Some ideas to discuss

A couple of different people have been talking to me about how the increased aggression at the games has made it harder for people with smaller bankrolls (not stacks, bankrolls) to play successfully in the game. This can be phrased as either “I don’t want to lose more than $20, but I want to play for more than 10 minutes” or “Man, I’ve lost $80 a week for the last several weeks”, or “it’s pretty ridiculous that we get as much money in the pot with 6 or 7 guys at a weekly game as we have with 15 at a tournament”.

Now, part of me wants to ignore these complaints (especially since on average this year I’m taking home a good chunk of those large pots and anything that limits pot size will reduce my take-home), and assume that everyone who’s complaining will eventually have a winning night that will make them happy about the format again, but I am concerned about the possibility of losing several people and not being able to depend on having a game at all.

So, in order to start the discussion, a couple of ideas. I’m just throwing these out there—feel free to suggest other ideas or modifications to these; especially if you’re one of the people who isn’t happy with the current situation:

  1. Can we have different stakes on different nights? For instance, could we switch (back) to the $5 buy-in on the 1st and 3rd week of the month? The idea here is to both “slow the bleeding” and make a smaller stake last longer (at least $20 could be 4 all-ins, instead of 2). The problem here is that this magnifies the dominance of someone who does establish a large stack.
  2. Can we try some nights where we play with a structured limit (or hell, even a pot limit) rather than everything being no-limit? This doesn’t even have to be a “special night” thing, but could just be something that people call when it’s there crack at dealer’s choice. Instead of calling “Hold ‘Em” call “25-50 Limit Hold ‘Em” or something. This would obviously change the dynamics of play substantially, and presumably in a way that would result in smaller pots, and fewer bust outs. The downside here is that pretty much everyone in the universe agrees this is less fun than regular Hold ‘Em (precisely because it is less dangerous). The other downside is that this will just magnify the “can’t bluff anyone off anything at this table” issue.
  3. Can we limit the number of buyins at (some of) the weekly games? The idea here would be to do two things: first, to prevent the weekly pots of getting really big, which in turn would prevent a lot of the “swinging my stack” behaviour that can cripple people with small bank rolls. The second effect would be to artificially level the playing field for people with different economic realities: it doesn’t matter how many times I could afford to buy in if I know that I can only buy in three times a night—and you want to believe that during that third buyin I’ll be playing like quarters matter to me, because I don’t want to have to go home.
  4. Can we have some nights without crazy games? I know that some people work hard all night to build up a decent stack during real poker, and then are actually crushed when they get into a “four aces versus five queens” situation at the river. The crazy games are the thing that prevents the answer to a complaint of “I keep losing more money than I really want to every week” from being “well, play better”. I suspect that having some weeks be “all poker” would also help with some of the people who are complaining.

6 Responses to “Some ideas to discuss”

  1. I think we should increase the buy-ins to $20 and start crazy games at
    10:30…..But seriously I think the night without crazy games would be the best
    idea….although I think people lose just as much at omaha.

  2. Huh. Here I thought I was the only one. My vote for (maybe periodic) weekly games would be thethree buy-in cap, as I can never stay late enough for"crazy games" anyway. But then, I'm such an irregularattendee… this may seem like insanity to some. Democracy rules.

  3. I concur on the rising stakes crushing out some of the lesser-wealthy members of the HGPA. We don’t want this to become two-tiered, and since I seem to often be on the losing end of things I am happy to cap my losses in some signifigant way. The people who play well will still get paid, the people who don’t will lose less and people who only want to blow $20 instead of $40 can do so in style.

    Suggested Options:

    Lowering Stakes
    I think if we lower the stakes we should stick to it, none of this alternating shit. I’m okay with the stakes the way they are but if people are down with a shift back to the $5 buy-ins, I’m okay with that too. This will make a large stack even harder to get at, but we could have $100 buy-ins or $1 buy-ins and this problem would prevail. It’s part of poker, that’s that.

    Limit Games
    I personally don’t care for Limit Games as it hinders my style of play (aggressive/lunacy). We could try it a few times to see how it goes, but I think you’d still see the same people chasing flushes and gut-shot straight draws, only now they have to pay less to do so.

    Limited No. of Buy-Ins
    I kind of like this idea, even though I’d likely be one of the first people to suffer under its enacting. This would “level” the field a bit and force people to play almost like they do in a tourney after the third round. It would neuter some of the “what the hell” feel of the games, but I’d be interested in giving this a whirl. What would the limit be? I’d think four would be the minimum, but that’s up for debate.

    Ditching Crazy Games
    I’m getting kind of sick of crazy games as it is. I know I’m not the only one, either. The only fun things that ever happen in crazy games are some small stack tripling up on AAAAA over some big stacks KKKKK. Most of the time it’s small stacks desperately trying to parlay their medium-good hand and getting crushed by big stacks. Everyone is drunk or high and it’s more like tossing grenades around on the table than actual poker. I’d be fine to ditch these things, personally.Thoughts?

  4. I think dropping the buying back down to $5 would probably work best because when someone goes all in 2 hands after buying back in it's only for $3-$4 instead of $8-$9. I don't think that eliminating crazy games will really help any. There have been many nights that crazy games have been the only reason that as a short stack that i was able to get back to even. Also he have always said that when we start crazy games if some one wants to cash out that we won't hold it against them. Everyone knows the risk of crazy games. Also limiting the number of buy-ins is really up to the person buying in. I'm sure that i've lost more than anyone else this year. I stopped counting at $1500 and I can't really try to blame anyone else or the HGPA for allowing me to buy-in $80 a night. I know when I'm going to cards how much money I'm willing to lose.

  5. Lowering the buy-in to 5 won't help when we are so used to playing with 10 in chips (we would still bet 1 pre-flop being 1/5 of your stack now). So a 5 buy in, with 10 in chips maybe. Would make our money last longer.Limit sucks! 

  6. I've noticed that lowering the buy-in has increased the agressive betting.