are we meant to do 50c blind??' .. are you serious!?!?!?!?

this should have been a sign to take my chips and go home..

anyways, end rant
 

slisk250

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Good chips are obviously great but as long as the game runs well and there are good people, it is actually fun to play (even with crap chips). I look for a game that has a competent dealer, players who at least know a little etiquette, etc. In one microcash game we play, 100 riyals gets you 200 chips. Its no big deal. It's a fun table because my good friend and I are playing under our budget and the table is a mix of tight and loose. Very easy win here. What else do I look for:

1. good people
2. good music
3. people that know the basics.
 

TexRex

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Here's my checklist:

  1. I look for good people regardless of quality of players. Some really nice people aren't good players and don't know etiquette and rules well, but if they are teachable, I can live with that.
  2. I look for a good tournament structure -- not a luckfest. One sure way to not get me back or not not get me to come in the first place is to have a tournament that is based mostly on luck. I want the structure before I commit to come, and I will analyze it. I want to know what I'm getting into before I commit the time and money to come.
  3. If the host doesn't really know how to run a tournament, I'll volunteer, but if they don't get someone who knows how to run a tournament, I'm not coming back. Directing a tournament is very different than good structure. You need both.
  4. Well-defined rules. It's very frustrating to see different things called misdeal. I've played in games where someone saying it was a misdeal is a misdeal. That's absurd. If they are going to have their own rules, make a printed version available! Then tell us what the back up rules are since short rules leave a lot out. I don't mind house rules if they aren't ridiculous, but I'd like to know what the primary rules are. If they say "Hoyle's," that don't have rules.
  5. No rake, or any other illegal activity.
  6. I prefer denominated chips. If they don't have those, I prefer standard colors. I know they are your chips, but when you decide your dice chips are blue = 25, yellow = 50, red = 100, green = 500, purple/lavender = 1000; orange = 5000, white = 10000, etc., it's confusing. Not to you because you are used to it. But it's hard on new players, and hard on players who play in multiple games. The next host has a totally different scheme that doesn't make any sense either. That's not a killer, but boy, everything else better be pretty good. I played in a game where the host had no idea there was something of a standard. This should be a rule: Either use denominated chips or use standard values for the colors -- red = 5; green = 25; black = 100; purple/lavender = 500; orange/yellow = 1000; and after that, there seems to be no standard.
  7. Pet peeve -- I don't mind self-dealing, but when a player has to deal to the other end of a 7 or 8 foot table, it slows the game down and more cards are exposed, which wastes time. Appoint the two people in the middle on either side to do the dealing with rectangular or oval tables.
  8. Don't have the cut go to the dealer's left. It goes to the right. That's actually a basic rule. Most of the games I play in a player behind the dealer shuffles, and the dealer cuts because he hasn't touched the cards to that point. That works with 2 decks. Most dealers offer it to the right or do it themselves, but I see some offering the cut to the guy getting the first card.
  9. I won't play a cash game if they are using tournament chips in the cash game. To me, this is just a disaster waiting to happen, and I've seen it happen more than once -- chip migration. Since tournament chips become worth less and less as the tournament goes on, and cash chips don't, a player could hold out a low value tournament chip and insert it in the cash game where it's worth is more and constant. It can happen accidentally if chips are ever spilled on the floor. I've seen players who won go home losers because there was no cash to cover their winning chips. Even if it's not cheating, it's frustrating and the results are the same.
  10. For cash, it has to make sense. A $.25/.50 blind, $3 limit, with a $20 buy-in won't get you through one big hand. I want at least 30 max bets, and preferably 40 minimum, or at least 100x the BB, preferably 150-200x.

Xdan, your rant was justified. Slisk, with so many different tastes in music, "good music" is very hard to define. I don't want the music to be too loud, but will tolerate almost anything if it's not too loud. When I host, the only constant on the music is it won't be the same two months in a row. I've done country, big band, classical, pop, easy listening, movie themes, rock, Latin, bluegrass, Christmas (only in December), and have even done sound tracks on CD's. I have a diverse group and no kind of music will satisfy everyone.
 
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NiceShot

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things I look for:

chips

i played in a game where they were using tourney chips as cash chips.. not so bad
50's = 50c
100's = $1
500's = $5
1000's = $10

BUT, the worst setup I came across was 'lets just use the chips and have them worth half the value'
100's = 50c
500's = $2.50
etc..

Next time I played with them, I brought my chips, which are a proper cash set.
we were playing 50c/$1 cash game

My cash set has 25c/$1/$5/$25 chips.

when they look at my chips, I got 'how are we meant to do 50c blind??' .. are you serious!?!?!?!?

this should have been a sign to take my chips and go home..

anyways, end rant

Don't tap the aquarium :).
 

bigfruits

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with one group i play with, we sometimes do a .50/.50 cash game with .50 chips and one player complains about how the BB and SB are the same.
i brought out a different cash set with quarters to play .25/.50 last night. the same guy mentioned that we should play .50/$1 next time so that we do not have to use two chips every time we call BB. i told him that is fine but i will buy in with $100. he then suggested we go back to .50/.50 next week.
 

Shaggy

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I played with a group one time using non denominated dice chips. Quarter fiddle cash game. In their infinite wisdom, all chips were quarters. The multicolored 500 chip set were just all quarters. Total bank of $125. Basically after an initial round of $20 buyins, the chips are gone. Frequent all ins because of short stackedness. As players get felted and need to rebuy, they give cash to the big stack to get more chips. The big stack then pockets the cash. That was the worst part, I'll just barely mention my dissatisfaction with betting in mountains of quarters.
 

Quicksilver-75

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Rules, rules, rules. I can look past the chips and people. In fact I prefer having some assholes at the table. The biggest complaint I have are not following fairly straightforward rules. For example "string betting". Just because KGB does it in his big scene doesn't make it ok.
Talking about the cards you folded...
Sighing after a flop......
Not paying attention during the action.."how much is it??"
If the game is sound I'd play with dog turds for chips.
 

xdan

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Rules, rules, rules. I can look past the chips and people. In fact I prefer having some assholes at the table. The biggest complaint I have are not following fairly straightforward rules. For example "string betting". Just because KGB does it in his big scene doesn't make it ok.
Talking about the cards you folded...
Sighing after a flop......
Not paying attention during the action.."how much is it??"
If the game is sound I'd play with dog turds for chips.

sums it up.

people reacting to the flop does my head in.. especially when they go on about how they folded 7 2 and the flop comes K 7 7 ...
 

Poker Zombie

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Also on the good people train, but I am also a giant fan of coherent rules. Good rules keep good people good.

Good people can learn all but the obscure rules in a single sitting, and won't make the same mistakes/rule violations over and over again. If you're dumber than a sack of hammers, you won't ever land in my "good people" list, because I have zero tolerance for stupid people. This should not to be mistaken for people that make "stupid" poker moves. Calling a 4-bet with 9-5 off isn't the smart move in the long run, but sometimes you fake the field goal and run the ball for a first down. -EV, but it is the play that gets remembered on Sportscenter.

I also do not like non-denominated dice chips. I understand you do not want or cannot afford good chips. I can bring my travel set. If you don't trust me, and think I may sneak extra chips into play, I understand. I will then introduce 300,000 in extra dice chips. Now do you want to try a better chip?

In fact, all equipment is a factor when assessing the quality of a home game (or a casino game for that matter). Good tables, cards that aren't warped, nicked or otherwise marked. Room volume. General atmosphere. Solid blind structures in tournaments (none of this doubling the blinds every time someone is eliminated). The feeling that I won't get robbed before, after or during the game - either by a crook or by the cops.

In short, there isn't a solid rule or formula for evaluating a home game. I've hosted enough to know every host has limitations (mine is space). I also see the "extras" that make a good game great. If a game feels thrown together, I won't say I won't play, but I will try to help you improve the game. If you refuse to improve, I will find something better.
 

10centguitar

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Eh....I basically only play in home games if they are friends or I know a person or two.
If they are douches, not only will I not come back, i will cash out right away and leave.
I always try to help them out with their game. Im just friendly and give pointers if they are wanted.



Its ok to play for nickles and quarters if you are realistic and your expectations aren't too high.

Sadly, Ive seen 2/5 games that play with crapy 14cent slugged chips. Security is taken care of someone breaking your hands or legs if you cheat.


If someone has a home game, its just that.

If they spend thousands of dollars of their retirement money on an epic man-cave with a custom table, custom chips, a wet-bar and pay a dealer all whilst playing .25/.50 youre a very lucky duck to be invited. So behave.


But whether or not we like it, or we are delusional enough to believe otherwise, the majority of home games in this country are played on the kitchen table on a fold-out crap table with dice chips. (maybe a little better than how I just described, but by PCF standards, not much)
 

Jaywa

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I play regularly in 3 games (1 being my own) and what OP says about the structure is abundantly clear. One of the games starts each player with 60BB. Blinds go up every 15 minutes and you can only rebuy until the 1st level ends. So the entire beginning of the game sees people insta-shoving with Ax suited. It's maddening. The other game is better but still a little fast for my taste.

My game starts each player with 200BB, blinds are 20 minutes (Thinking about going to 18) and the rebuy period is until the first break, which is 7 levels in. I like that. You can play the game and not HAVE to hit good cards.

I also prefer denomed chips. Just makes it much easier.

The only other pet peeve I have is players that are there to play poker. I'm a VERY social person, love talking to my friends etc. But when I sit at that table I'm there to play a game. Players that have to be constantly reminded to post their blinds, or never know what the bet is, or, and this is the worst, TALK INCESSANTLY drive me crazy. At one of my games a player feels that if there is a second of silence she must begin speaking about whatever comes into her head, never knows it's her turn and gives me a headache every time. I've taken to wearing headphones at that game and I hate when players do that in home games.
 

trever

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A cash game with guys that can't add 25+25 sounds like a fantastic game. I recommend that you suggest changing the game to 1-2 to "keep the math easy"
 

derekdd23

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For me...

Denominated chips
House enforces players following the rules for people that know them, and has some leeway for those that are learning or make a honest mistake
A majority of the people NOT wearing sunglasses or headphones
Reasonably clean
Decent plastic cards
Decent neighborhood
Felted decent table
Consistent tournament payouts(I've been to places where the number of payout spots changed depending on the hosts mood)
Decent tournament structures.
Good conversation

If I am paying rake:
I expect to know how much is raked ahead of time
Have professional dealers that don't also play
House does NOT get free tournament entries and re-entries(I played at a place where the house was shoving incessantly to build a big stack and never paid for 1 rebuy while dealing! Not to mention not telling us that there was more rake then advertised)
Decent food
Some whales
 
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