Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stakes and Chips III

We have tried playing .50/1 for the past two weeks. Let's hear the feedback on how you think it is going.


Adam said...

While I'm just the tail of this particular dog, I like the 25/50 stakes, and would urge us to go back to those. My reasoning:

1) From a personal perspective, what I love about this game is that it's affordable exposure to very good NL holdem. (If I play disastrously, I lose $180...which is meaningfully less than $300) While my secondary goal is to make/not lose money in the game, my primary goal is to learn how the hell to play NL holdem. The cheaper stakes liberate me to try different things and learn new approaches other than being the most ABC of the ABCs. The newer, higher stakes (because they double the cost and because they lead to more short stack play) impinge on that goal.

2) From a more universal perspective, I really dislike the idea of pricing regulars or semi-regulars out of the game. I (just now) saw the earlier posts re Austin, Brant and Royal being priced out. In addition, I've observed a couple guys not being able/willing to re-buy after losing one buy-in. And, I won't speak for any of them, but I'd prefer that we not price anyone out of the game, especially in the absence of some compelling need.

I guess I missed from the earlier exchange what the pressing need is. I'd be disappointed if the purpose of the move is simply to get more money on the table. If it's "chip bloat" (which I take to mean that the table is clogged by huge stacks of chips), the # of players is limited by the tiny table surface. If that's the true evil, I'd suggest using different denomination chips (i.e., have some $1 chips -- perhaps those yellow ones). During Martin's illness, we played with three denominations, and there were far fewer chips in play. What else motivated the change?

3) If the crowd (or the core) has a taste for bigger games, it seems to me that the weekend games (which seem to occur about every other or third week) provide that opportunity.

Ok, I'm done. Just wanted to vent my spleen. It's your game, and I'm just an appreciative guest, so its obviously your call....

(By the way, this is a big day for me - no longer a blogging virgin. "Mr. Blogger Sherr" from now on, please.)

Anonymous said...


I'll try to shield you from the probable avalanche of mathematical models that the regulars will throw at you to indicate that in fact, .50/1 costs less than .25/.50. In my opinion, that is a giant leaking trojan horse full of poo. The fact of the matter is, there are several long time regulars, and some new ones, who have the money to play higher stakes and want to make our game a higher stakes game, apparently the stakes in our little game were not worth the time or the effort (?).

I hope the rise in stakes has made most of the regulars happy and what we have now is not a temporary halt in an ever escalating game.

As a solution, some of us are going to start a lower stakes game during the week, to be hosted at Surreal and to be played just as seriously as the higher buy-in. This will allow those of us with shorter bankrolls to try to enjoy the game instead of worrying about our dwindling rent money. Those interested in playing a serious game with smaller stakes are encouraged to talk to me when I am at WNP again. We are doing this since the majority of people at WNP are comfortable and happy at higher stakes and the majority rules.

jsola said...

I agree 100% with Adam.

Personally, through a mixture of bad play and bad luck, I've been pretty much cleaned out over the last couple weeks of poker at the new stakes. Normally I could handle a downswing like this, but with the higher stakes it's just too expensive.

I play at the late night game for fun and to work on my game. Winning more money on a good night is not something I especially care about, so I personally don't see the need for the increased stakes. If I want to make money, I'll go the casino where I actually have an edge :P

So yeah, unless the stakes go back down, I'll be taking a break from the Wednesday game for a while.

Anonymous said...

It is our intention, with a lower stakes game to have any of the regulars in WNP be participants in LSP with the idea that we all take the game seriously and LSP not become "gamble" night where high bankroll players come to play blind and try to see who's gamble-wiener is bigger. the above statement is not meant to try to isolate or eliminate participation, just a request that if you come to LSP, respect the fact that we made it because we don't have the same resources but we do have the same love for the game.

Marshall said...

I think the quality of play has spiked up dramatically. Almost gone are the days of someone putting in a totally reasonable raise and getting called by the whole table. And when that has happened, people are getting punished accordingly.

Our game at .25-.50 plays extremely loose. Way looser than any "real" game. I am sorry, but it is a far cry from "real poker" when someone in a cash game can raise it up to 4x the blinds in EARLY position and be essentially called by the table. And beyond that, it's fully expected at our game, which is awful. It turns our game into much more of a donkfest and makes it so that if you want to put in a bet preflop that people will actually fold to (you know, as if the stakes actually mattered to them on some level) you have to either put in like 16 or re-raise someone to 20-something plus. This is silly. This is no advanced game where people feel compelled to put in 8-12 times the big blind just to get someone to fold preflop.

Also as outlined before, when we have people routinely straddling and putting in 12-16 just as a normal raise, we are putting in the 3-4 dollars each preflop anyway. And while that might not sound like much, it's approximately the amount we are raising at the new stakes. Also, 4 dollars is only 4% of a full by at our new stakes, but it's 15% of a full buy at our old stakes. While this didn't happen every round, it did happen often enough and not surprisingly it happened when the biggest pots were formed.

I have been pretty happy with the level of play and overall reduction in encouraging extremely loose play.

I don't however love the idea of people not being able to play as often...

Ulfendar said...

"Also as outlined before, when we have people routinely straddling and putting in 12-16 just as a normal raise, we are putting in the 3-4 dollars each preflop anyway."

This is why I like the new stakes. It's a fairly minor preference, and I wouldn't be unhappy if we went back to the old stakes either. With the old stakes I felt like 10-12 chips was the standard pre-flop raise. That makes the game a much deeper stack affair (the blinds are truly trivial), but I think we're lying to ourselves if we say that we were really playing for smaller stakes in that case.

Also: I didn't rebuy last week because I was playing badly and feeling loopy from meds, not because of the stakes. Unless we'd been playing penny ante I wouldn't have put more money on the table. I probably shouldn't have put in the 100$ I did, but what can I say, I'm a degenerate gambler.

Ulfendar said...

Also: I really hear what Adam's saying about losing 3x 60 being significantly different from 3x 100. I do find that to be true, and I'm planning on trying short buy ins (I'm thinking 50$) next time I play (this week or next, depending on scheduling). A big part of that is the way I play, however, so someone with a different play style may find that difficult/impossible to do.

jsola said...

I don't feel like the stakes are responsible for reducing the numbers of players preflop. They have reduced our buy-in from 110 BB to 100, and we also have more people buying in short for 50 or 60 BB. Shorter stacks encourage tighter play, and conversely, deeper stacks make limping and calling with a wide range much more valid.

I believe that removing the straddle has done more to reduce preflop craziness than anything. From a psychological standpoint, a straddle says to the players "let's GAMBOOOL." Beyond that, the straddle creates a ton of dead money out there, and raising light to steal it is appealing and totally the right thing to do, so we see a lot of it. This bloats the pot, enticing others to come along and hit with their miracle lottery cards. Good players who straddle realize that their straddle is being attacked with substandard holdings and defend appropriately. Again, we get big pots and seemingly "donkish" play, but not really "bad" poker.

I don't see the need to raise the stakes to get people to play better. If everyone is calling your preflop raises, then adapt. I've taken to limp/raising with big hands from EP because I know that I'm going to get a ton of limpers behind and someone else is going to try stealing that dead money like 80% of the time.

Also, I don't consider the stakes when I put chips out there. If someone raises preflop and I'm on the button with 44 I'm calling whether it's a $0.10 game or a $1000 game. I'd like to think that we're all beyond the point of thinking of our chips as real money, and if any of us aren't, this is a dangerous way for them to learn. Do we want to bankrupt new players to the game, causing them to quit playing altogether because they can't afford to learn the ropes?

Woodrow said...

Here's the problem. Nobody here is complaining about how the stakes are making them play "too tight", only that their bad decisions or bad beats cost them more. If lower stakes are "liberating" people into trying things that they wouldn't normally do for higher stakes, that's promoting bad play. If we dropped down to .01/.02 blinds I'm sure people could "experiment" by calling with 8 high. The game would disintegrate.

The play at .25/.50 has reached a level of comfort that no longer promotes good play. If someone is down to close to half a buyin at those stakes, they become "shippable". Some players have not yet adjusted to the new stakes, and consider situations that would normally be "shippable" at the .25/.50 level to be "shippable" at the .50/1 level. This is incorrect. I think if you actually counted how much you were shipping across the table even at the lower stakes you'd be astounded.

We need to end this epidemic of shipping. This isn't a sit-and-go. It's a cash game. Ideally, we should be able to disconnect monetary value from our chips and play our very best game at any stakes, but that's not how it works. The less you are risking, the less you care about your decisions, and the worse you play.

If anyone here was complaining about the game turning into a giant knit-fest because of the higher stakes, then we would have an issue. Aside from that, all decisions you now make at WNP should warrant your complete attention and respect, the way it should be.

Woodrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jason said...


Animated comments and people with really strong feelings one way or the other, got to love it.

I do like Adam's comments that small stakes encourage people to try different styles of play. If anyone has watched me play on line, and a couple of you have, I can't play as ridiculously loose and aggressive as I do at WNP and expect to win money consistently over time. But I do enjoy playing loose poker, stealing Jeh's straddle from UTG with garbage and some of the other silly things I do.

What's important to me is that the stakes are meaningful enough so that people will not call you down just for the sake of information, knowing that the chip value is meaningless. The higher value of the chips still was not high enough for people to not make great calls against me. Drew made a great call with Ace high on a double paired board, and Martin made a good call with A4 with a 4 being second pair. Even though I lost both hands, I am happy for this as I don't think we should try to create an atmosphere of scared poker players on a weekly game. Drew and Martin would have made these calls at the smaller stakes as well so I am not sure the game has really changed that much from my perspective.

I think Jeh's comments on an earlier post were best,

"Even HIGHER personal preference: a game where everyone feels comfortable with whatever decision we come to."

So if we start to lose a bunch of players, and the game is set up so players with bigger bankrolls can play for more meaningful stakes at the expense of the group, I think the higher stakes is a failure. If we attract new players, or the overall group just feels that the quality of play and poker has improved, then we have a winner.

I am going to attend whether the stakes are high or the stakes or low. Personally I enjoy higher stakes better but not at the expense of the group. I will have to paraphrase something Ryan said, otherwise this will just sound too cocky and arrogant. When Jason comes, he is coming for the joy of the game as he is foregoing a much more profitable evening playing on line.

Joy of the game translates to everyone having fun, and if too many people are stressed out about their personal bankrolls, we might have to adjust the thinking of higher stakes.

Ryan said...

I have many thoughts and will post them later. In the meantime, I want this thing to email me when someone comments, so...hi!

Adam said...

Wow, great arguments. For the record (man, I write like a lawyer), I did not use (nor imply the use of) the term "gamble-wiener," although it has made my day. Thanks, Brant.

To echo Jason a bit (scary), I will in all likelihood continue to play whether or not we go back to .25/.50. If my losses become personally unbearable (I believe I am +/- $10 for my entire Surreal experience), I will adjust my attendance accordingly.

Push comes to shove, I'd rather err on the side of not excluding regulars, although (to the extent I understand anything Marsh says), Marsh, Woody and Drew make good points. Especially Woody and Drew.

Looking forward to reading Ryan's reasoning....

Marshall said...

BTW this sentiment (mainly from Brant) about people just wanting to get more money on the table or trying to measure our "gamble-weiner" is fucking tilting the shit out of me. What a fucking bullshit thing to say. I don't come to WNP to win money, I come to get better at poker.

I would love to play in some bigger games someday, 5-10 or whatever. But I want a training ground, playing with good players. I have learned more from you guys at WNP than anywhere else for sure, but I really feel like the game had gotten a bit too loose/donkerrific.

Joe you cite that people should just adjust to the looseness, and I agree (and have), but I would say that people need to adjust to the new stakes as well. And I have seen some people do it and some not.

Brant if you would look at what I am saying with the math I am sure you would see my point. It's not some fucking sham to try to get you to lose your "rent money" (ever consider that playing with your rent money isn't the best life decision?). You are talking to someone who played for 1.5 MONTHS online at .02-.04c buying in for $2.40 just in an effort to improve my game. I obviously have no problem with stakes being low.

It's just that, like Jason said, if it gets to the point that people just toss in money for information's sake or just can throw in 12 big blinds preflop with their favorite pet hand, the game has become a bit out of hand. It is no longer even resembling a normal game environment. And yes I can just adjust to win more, but it's rarely training for other bigger games.

Austin said...

I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the new stakes. I like the idea that people are going to tighten up a bit and play "better" poker, but I don't like the stakes themselves. I don't make enough right now to justify playing at the levels we do. That's fine, I'm probably on the low end for what people make at the game so I don't think I should really be taken into account for it. I do, however, have opinions. Those are free, so I shall share them :).

To illustrate my point, I had a hand in the game two weeks ago that I played. It was the first week we had tried it out and I had bought in for $60. I was nitting it up and then had JJ in the BB. Jeh raises it to 8, I pop him to 22 or something. Flop comes K with 2 blanks. I cbet with 30, Jeh insta calls and I'm done with the hand. If you look at how many chips I have left after the confrontation, I now have nearly half my stack gone from a not entirely loose play. The idea going into the raise up to $100 buy in was that you could still buy in at $60 and be ok. The problem is that you really start out with nearly half of a regular stack and people were still playing the old style, but with raised prices. I certainly don't think I'm one of the best players at the game, but I like going to improve my game. I feel like we've raised the stakes, but the game has stayed the same. Perhaps this is a "not in the long run" type deal, but I don't have the bankroll to manage the swings. Plus, as Jason does, I play for fun. This poker game is so much better than other ones I've played if only because everyone knows mostly what they're doing (and those who don't tend to exit early).

If I were completely ignoring the bankroll management we stressed with the cake challenge I'd be all over this game. As it is, I'm going to be good and sit out except for the rare game where I feel gamboly.

Woodrow said...

See but in that example, your trapping yourself. If you're going to buy in short, you have to play short stack. Which means that you make a decision right then and there to either pot commit yourself, or limp and see what the flop brings.

You no longer have the option to put in a traditionally sized bet, C-bet the flop with an over on board, and then fold to pressure. That's not correct short stack play. Lessons like these are why the stakes should be raised. "I can just rebuy" should NEVER be part of your poker strategy.

Austin said...

That is NEVER my strategy unless I'm shipping with 20 chips or something. My point was that you can no longer play the same game and I'm automatically short stacked at these stakes. I think I made that point by you acknowledging my short stackedness. I realize that I have to change my play, but I'm also saying that I don't want to play short stacked poker.

Woodrow said...

You rebuy at the lower stakes, correct? 2 rebuys that the lower stakes = $120. 1 full buy at the current stakes = $100. If rebuying is never part of your strategy, and you don't want to play short stack, AND you were willing to buy in at least twice at the lower stakes, then why not play a full buyin at the current stakes and play more solid. That's the point everyone who is in favor of the higher stakes are trying to make. People would rather be able to ship it in there, get unlucky or not catch up or whatever, and then rebuy for a full buyin. This is not constructive to your poker game. Playing one full buyin correctly is far more useful to your poker experience then playing 2 buyins sub optimally.

Ryan said...

Stakes are simply the most oddly subjective things in poker. Would any quasi-regular want the game to be $.01/$.02 with $2 buys? Doubtful. Would any regular want the game to be $25/$50 with $5,000 buys? Also doubtful (maybe Jason). Why are we not at $2 buys, though, or even just play chips? Is it just because we "want more money on the table?" That's a loaded oversimplification of a very subjective issue.

For me, I like $100 (I'm gonna refer to stakes by their maximum buyin) because it feels roughly correct given my bankroll. It is the spot where losing hurts enough that I'm taking my game very seriously, but not so much that a bad session is going to gouge my roll, affect my non-poker finances, or seriously damage my psyche. I think that describes the "correct stakes" for anyone looking to play a serious game of poker.

No group is going to 100% agree on where that spot is, though, and it is fairly fruitless to lob reasons back and forth why as to why Brant should just embrace $100 or Marsh should just embrace $60 (These two will be my poster boys for the two stakes). The discussion helps define what we're all looking for in our poker, but nothing said is likely to affect what stakes feel ideal to a given player.

So, what do we do? We have been facing two-table nights every week now as it is. Why can't we accommodate both stake levels when 10+ is the norm at this point anyway? As long as the turnout (and the location) supports it, I think we should have a $60 table and a $100 table, with a contingency plan for nights with single-table turnout.

For the sake of making each session of WNP meet everyone's expectation, are people willing to establish their "default settings" and be highly responsive to Martin's emails? If everyone plants a stake in the ground next to one of these preferences:

In for $60 only
In for $100 only
Prefer $60, in for either
Prefer $100, in for either

...and then gets back to Martin promptly from week to week (or turns on a default to 'yes'), it seems to me the WNP game could be fitted on the fly to match the desires of the available players. Those in the last two camps could be used to even out tables as well. Will this mean that Brant is always at the .25/.50 when I'm at the .5/1 on two-table nights? Yes. So be it. If I really want to play with Brant, I can switch to the .25/.50 table.

Will it mean that not everyone who wants to play in a given week will be able to play at their desired stakes? Yes. Sorry, but a game like ours with lots of regulars that is trying to stay inclusive, it is no more appropriate to force Brant to play at undesirably high stakes each week to accommodate Marsh than it is to force Marsh to play at undesirably low stakes each week to accommodate Brant.

The biggest problem I see with attempting a two-table system for a trial run is the unfair burden it puts on Martin. It is tough work to manage a single game, much less bank two tables under different stakes, so I'd like to hear from him. If someone who prefers the .25/.50 game is ready to step up and co-run poker nights as the $60 banker with a different chip set, great. It sounds like Brant was going to do that anyway, I just don't think there's a need to be so secessionist about it.

The games could be run separately, and sometimes space might dictate that when Surreal is not an available location, but I would much prefer having two tables running in the same room at stakes every player is happy with. It would feel more like the "poker club" that makes this group so fun and cool to play with in the first place. If two tables are running and thin out to the point where it is clear we should combine, we combine. If there's not enough interest for two tables to begin with, Martin takes the RSVP data and makes the call on what the format will be.

Those are my thoughts on WNP stakes, but I also feel the need to respond to Brant's second post, because I am insulted by it. Brant, I'm putting you on notice: quit masking your frustration with your own game by writing off aggressive players at your table as simply "trying to see whose gamble-wiener is bigger." If that is TRULY what is going on--two guys who don't give a crap about the money or the poker at hand and are just trying to prove they are the Alpha Dog while you play your A game--you should be fucking THRILLED. You should CRUSH that game.

If you think we that's what you think is going on--a bunch of blind gamblers who don't care about the money shoving chips around for kicks--yet you are FAILING to crush the game, then you need to rethink your perspective. Maybe calling your preflop raise with marginal holdings, reading weakness from you and then betting you off the hand when you miss is *strategy*. Maybe they saw a flop with garbage when you raised preflop because they feel they can outplay you on the flop...stack you when they hit, get away cheap when they miss, and steal some pots when you seem weak.

Maybe when two aggro players go at it when you aren't even in the hand, it ISN'T just cock-measuring. Maybe they are actually several levels up, trying to read each other, trying to figure out if this is a place to snap off a bluff or fold top pair. Maybe they think that applying extreme pressure with weak holdings is actually +EV based on their read, that it's GOOD POKER in the long run even if they are wrong sometimes in the short run. Maybe their fucking cocks HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. is actually poker.

Brant, I consider you a friend and I hope my little rant doesn't affect that, but seriously: if you are failing to beat "gamboholic cock-measuring" over a long period of time, maybe that's not what it is. And if that *is* what it is, you should be happy to have that at your table.

jason said...

This is probably sick and wrong but I have to agree wholeheartedly with Ryan (BTW, Ryan, that was probably the second most entertaining rant next to the Jasonland one).

Reading through the last 25 comments on stakes, the single biggest objection was that you would end up sitting with the same folks all the time. Not optimal, yes, but I think secession is worse.

Realistically, I would think the tables would break out like this:

$100 table


$60 Table

Joe Sola

Floaters Up for either


My point is this, there is roughly an equal number of $100 players to $60 players, and quite a few of them feel passionately about playing at the stakes they desire.

Why can't we just accommodate both groups?

Sushi Cowboy said...

I agree with Ryan that it is fruitless to try to talk people into other people's preferred stakes. It is clear that some players don't care to play at .50/1 for whatever reason and I think the thing to concentrate on is what to do about it.

I would not mind running two different stakes on poker night. That was what I had previously proposed as one of the options in an earlier post. This is probably the most straightforward option though we would need to iron out more details.

Adam said...

"Separate but equal is inherently unequal." (Brown vs. Bd of Education of Topeka, KS, US Supreme Court, 1954)

Ok, this quote has nothing to do with anything....I've just always wanted to use it in something I wrote. Was hoping it'd be in my own supreme court brief, but this is (eh hem) a close second.

Separate tables? The proposal makes a lot of sense. What I don't like about it is that I want the opportunity to play with everyone. By some cruel fate, I've played with almost the exact same mini-group the last several times I've played (jeh, marsh, joe, woody, plus one random "other guy"). While I love being whipsawed by this group of fellows, I'd prefer to get to play with (and be the benefactor of)everyone. If we break into seperate groups, that opportunity seems semi-permanently lost. Especially if we're still going to get 10-12 players, I'd much rather the distribution be random. Also, from Jason's list, the $100 table is much more likely to be full, whereas the $60 table is more likely to be tiny.

How about this? For those occasions where there are at least 10 players, and at least 5 $100 players and 5 $60 players, we divide as to those groups? If not, we evenly distribute (as now), playing at the default stakes. In that case (given that the majority of the core favors the higher stakes), I'd support having the default being .50/1.

Seems like everyone wins. If enough LSP (to steal a term) players show up, a LSP game can be played. If not enough commit, the clear majority rules.

Ryan said...

I wrote the following in response to Jason before reading Adam's post, but it kind of serves as an answer to both.


Jason, the beauty of our current turnout is that we don't even have to predict the breakdown like that. For sure there are going to be enough "prefers" on either side to be able to create two balanced tables any night we have 10+ players.

A problem with the choices I suggested is that I doubt there are actually going to be any “$100 only” players, and just a handful of "$60 only." There will be many who prefer $100, but would any regular with free time and a hankering for cards choose not playing at all over playing $60? I doubt it.

Really, the choices should be something like:

* $60 only
* Prefer $60 but will play either
* No strong preference
* Prefer $100 but would play either
* $100 only, unless it's a $60, single-table night

If out of 12 people, 3 are "$100 Only," and 4 are "Prefer $100," one of the four in "Prefer $100" is randomly selected to play the $60 game with the other 5 players.

I doubt it will happen, but if more than half the participants are "$100 Only," then we can play 7/5, or someone can volunteer. The sticky part is working out what to do when there are single-table turnout numbers. I have thoughts on that I'd just as soon wait until Wednesday to share rather than try to explain here.

(Now I've read Adam's post)

Adam, it's never going to be perfect, but if you prioritize opponent variety over stake selection, which it sounds like you do, you can change your stake preferences from session to session to mix it up for yourself.

Marshall said...

I am fine with two tables at different stakes if that what it takes to keep people around etc.

I would be in the play whatever but prefer 100 group personally.

I do forsee major issues though logistically. I mean last game we had 5 people at one table. If one person leaves and it happens to be the 100 buck table, then people will complain about playing 4 handed. Soution? Combine tables to the lower limit. Ok so then what, do we keep our stacks? That wouldn't make any sense obviously to come over to a game with a big stack.

Marty I am 100% sure you have already started addressing this, but I wanted to bring it up here anyway.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I've emailed Brant and it sounds like there is discussion of making an evening game just like the lunch game.

That would mean one table running:
.25/.25 $25 buy in

and a second table running:
.50/1 $100 buy in

I don't see a huge problem with populating tables. If there is a .50/1 game going on and a group wants to play .25/.25, great. Since the players interested in the quarter game are already not showing up for the dollar game there isn't a huge issue with stealing players from the dollar game.

In my opinion the biggest issue I see is hosting. If no one in the office is interested in playing .50/1 and there is no quarter game going on then we don't have a babysitter. However, the dollar game could move. Drew and Ryan's place would probably be the two closest alternate locations if they were available.

Adam said...

Martin -- are you suggesting two games at two different locations? That, to me, is the worst of all worlds.

As I said, I want to play with everyone (based on a random draw), and don't want this game effectively blown up.

Plus, based on the list (as Jason constructed it) there aren't likely to be very many weeks where enough LSP players show up to support a game.

Doesn't seem as if moving the game (or both games) to an alternate spot would likely work either, as the couple times recently we played at Drew's, nobody from Surreal played.

After reading through all of this, I think we should presumptively stay with one stake level regardless of how many people show up. If the key to preserving Surreal as a reliable location is having 25/50 available, that should be the default stakes. If there are enough people to support two games (one at each level), maybe then we split into the two camps, one playing LSP and the other playing .50/1.

Sushi Cowboy said...

So I'm going to go ahead and throw out a proposal for everyone to comment on.

Quarter table:
.25/.25 blinds
Straddles allowed
$25 max buy in/rebuy
Add on in $5 increments, $10 minimum, can exceed max buy in by a fractional stack
Grey six stripe chips each count as .25

Dollar table:
.50/1 blinds
No straddles allowed
$100 max buy in/rebuy
Add on in $10 increments, $20 minimum, can exceed max buy in by a fractional stack
Bellagios each count as .50

I will solicit people's input each week and publish who is interested in playing, their preferred stakes, and whether or not they will play exclusively at their preferred level.

If we can form at least one table of five players (including a host form the office) at mutually acceptable stakes then the game is on at the usual location. If we cannot form that table I will try to find an alternate location.

People are free to make a new table at the alternate stakes as long as they do not force the first table to dip below five players. They will also need to move back if the primary table dips below five players.

As long as moving does not break the primary table, players can move freely between tables. Chips from one table will not play at the other. If you want to return to a table you left earlier in the evening then you must buy in for the amount you cashed out for or you can buy up if you are below the max buy in.

Example 1: Chuck is the only one willing to host and prefers .50/1. Jeh, Marsh, Woody, and Jason all want to play .50/1 as well. The Dollar game is on at the office. If there are enough other players who want to play the Quarter game then they are free to start up a second table.

Example 2: Brant is the only one willing to host and prefers .25/.25. Martin, Adam, Jeh, Marsh, Jason, and Ryan are open to playing either stakes. The Quarter game is on at the office. If Jason, Woody, and Marsh want to play short handed .50/1 then they can start the second table since there would still be five player remaining at the primary table. If one of those five players needs to leave then one of the Dollar table players needs to come back.

Let me know what people think of that set up.

jtrey333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sushi Cowboy said...

I am not suggesting two different sites. I am saying that if we do not get a host at the office then I will look for an alternate location.

jtrey333 said...

I also agree that having WNP in two different locations is worst case scenario. That's a scenario that I would think everyone would want to avoid.

Sushi Cowboy said...

No, no, no. I am not suggesting two different sites. If we have someone from the office playing there then there would be no need to look for another place for the other game.

jtrey333 said...

I'm really confused as to what makes a table the "primary table". Would that be the table with more people?

And really, I don't like the proposed setup. Is moving back to .25-.50 w/ either $60 or $100 buyin out of the question?

Marshall said...

A few solutions pop to mind.

1. We just go back to 60 buck buy in. If we are going to lose players because of going to 100.00, we just go back to 60.00 and call it a day.

2. We go back to the blinds at .25-.50, but up the max buy in to 100.00. This way even if the game stays really loose/donkish, at least we won't feel shortstacked when we sit down.

3. On really busy nights we go to a 2 table setup. This doesn't seem all that likely to me too often, but why not keep the option open?

Otherwise we just keep the bigger blind games for the weekend.


Marshall said...

@adam and anyone else reading Jason's list. Let each person decide where they fall, not Jason (I know he didn't mean any harm). I personally don't fall where he put me, so ya.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I was suggesting that the primary table be the one that we can get enough people for.

If no one is willing to host at .50/1 but we can get a .25/.25 game together then that would be the primary.

If we have a host at .50/1 and enough to sustain a game at those stakes then that would be the primary.

Ryan said...

I think having a $100 table when there are two tables and a $60 table when there is one makes sense...condensing down to a $60 if we lose players, unless all remaininng players want $100.

Brant's desire to run a $25 game is another monkey wrench, though. Who are the players who strongly prefer a $25 game over a $60 game? I really think we need a clear stakes preference poll to come up with the ideal solution.

If I can keep my basement in some semblance of order, I can even be a two-table backup location, one in that main area and one in the tv room.

Woodrow said...

I vote for $1/$2. Let's get this game out of the fucking muck.

Ulfendar said...

No proposal so far seems unreasonable to me. I will say that a 25$ buy in game falls below my pain threshold, and it will be very difficult for me to play well there (not that I've played well recently, but I'm working on that).

jtrey333 said...

What do people think about going back to .25-.50 with either a $80 or $100 max buy by default? And possibly having two tables of different stakes IF we have an excess in attendance for a given night?

To me, that seems to be the most reasonable compromise at this point.

Adam said...

As long as we can call it the "Jeh" plan and not the "Marsh" plan, I support the Jeh plan.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I would like to hear back from the people who were opposed to .50/1 to see if they are still interested in .25/.50 or if they would prefer to move to .25/.25 instead.

If .25/.50 does not satisfy either camp then I don't see why we should make both camps unhappy.

jsola said...

0.25/0.50 was the sweet spot for me, I prefer it over 0.25/0.25 and 0.50/1.00. As it stands, if we had to draw lines, I would say I am "prefer $60 buy-in, will play $100 buy-in on occasion."

FWIW, I never saw us having 0.25/0.25 at your wednesday night games, Marty, I had imagined that would be something more Surreal-centric, with an open invitation to the existing WNP crew if they want to play at such low stakes. We've had a sudden resurgence in lunch poker interest in the company, and I'd like to help nurture that interest into a long term game.

chuck said...

I didn't read any of the replies, I just wanted to comment that personally I don't care what stakes we play at. I'm in for .5/1 and/or .25/5, so don't make any decisions based on whether or not you guys think I'd only host one or the other.

I'd probably prefer .5/1, but really I don't give a shit.

jason said...

I like the Sushi Cowboy suggestion. 2 tables is best with 2 different stakes provided we have enough interest in both.

As an internet player primarily, I like short handed tables. If I am playing primarily 8,9, or 10 handed smaller stakes game, the boredom factor hits too hard for me to enjoy myself.

A compromise of low stakes, deep stack buyins where I or others can buy in for $80 or $100 is not where I would like the game to go. So my vote is for the Sushi Cowboy solution with less interest in the Jeh, Marsh adaptions.

Marshall said...

Jase- I am sure we would all like to be able to run 2 games.... I mean if it were that easy my suggestion would be to run 5 games, one mixed game, one higher stakes NL, one lower stakes NL, one very low stakes NL, and one super deep staked mid stakes NL. Sound good?

I am sure you see my point. We barely have enough on our busy nights for 2 tables... And the logistics become a nightmare almost immediately.

Scenario: We have 13 people. 6 are playing the bigger game, 7 in the lower stakes. This is a pretty common turnout for our game. We get all bought in and everything is golden.

Then each table loses one guy. Now we are at 5 and 6 respectively. Some grumblings start from the people who don't like shorthanded play..

Now we can't just transfer people back and forth can we? If we do, do they cashout and then buy in for the new tables stakes? That obviously makes no sense, 'cause now it's halfway through the night and I am sitting on one buy in.

Or do I just take my stack over? If I am at the smaller game and am coming over to the big one then I am stortstacked and potentially out of my comfort zone.

Then what about when we combine both tables?

My point Jason, is that while it would be nice, it's probably not feasible without going to some pretty extreme lengths to accommodate.

The fact is that we need a solution that doesn't depend on the size of the group that particular night. Yes it's fine to have a plan contingent on us having a large group, but we need our base stakes to be more straightforward.

I already said my options. I don't think there is a single person who wants to play for .25-.25. And if there is, they are far in the minority.

I have done some asking around, and the majority seem to prefer .50-1 but will gladly go back to .25-.50. There are some that have said they will stop playing if we stay at .50-1, and while I can't personally agree with that, it is what it is. And it is unacceptable to lose players IMO.

SO, I say we go back down to .25-.50 to keep our valuable players.

I would propose that we up the max buy in to 100.00 though. This will help appease the players that feel short stacked when they sit down with only 60.00 in a game that often plays much bigger than it is. I mean we have Jason and others (somewhat jokingly) saying that their stack is shippable after it dips just a couple of 20-stacks below a full buy in. I know I feel that way early in the night, and feel that the real poker begins later in the evening when we are all deeper and have more decisions to make.

I am not sure of the downsides to this plan, as it wouldn't affect the people that want to keep buying in for 60.00, they would be getting the same stack they always have. But for the ones looking to up the stakes they could buy in for 100.00 and not feel like they are shortstacked out of the gate.


jsola said...

I like that idea a lot, actually

Ryan said...

FWIW, my idea on transitioning to one table from two was that, if $60 --> $100, $60 players could elect to double their stacks at the time of the transition (again, we would only go from $60 --> $100 if all players remaining wanted that). For $100 --> $60, $100 players would cash out half their stacks, unless doing so would put them under $60, in which case it would be optional.

Unorthodox, and would never fly in a casino, I know. But I think it would work, and would, as effectively as possible, preserve everyone's results to that point in the evening at the new stakes. It would be way better than resetting stacks, at least. Just a thought.

That being said, I can also accept .25/.50 with higher max as long as we try to have more $100+ weekend games. Then I can at least say, "Eh, I'm going to skip WNP this week but pay in the $100 at Jason's on Friday." I will try to host more of these myself.

The hybrid solution is to revert to .25/.50 as standard, but try the two-table solution suggested when turnout is like, 13+. As always, I am in favor of giving ideas a chance to work by actually trying them out for a night and then getting feedback.

Like how this mammoth thread was started.

Ulfendar said...

Is there any concern about chip bloat? A max buy in is going to be 400 chips.

Marshall said...


I assume you mean physically? That is handled pretty easily by Martin who has many options for denominations usually.

Ryan said...

Chip bloat is the easiest problem to solve. The important thing is to maintain comfort and happiness with stakes. Once we have that, coming up with a chip solution will be no problem.

Ryan said...

(Do I get a prize for being #50?)

Woodrow said...

Why don't we keep the stakes where they're at, and then have an optional kiddie game down the street? Players coming into the higher stakes game could be easily redirected to this alternate game. Thoughts?

Ryan said...

It *is* a strong point in favor of a two-table, split-stakes solution that, when outplaying someone at the $100 table, you can say, "The kiddie game is down the room, gentlemen."

Sushi Cowboy said...

Well if there is no demand for a .25/.25 evening game then I think we should at least try .50/.50 $100 as I had suggested before in the Stakes and Chips II post. If it works I think we should use this as the default unless we clearly have enough players for two separate stakes tables all night. Below is a description copied directly from a previous post.


.50/.50 blinds
$20-$100 buy in
each chip worth .50
optional straddle allowed

This structure would have the following attributes:

* Largely the same blind structure as we are currently playing. In theory this looks like everyone would be paying one extra quarter per orbit though in practice it will be less than that due to the amount of times that the SB actually ends up playing their hand.

* Having chips be worth .50 will cut down on chip bloat that has increased over the years yet still allow for fine resolution betting amounts like seven, 17, or 31.

* The standard $60 buy will provide 120 chips, a rack and a stack, which remains 120xBB and is still deeper than the usual 100xBB buy in for cash games. That will give people buying in for $60 the same amount of room to maneuver as before as opposed to having only 60xBB in a .5/1 game.

* With the straddle on, the game will largely resemble the .50/1 game which some favor.

* An optional straddle is what we currently have and having a "bigger BB" worth $1 is established territory.

* $100 maximum buy in would basically move the middle/late stages of the evening up to sooner in the session. After rebuys the table ends up having a similar amount of money on the table anyway.

* The same stakes would be used whether we are playing one table or more and everyone would have the opportunity to play with each other player.

Marshall said...

I personally am not in favor of any blind structure that uses the same amount for the small and the big blind. Even if it helps get us closer I think that it doesn't provide a realistic enough game compared to 99% of all games out there in the world.

Sushi Cowboy said...

All other things being equal I would prefer having the BB being 2x the BB. But I think that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks in this case, namely chip bloat and addressing the concerns of players who want the game to play higher than .25/.50.

I've played in the lunch game where it was .25/.25 and I don't think that it is a significant issue. At the very least I think it should be tried so people can see it in action and decide for themselves.

Woodrow said...

No wacky blind structures please. If we do that we might as well toss in jokers.

jtrey333 said...

Personally I don't see how .50/.50 will play bigger than .25/.50... or even have a difference except being a weird blind structure vs. most NL cash games. Can't we just do .25/.50?

And I have no concerns about chip bloat, I think the tools we have in place are just fine.

Marshall said...

WNP is a sort of training ground for a lot of players. New ones as well as more experienced guys.

If I was new and then immediately was told "Oh well we play it kinda weird here, we don't have a Big Blind, they are both the same." I would think that I wasn't playing the same game as what I could expect from literally every other home game and casino in the area.

Blind play is also a tricky and important part of the game, and this doesn't let people experience that at all..

jason said...

OK, as I read through all of this it seems like most all of the regulars have more or less the same ideas. Differences between Sushi Cowboy's plan, Marsh's plan, Jeh's plan, and Ryan's plan are really insignificant.

Summary as follows:

1)Standard game is .25/.50, max buyin somewhere between $60-$100 (I guess let's have Martin decide or we could vote on it).

2)Nights with many players say 13+, 2 games, one the standard game and one .5/$1, no straddles.
I don't think having people leave and then having to go down to one table will be as big a deal as some claim, especially since consensus among the HSPs is that wewould rather play Low Stakes vs. not at all.

3)Weekend games can satisfy the appetites of the HSP's. For Woody's benefit and perhaps Marsh's as well (both of whom have expressed a desire to move up in stakes), I will host a nosebleed stake night, which for this group will likely be $1/$2 mixed game night with a max $500 buyin prior to the WSOP.

I don't claim to have the wisdom of Solomon but this appears to be the best solution I think.

Anonymous said...

Jason, you need to give more detail if you are going to say that the two table thing is easy.

13 players is not that many at all and each table will often be shorthanded pretty early in the night. I love shorthanded but some people hate it and won't play it (and who says that poker players whine a lot?lol).

You tell me how to combine one player from a .50-1 game with 160 dollars in front of him to a .25-.50 game where everyone has 80 bucks. And please remember that Martin actually has to do this transaction. And possibly many times per night...

I am not saying it's impossible at all, I am saying it's just impractical. And you saying that it's easier than we are saying isn't enough to challenge that.

Outline it or I attack.

Sushi Cowboy said...

It isn't the blinds per se, it is the chip structure. Using .50 chips will play faster than using .25 chips. I contend that raising to 4x.50 chips is going to get more action than a raise to 8x.25 chips. I believe that is at least part of the reasoning behind casinos using $5 chips as the workhorse chip at their 1/2 tables. And I've seen the difference at the lunch game between playing with .25 and $1 chips where you can fit a whole buy in in your hand versus single .25 chips and in my opinion chips got in a lot faster when a buy in had physically fewer amount of chips.

@Marsh, Woody
Everyone wants different things out of the weekly game and I am trying to come up with solutions which balance everyone's requests. If a new format doesn't work then we can learn from it, re-assess, and try something else. For the past two weeks plus this one we are trying the .50/1 stakes that you two were lobbying for. I think that it would be fair to be open to trying a different structure to see how it goes.

The suggestion of going to .50 chips was part of an overall compromise solution to address requests to bump the stakes up. But I'm fine with sticking with .25 chips as well.

If we decide to go back to .25/.50 I do think that we should bump up the max buy in to $100. Anyone wanting to buy in for $60 like previously will still have 120xBB which allows plenty of room to maneuver. I also believe that deeper starting stacks will tighten up play and make stacks less "shippable" overall.

jason said...


Details, details...OK, I'll try:

13 players start. So at a minimum there is 6 at one table. 6 goes to 5. I think virtually everyone stays in this situation. 5 goes to 4. Some people don't like playing 4 handed.

What happens then? Well on line this happens several times a night for me. On line it is really simple I admit as chip cashing is instantaneous. Once your preferred table breaks you have one of two options, cash out and go home or cash out and go to the other table.

I only see Martin having to go through this exercise once per night. If I or anyone else is at the HSP table, I just don't see us saying, "I busted out 3 or 4 times I am going to low stakes." It is just not going to happen. Conversely I don't see LSPs going I have doubled up 5 times, screw you guys I am playing with the HSPs.

So with just one extra cash out session per night, unless I am missing something, I don't see a big issue here.

Woodrow said...

I'd rather play 25/50 than 50/50. A non traditional blind scheme is absolutely worst case scenario in my opinion.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Just so you realize, there were some people who didn't care for .50/1 either but we tried it anyway.

As for you not liking the SB equaling BB, message received. Your objection has been noted. Thanks.

jsola said...

I'm really not gonna try defending it, because I don't care either way, but what's your rationale behind the 0.50/0.50 blinds hate?

I wouldn't expect it to change the game much outside of BvB battles.

Austin said...

Martin, that plan sounds good for a compromise. That would easily solve my main problem with it and allow me to still play. I'm also all for separate tables if we happen to get enough people one night who want to play two different games.

You going to send out an e-mail for tomorrow night's game? I'm not sure I can make it (crazy amounts of pri 0/1s at work), but it might be nice if I can.

Austin said...

Right as I post I find there's a ton more posts I have to read.

I should say I like the .25/.50, $100 max buyin and don't really care whether we have .25/.50 or .50/.50. I'm used to either way so it makes not much difference to me.

Woodrow said...

The reason it makes a difference is because it's not the scenario you'll face at 99% of your other poker games. I totally understand the idea behind wanting one chip denomination, but making the blind structure X/X instead of X/2X further deviates our game from being a realistic training ground for bigger games. Can we not just introduce one stack of quarter chips per buyin as we do at dealer's choice night for the game's that require ante? I'll help pay for the chips if that's a concern.

Marshall said...

@Martin, People don't want .50-.50.


Ok so you are saying that it's the option to just cash out and go home or cash out and to go the other table...

I wanted you to go into the details of how that works. Like this.

Ok so let's say I want to go to the other table. Who gets to go to the other table? Do we just volunteer? What if 2 people want to go? Let's say the table was at 4 people, and one person goes to the other table..... what about the 3 left behind??

And even if it was just one person going over, how do we do that? If they have just their original 60.00 buy in, and the game is now half way over, and at .50-1, do they just take their 60.00 up against 150.00 mid game stack? Does he get a chance to buy up? If so, to how much? And what if he is one of the players who are complaining that the .50-1 is too much, then what? He just goes home?

Let's say the whole table comes over to the new stakes... do they all cash out and rebuy? How long does this take Martin who is also trying to play? Are they allowed to rebuy for more than they did?

What if you are going from the big game to the small? Do you just take your 150.00 in there? What if you cash them out inbetween to a more reasonable buy in? Isn't this sorta going-south-esque by taking chips off the table mid game?

Answer all those then I will say you are right.

Jase, it's easy to throw comments out like you have when you don't every have to be the one that actually handles these transactions. You just show up late, play until you are done, and take off early usually. Martin has to get there early and stay late to accommodate the game! He willingly volunteers for it, so no need for any guilt or anything, but the least we can do is keep him at a reasonable work load when he is there.

@Martin again,

I am not sure of anyone who was against the .50-1 structure of the blinds, it was just that they didn't want to put more money on the table. The buy in seems fine for your idea, it's just nobody wants to play in a game with a unique and strange blind structure necessarily.

Remember that the majority of the players in the game want it to be straight up .50-1, 100.00. They just don't want to do it at the expense of a few of the more vocal guys. If this was a simple majority vote, it would stay 50-1 and that would be that. But fact is, we do want to try to make everyone happy as possible, and .50-1 wasn't getting that done.

I don't think that .50-.50 will based on early response.

Also, the whole "chip size affecting play" should never factor in here at all. Chip bloat? Sure. But we are all seasoned enough players to not fall into the trap of ignoring chip size and not adjusting accordingly. I'm not saying that there isn't some psycological effect, I am just saying that it shouldn't be a fundamental solution to the problem, making it SEEM like we have more/fewer chips or whatever.

Ryan said...

Marsh, see my post up there a few notches for a suggestion on transitioning players' stacks between stakes.

If saved for large nights, the idea is there wouldn't be a need for balancing out tables constantly. It's fine if one has 8 and the other 5.

When there are ten or fewer players, you do a big combine per my suggestion.

If you end up with an 8/4 or 8/3 situation, then you look for a volunteer or randomly pick from multiple volunteers.

It may not be as simple as Jason made it out to be, but it can be done w/o staggering complexity or anything.

Marshall said...


Ya basically I just view WNP as a great place to learn and get better at poker. Especially once short handed, blind play is super important. I am trying to move the game *more* like a "real" game (like something approximating maybe 2-5 or 5-10 live). To me, this takes the game to a strange place that is even more unrealistic than our normal game.

I mean one thing that it can be hard for people to learn when starting out, is that you just gotta fold that small blind junk hand. Even if you think BUT IF I HIT, you usually won't and when you do, you are out of position the rest of the hand and all that.

If we had a new guy, and were playing with .50-.50, that whole concept would be foreign if the majority of his poker experience came with us.

I am not saying that this is the windmill slam argument that should just turn heads, but it seems like more of a "why are we even considering this?" thing to me, and those reasons crush that fairly well IMO.

Plus, people don' wan' it.

Marshall said...


Fair enough, I am just foreseeing quite a bit of complexity, and even moral ground about taking money off the table/putting it on etc.

Also, all of us are whiny little bitches who will complain about anything given the chance, including being short tabled, or short stacked, and eliminating that as a possibility seems good too.

Anyway Jason was supposed to answer that.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Can we all let people speak for themselves? I think it is counterproductive to make statements like "People don't want .50-.50." when Joe and Austin have both said that they are indifferent while Ryan, Brant, Chuck, and I have played plenty of SB=BB play and clearly are OK enough with it to play that format.

Marsh and Woody have expressed opposition to .50/.50. Their opinions are valuable as are the opinions of other regulars.

Anyone else who has an opinion on the matter is welcome to voice it and that will also factor into a proposed solution that will work best overall.

When I was saying that people were opposed to .50/1 I was referring to the overall format including stakes not just the ratio of SB to BB.

Personally I feel that the chip structure affects the play based on what I've seen and what I feel makes intuitive sense. Using chips in the first place serves to abstract the idea that you're using money and I don't think that it is an unreasonable stretch to say that the number and denominations of chips in front of you affects betting. Rounding alone would account for differences in betting amounts. I can't imagine that the game would play the exact same way if we strarted with 55 dollar chips and a stack of quarters. Just my opinion.

Marshall said...

Well if you are making lists put Jeh on that list as he has clearly questioned it?

And for that matter, maybe you shouldn't put people on lists either? Just because those guys have played the format before doesn't mean that they want it for WNP...

Sushi Cowboy said...


Austin said:
"I should say I like the .25/.50, $100 max buyin and don't really care whether we have .25/.50 or .50/.50. I'm used to either way so it makes not much difference to me."

Joe said:
"I'm really not gonna try defending it, because I don't care either way, but what's your rationale behind the 0.50/0.50 blinds hate?"

I am clearly willing to at least give it a try since I am proposing it.

Ryan, Chuck, and Brant have played SB=BB format before. I'm not saying that they are in favor of it for Wednesday nights but I just think that the statement "People don't want .50-.50." is not accurate.

Furthermore, I think it is pretty clear that <100% of the group is going to be <100% satisfied with whatever we come up with but I would like to find a solution which is a reasonable compromise that people can live with.

Marshall said...

ammendment: *enough* people don't want it that it shouldn't be considered.

I mean if we are making lists (which I didn't want to do btw) we have far more people who want to play .50-1 than that don't.

We have Me, Woody, Jeh, Drew, Ryan, I think you?, Jason, Chuck, and possibly Adam in the "I want those stakes" or "It doesn't affect me to play those stakes" groups.

But we are not continuing because there are a few that rightfully have stated their points, and whether the others agree or not, we aren't willing to keep it at that level if people are that unhappy.

I think it's pretty clear that you are the only one pushing for this blind structure, and that you have some people who don't really care hanging around saying "sure". While on the other side you have people actively disliking and not wanting the structure pretty strongly.

Just my opinion?

Marshall said...

I will admit also that my reasoning against the blind thing is mainly fundamental and not logical. I just have an aversion to making one-off type changes even if it does inch us closer to our perfect stakes.

Ryan said...

I'll try anything reasonable once.


I will say that the reason we played 1-1 at Surreal lunch was that it allowed us to be quarter-unit without being a $50 game, and being quarter-unit made things easier on the banking for a game that had to be up and down in roughly an hour. The right stakes for the lunch game might actually be .1/.2--an easy $20 buyin that gets a rack and a plaque. You would basically keep dimes on hand for change instead of quarters. (You still listening, Joe?)

Anyway, since .25-.50 allows WNP to be quarter-unit already, the big reason we were .25-.25 at lunch goes away. Without that need, it seems like a 1-1 structure just becomes a solution to chip bloat, and that doesn't seem right to me. I would rather introduce 20- or 25-unit mini-plaques to solve bloat over a 1-1 structure at WNP. Straps are obviously baller, but those mini-plaques really helped on space.

That being said...I'll try anything reasonable once.


jason said...


Agree with you and Woody that I don't like a blind structure with SB and BB being the same. Not a deal killer for me but I don't like it as well.

As for changing games, I can't envision any real problems. Let's say you me, Woody, Jeh, Martin Ryan and Adam are playing HSP.

It is common etiquette that 2 of us are not going to say Hey I changed my mind I want to play LSP in the middle of the night. Its just not going to happen.

What will happen is that Adam and I will leave early making it a 4 handed game. You may all decide too short I want to join the LSP game.

Then go for it. Just like in a casino cash out your chips from the one game and buy into the new game. Buy in for any amount up to the max at the LSP game. If you have a ton of chips then you have to put some money in your pocket. So be it.

The only weird scenario I envision is that the LSP table does not have enough space for the 4 or you, then draw straws.

I know I am not doing the actual banker work but it does not seem that hard for Marty to make one transition for a group of players to go from one game to the next.

Sushi Cowboy said...

What I'm "pushing for" is a cash game structure that is an improvement over .25/.50 $60 that works better for the group overall, whatever that may be. I don't mind offering up an unconventional blind structure where SB=BB. I don't think I would be doing a thorough job of exploring options if I didn't include that format.

What do people think of .50/.50? Obviously I'm willing to try. I brought up the idea in Chips and Stakes II where Jason said he liked it and thought it was a good compromise. Royal said he was in. Ryan didn't think there was much of an issue in trying it out. And as mentioned before the players from the lunch game have all played with SB=BB before. Btw, no one voiced fierce opposition of the format in the previous post.

So far the opinions from people who have played in that format is that it's not that big a deal. I'm not sure if you or Wooody have played in that format before but I think that opinions from people who have actually tried it before should weigh more than opinions from those who have not. I'm not saying that opposing opinions are being ignored but, really, isn't it reasonable to take experience with the format into consideration when listening to opinion?

Again, I was exploring the .50/.50 option partly to address the request to raise stakes. If people don't think feel that .50 chips will play bigger than .25 chips then I'm not going to go out of my way to lay out the .50/.50 option if it just is going to cause grief.

Ryan said...

I've stated my willingness to try anything reasonable--and I still will--but Martin I feel strongly that a 1-1 blind system is simply not the best option for satisfying the desire for increased stakes or chip bloat. 1-1 blinds were *always* an undesirable compromise at the lunch game that we put up with to eliminate nickels and dimes, but without going to $50. We never liked it, we tolerated it for some very specific things it did for that game.

So...a bunch of people would like to play $100, but it is a deal breaker for enough regulars that it seems like it can't be the WNP standard without unacceptable losses. Solutions offered up:

1) Split tables on crowded nights into $100/$60 tables
2) Raise the buyin cap at from $60 to $100 and keep live straddles on
3) Make an effort to have more higher-stakes games on weekends
4) Mix things up: some WNP nights are .5/1, some .25/.50 (<--STILL MY FAVORITE)
5) Some combination of 1-4
6) Fuck those guys. Lose a couple of players, but let majority rule (<--pretty much unacceptable to lose Sola, Brant, or anyone else "forever")
7) Implement a non-standard blind structure in the $60 game to get 33% more dead money in the pot preflop as a way to throw an "increased stakes" bone to the $100 crowd, even though none in that crowd have indicated they think it's a great idea, and in fact the most vocal members of the $100 crowd are dead set against the thing that is supposed to be their "bone"

If you really want to try it Martin, you have the clout. You can certainly play your, "Please give this a shot, guys" card, and we will give it a shot, even if I have to gag Marsh and Woody for the evening. However, I simply can't see it being such a revelatory experience that it changes any minds when all of those other fine options are on the table. In fact, again, having played 1-1 at the lunch game and *never* truly liking it, I already have given this structure a shot, and long ago concluded that it was not ideal.

Adam said...

Ok, this is try #3 to post this (not sure why it keeps getting ignored - I assume Marsh did something to censor me).

If it's the majority/consensus opinion that we should change from .25/.50/$60, after reading the various proposals, I support going to .25/.50/$100. That allows those who are priced out of the market at .50/1 to play without being terribly short stacked. It better preserves Surreal as a location. And, it permits those who want to play deeper stack poker (reducing, at least theoretically, the donkeyness factor) to buy in for 200 BB.

I only see two arguments against it, neither of which are compelling TO ME. (1) it doesn't satisfy anyone looking to significantly increase the stakes (unsure if that's the primary motivation of anyone, except maybe Woody/Jason -- can't tell if that's actually the PRIMARY motivation for either). (2) it doesn't help (and in fact exacerbates) the "chip bloat" issue. Still seems that "chip bloat" could be eliminated by introducing a second denomination (e.g., 5 "unit" chips). Make 'em red and it'd be like any casino.

As to .50/.50, I'm mostly indifferent. I'd err on the side of keeping it .25/.50 because of the realism factor, but it's not something I'd fall on my sword about (no, Marsh, you fire penguin, that was not a Magic reference - so relax). The only upside of .50/.50 is it would "solve" the chip bloat thing, but of course that could similarly be "solved" by introducing a bigger demonination chip. To Woody's earlier point, I too would be happy to contribute to the cost of some red chips.

Ryan said...

I'm telling you" chip-bloat solution = 20- or 25-unit plaques, and any one of us would chip in for that.

I know you've considered them before, Martin, and they would be perfect, don't you think? It would preserve use of the rad straps and blue Bellagios as the only chip on the table, but create space and a new highly-functional betting unit in the 20 plaque.

Ryan said...

Of course, now I can't find "20" plaques online, the smallest I see are 100s. I thought 20s were out I wrong, Martin?

Sushi Cowboy said...

Ryan, thanks for your input. I was not aware of your opinion on SB=BB. It isn't my first choice either but I'm indifferent about it.

It sounds like the group is gravitating toward .25/.50 $100 buy in as a structure that would be acceptable to the group in general.

Does anyone strenuously object to having .25/.50 $100 be the default structure? I believe we can address the requests for higher stakes by adding on a second .50/1 table when we have a sufficient amount of players to likely keep both tables running all night. I also think weekend games will help address that request.

If we can reach general consensus on .25/.50 $100 then I think we should make that the new standard and build from there.

jtrey333 said...

I am +1 on Adam's post. I couldn't write my views better than that.

Ryan said...

If we can agree to inject .5/1 in every third or fourth session, I say bang the gavel on .25/.50, $100 max as the standard.

Occasional .5/1 is still the cleanest, simplest way to provide .5/1 at WNP without sending anyone permanently packing. I don't think anyone who is against .5/1 as the New Standard would be against .5/1 intermittently.

Marshall said...

He said "bang".

chuck said...

.25/.50 $100 max with the occasional .5/1 game is my favorite solution thus far.

Woodrow said...

It's certainly my second favorite solution and more than acceptable.

jtrey333 said...

I'm cool with .25/.50 $100 buyin with occasional .50/$1 second table.

Ryan said...

Woody, Marsh: make some more snide comments or introduce strong dissent--we are almost at 100 comments!

Anonymous said...

@ Marsh

Marsh said:
"BTW this sentiment (mainly from Brant) about people just wanting to get more money on the table or trying to measure our "gamble-weiner" is fucking tilting the shit out of me. What a fucking bullshit thing to say. I don't come to WNP to win money, I come to get better at poker."

Sorry for my offensive gamble-wiener comments. This was in reference to a single short handed night where the rest of the table was basically shut out by two players who were betting $20 (at least) each hand blind, that night can categorically be excluded from a "learning game". Again, for those who took offense, sorry.


Thanks for letting the "secret" out that my problem is simply that I am a shitty player. I don't think this comes as a shocking revelation to anyone who has played with me regularly. I find myself in a bind at times in our game trying to walk the line between playing hands and being called a "nit" at the table (which is openly thought of as being a decent way to play but delivered as an insult). For the record, I don't gamble my rent, it was a poor illustration of the difference in 3X buy-ins at each stake, which Adam was able to state better.

So, now that I have offended two of my favorite players in the game, I'll go to work on Marty and Jeh next, JSola is after that, then back to Marsh, then Woody.

Guys, my sense of humor does not allow me to make a blog post that is entirely serious. I won't post anymore so I don't unintentionally offend those who are taking this WAY more seriously than I am. you know, dumb people with British last names, or worse...

I will be available at WNP for those who want to neck-punch me, just keep the line orderly please.

Marshall said...

I want to make a sandwich tonight.

A Brant sandwich. Ryan and I are the bread. Guess who the meat is?

Anonymous said...

please, for the love of all that is holy, HOLD THE MAYO

Sushi Cowboy said...

No "manaise" jokes please.

Ryan said...

Brant, hopefully we can talk tonight, but I want to cop publicly to overreacting based on a misinterpretation of your intentions.

The extreme nature of my response was due in large part to the fact that I thought you intended to splinter off without discussion and start a new $60 game. That got me steamed enough as it was. Then I read that WNP regulars were welcome, but apparently needed instruction to not be "gamble-wieners" at our standard stakes. This further suggested to me that you were again dismissing the aggro players at $60 as a bunch of blind gamblers more interested in cock size than poker.

The realization that you were talking about a smaller-than-$60 game doesn't erase *all* the hard feelings I expressed, but it certainly reduces their intensity by like a factor of 10. I apologize for my overreaction, and I hope to give you a more appropriate reaction in person. (It doesn't involve neck punches.)

Adam said...


Adam said...

100. woo hoo!

Woodrow said...

I just want to let everyone know, that no matter if the stakes are low or high, if the blinds are normal or wacky, whether the play is good or bad, I just want you all to know that no matter what, I will always, always spend every last time dime I win on drugs.

Thanks for reading.

Marshall said...

To be fair Ryan, I think I am probably a blind gambler more interested in cock size than poker.

jason said...

Consensus among a group of whining poker players. Something is wrong. But I agree with the Adam post, the .25/.5 stakes with $100 max buyin as a good structure with the side game of higher stakes on nights where we have enough participation.

Woody, since I don't really drink anymore, I'll have to take some of my poker winnings and begin a drug habit. Sounds like fun.

Ulfendar said...

Well if you want to start buying crack, my neighbors can hook you up.

royalbacon said...

Holy fucking crap I'm glad I stayed out of this discussion.