send crappy home games to hell
I dont know if many take poker as seriously as I do.
I play every chance I get, I have played in a few high stakes tournaments here in South Africa
and have also played at the Holland Casino in Amsterdam, I play online ALOT. In fact every spare moment I have at home, I am stuck in front of the PC playing a sit n go.
I primarily play tourneys or sng's. I have a few regular games that I attend during the week. I used to play every tuesday night without fail in a large tourney at a local pub by my work, however I gave that up because the average player was a beginner, you can only take so much of getting it all in with the best hand only to get out drawn by a set of deuces on the river. They play far too many hands and anything suited goes.
As a player aspiring to go pro one day, I decided that although the large field was great practice ( 80 players on average ) and even though I final tabled the event a number of times and won it 4 times, it was not making me a better player, I noticed that my once tight image would get torn to shreds because you start playing as many hands as everyone else or get blinded out, even waiting for monster hands and trying to get paid off wasn't working as often as I would have liked. The play is so bad, that I recall one night I get pocket kings, make a set and get called every street to the river and the dude flips queen rag off, missed the board entirely. I politely asked him why he was still in the hand (I tend to try and coach people along sometimes although I shouldnt) So I asked him why he was in the hand all the way to the river calling my pot sized bets all the way with nothing and he replied to me "cause I was trynna bluff you..." right ...
When you playing as much poker as I have been, your social circle tends to grow and include poker players and I am forever getting invited to play, at pubs, clubs, casinos
and of course the dreaded home games.
Not that I have anything against well organised structured home games, I learnt how to play holdem at a home game.
The dreaded games that I am referring to are the chaotic, low stakes, unlimited rebuy, crapshoots that I am talking about.
I sometimes feel obligated to attend one or two of these a month, like for instance my ex girlfriends family have one of these every sunday night, It's a R50 buy in, R50 unlimited rebuys and R50 addon.
Now R50 is like $5, everyone goes all in every hand for an hour and then when the rebuy period is over the play becomes shocking, people shove all in with 96 off and get called by 73 off.
Now everyone rebuys at least 10 times and when the rebuy period is over everyone takes their addon and the average chipstack is around 40 k and the blinds are still only 100 / 200 - The game goes on waaaay too long. look the nice thing is that if you have a decent stack at the end of the rebuy period, you can happily fold your junk till you get a good hand to play.
But we are talking about people that call a double reraise preflop with ace rag unsuited or any 2 suited cards. Horrible horrible horrible poker to say the least.
I suggested making it a freezeout for R500 and start everyone on a stack of say 20k and blinds start at 25 / 50 - this will still allow people to make moves and play decent poker without the crapshoot period during the rebuys. I mean you start with 400 big blinds, 20 minute levels and you got a few hours of decent poker right?
Wrong! every single person at that game looked at me like I was smoking my socks and voted no because they like the rebuy.....
To prove a point to them, I bought in, asked to get blinded out, went ans sat outside and enjoyed the evening air did not rebuy until the last 5 minutes, took a single rebuy because my stack was lower than the permitted amount, then shoved with any marginal hand and managed to double up then triple up, took my add on and was average stacked anyway at the break.
The point still did not hit home.
So I have decided that in the interest of better poker, I refuse to play such home games, they can be damned to hell.
Now when I get an invite to a home game I ask a few simple questions
1. Are there dedicated dealers ?
2. Is this a freezeout or rebuy ?
3. if its a rebuy is it a limited rebuy or unlimited ?
4. Are the players good? average? beginners? halfwits?
5. the blind structure?
6. whats their rake?
7. starting stack?
8. Describe the environment to me please?
9. Are you supplying drinks / snacks etc ? If you are serving drinks will there be alcohol?
10. what kind of tables are being used?
11. What kind of a game is it? social or serious poker?
1. if they have dedicated dealers, it will be a smooth game.
3. If its a rebuy at reasonable stakes I will only play if its a limited rebuy - for instance a maximum of 5 rebuys per person and 1 addon
4. If they say "oh like its a bunch of guys from my hockey club, 2 have played a couple of times before, 3 have never played and 1 guy is so good that he even has his own card protector - well.. count me out.
5. Quick calculations will work out if the blind structure will maintain itself through the tourney. I have been in situations where by the 7th blind level I'm average stacked with less than 10 Big blinds - HOW CAN YOU BE SHORTSTACKED AND AVERAGE WHEN THERE ARE STILL 3 TABLES LEFT???
6. Most places take a rake to cover food, drinks, wear and tear on equipment etc anything between 5 and 10 % is reasonable. I have been to games where the rake was 35% and even as much as 55% in a rebuy game. needless to say they wont ever see me again. I dont mind even paying as much as 15% rake IF they have dedicated dealers.
7. The starting stack is relative to the blind structure as well so this information will help me make a descision as to whether I want to play or not.
8. The environment is VERY important to me because I dont want to be playing poker where there are screaming kids running around etc
I am interested in a little bit of privacy and seclusion.
9. If they say they do not supply drinks or snacks but still take a rake, im out. You dont set up a home game to make a profit off the rake, you do it for the love of the game not as a home run business, if you going to try and profit off it , then do it right, snacks, drinks, dedicated dealers, fresh cards, a dealer button (not a hockey puck, not someones car keys, not an old sock, not a tea saucer from yoour wife's china set - a dealer button. they are cheaper than dirt) as for alcohol - I HATE playing against drunk people and I try not to play and drink. I play too aggressively and stack off with mid pair when I am drunk.
10. Tables make a hell of a difference - if a person says we gonna be playing around his kitchen table, I'm out - I want felt under my cards.
Dining room tables and kitchen tables are great for monopoly but not for poker - even if you get a desktop table that folds open onto your dining room table, that'll do kinda but I would still prefer a decent table.
11. Look, you meet nice people all the time, I have friends, I have MANY friends, last time I looked on facebook I had over 450 friends. I do not need to make more, I do not need to come and play poker for the sake of having a nice social time, if I want to play a social game I have my regular pals that I bond with a couple of times a month when we sit down and play poker and even though we play socially, we still play seriously. My friends are serious poker players. If you invite me to a game, I'm coming to take your money, not meet your pals. If you want me to meet your pals, invite me over for a BBQ and a beer. I am a poker player, not a socialite.
All these questions will be able to allow me to make a descision - afterall I am a poker player and when I make a descision to do something, I want to do it right.
The moment I realized I had these questions is when I knew I was serious about poker.
I hope this was useful to you.