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Old 05-28-2017, 12:57 PM   #1
leebert
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25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Hello All,

We have a fairly regular home game that is .25/.50 NL, but we are struggling to gain new players and if the regulars don't end up playing, we often have to cancel. So in an attempt to get some new blood, I am planning on hosting a night with some other friends who play poker, albeit for smaller stakes than we do.

In trying to cater to them, we are going to drop the blinds, since our 0.25/0.50 game can sometimes get big, and people have lost a fairly decent chunk on bad nights. I'm hoping to give them a lighter experience and keep them around for the game, so my plan is to start with a 0.25 big blind and if the night goes well, put on a mandatory straddle to get the game a bit bigger, but that may or may not happen. My main goal is to give the new guys a comfortable experience, in hopes that they will join the game on a longer term basis.

With our current setup we use 0.25, $1, $5 and $25 chips. Is it worth bringing in a 0.10 chip and playing 0.10/0.25 or just play with two 0.25 blinds. I have a set of chips where I could easily use the blank grays as dime chips, just wondering if it's worth introducing them to the game or not. If anyone has any experience with this set up I'd just like a bit of advice.

Thanks
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Old 05-28-2017, 07:23 PM   #2
BigBlue56
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Why not use the gray chips as nickels and play 5-10 instead? Move up to 10-25, then 25-50, as the players get more comfortable.

Social games should be just that, social. More for bragging rights, with chips only used to 'keep score'. Losing should sting from embarrassment, not from being unable to pay a bill.
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:42 PM   #3
DrStrange
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

It seems to me that the original poster is missing the point. He is bleeding players because the cost of playing and losing is greater than the entertainment from the game.

The "let's boil the suckers slower" plan of cutting the blinds but then applying a mandatory straddle isn't likely to help matters. It seems more likely to burn bridges than make the game more sustainable.

If the goal is to keep the game running with mostly the current invite list, the best place to look for adjustments is in the buy-in limits not the blinds.

Cutting the blinds to $0.10 / $0.25 or even $0.05 / $0.10 isn't going to change things that much. The typical passive / loose / sticky player is going to call a preflop raise to $1.75 in a 25/50 game and also in a 10/25 game or even a $0.05/$0.10 game.

However, cutting the max buy in from $100 to $20 will make a huge difference. The stacks will be shorter, which protects the weaker player. The weaker player has built in limits to how fast he/she can be bled broke. And perhaps most important, when the weaker player gets lucky he/she isn't as easily busted because the better players can't buy in with enough money to bust the weaker player in one hand. If it seems like the bad players rarely or never go home a winner, then the host has a problem that needs to be resolved.

Yes, yes I know this sort of thing is not going to make the better players happy. They are perfectly aware this is a zero sum situation - things that benefit the weaker players tend to disadvantage the better players. The health of the game is the host's responsibility and that means taking a longer term view rather than maximizing the immediate financial gain.

As I see it the host has four general options: a) close up the game, play in raked games / on-line / casinos b) learn to play very short handed with only the "good" players c) restructure the game in favor of the weaker players or d) go find a different group of players. If you are going to pick option "c", then make that choice in good faith. Otherwise, spend your efforts recruiting newer players with deeper pockets / higher pain thresholds.

DrStrange
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Old 05-29-2017, 12:24 AM   #4
bigpeen
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Our game we always had .25/.25 blinds and its worked out great with regulars and people less experienced..

Sometimes when the game gets short, a player may suggest to bump up blinds and then its up to players to vote it in.
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Old 05-29-2017, 12:24 AM   #5
VBAces
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

I don't think you are taking a bad approach by trying to get feedback here, but I think you have a much more reliable source for useful feedback. Why don't you send out the question to all of your regulars and all of the new people. Explain that you want to make it a friendly game, and feel that the first step is to try to make it a little lower stakes in order to accommodate new players.

Then present them with options and see what kind of feedback you get. Will the regulars be pissed if they have to drop down in stakes? Will the new guys be willing to play if it is .25/.25; would people prefer .10/.25; what kind of buyin would people be expecting? etc.

We can all talk generically about what might be preferred, but you know the people who are being brought in. I think that not only will you get better information, but also the new people will probably appreciate being asked for their input.

You can do it informally, or create a survey on SurveyMonkey or some similar tool.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:26 AM   #6
leebert
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrStrange View Post
It seems to me that the original poster is missing the point. He is bleeding players because the cost of playing and losing is greater than the entertainment from the game.

The "let's boil the suckers slower" plan of cutting the blinds but then applying a mandatory straddle isn't likely to help matters. It seems more likely to burn bridges than make the game more sustainable.

If the goal is to keep the game running with mostly the current invite list, the best place to look for adjustments is in the buy-in limits not the blinds.

Cutting the blinds to $0.10 / $0.25 or even $0.05 / $0.10 isn't going to change things that much. The typical passive / loose / sticky player is going to call a preflop raise to $1.75 in a 25/50 game and also in a 10/25 game or even a $0.05/$0.10 game.

However, cutting the max buy in from $100 to $20 will make a huge difference. The stacks will be shorter, which protects the weaker player. The weaker player has built in limits to how fast he/she can be bled broke. And perhaps most important, when the weaker player gets lucky he/she isn't as easily busted because the better players can't buy in with enough money to bust the weaker player in one hand. If it seems like the bad players rarely or never go home a winner, then the host has a problem that needs to be resolved.

Yes, yes I know this sort of thing is not going to make the better players happy. They are perfectly aware this is a zero sum situation - things that benefit the weaker players tend to disadvantage the better players. The health of the game is the host's responsibility and that means taking a longer term view rather than maximizing the immediate financial gain.

As I see it the host has four general options: a) close up the game, play in raked games / on-line / casinos b) learn to play very short handed with only the "good" players c) restructure the game in favor of the weaker players or d) go find a different group of players. If you are going to pick option "c", then make that choice in good faith. Otherwise, spend your efforts recruiting newer players with deeper pockets / higher pain thresholds.

DrStrange
I'm not sure why you think that I'm attempting to "Bleed suckers" but that's far from my intention. I'm not the usual host of our .25/.50 game, merely a player in it. I think there are a number of reasons why we are losing players, but the cost and mounting losses, I think is far down the list, a general lack of interest in poker in general, as well as people getting older and moving onto other things such as family obligations, etc...

My goal for this is simply to try and merge two groups of like-minded poker friends, but to make the game enjoyable for everyone. This other group is likely far from suckers, they play somewhat regularly but play tournaments and sit-n-goes. Their losses are usually limited by that, whereas cash they are going to be way more exposed to a cooler, or losing more than they want to. I am sure everyone can afford to lose a hundred dollars, but wanting to lose that much at a poker game may be different for everyone. I'm basically trying to limit the risk.

I've asked a couple of the newer players what they think, and most were on board to simply join the 0.25/0.50 game as is, however, I think that might be a mistake for them, as they may not enjoy it as much as they would with a smaller game.

I did think about just leaving the blinds, but having people buy-in shorter, but our usual game isn't usually deep-stacked until later in the evening. Usually with .25/.50 we play a 40 CAP on buy in, so only 80 BBs deep, and there is about half of us who straddle every round, which takes it to 40 half the time, so I think that's not a major concern.

My biggest issue like I said is making sure these guys enjoy it enough to potentially come back. I wouldn't care if the usual game switched stakes full-time, I'd just rather see it able to run regularly rather than having to cancel it due to lack of interest.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:45 PM   #7
albedoa
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

A lot of that information should have been in the OP.

In your hypothetical $0.10/$0.25 game where the lowest chip denomination is $0.10, how do you make change for a SB who wants to fold but only has $0.25 chips?

To answer your question, no it is not worth it.
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:54 PM   #8
chillrob
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Quote:
Originally Posted by albedoa View Post
In your hypothetical $0.10/$0.25 game where the lowest chip denomination is $0.10, how do you make change for a SB who wants to fold but only has $0.25 chips?
They trade two of their .25 chips to another player or the banker for five .10 chips and use one of those instead.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:42 AM   #9
Bene Gesserit
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Getting folks interested in poker in the first place is much harder today than in the "good ole days"! Keeping groups together takes some work on structures and personal politics. It is good that you are asking how to avoid a shutdown of your game. You obviously see a problem that needs some answers. Serious conversations with the players (both groups) are paramount to find out what they think and what they are willing to do to move forward. Each home poker group is different, so even though you can get some decent feedback here, you must simply spell out the problems openly and make suggestions for them to consider. They will likely have feedback , maybe something you have not considered will come up. Anyway, don't let this lie too long. Good home games and good home game players don't grown on trees anymore. Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:06 PM   #10
SetofJacks
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Just do .25/.25, it simplifies things.
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:14 PM   #11
StevieG
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Quote:
Originally Posted by leebert View Post


In trying to cater to them, we are going to drop the blinds, since our 0.25/0.50 game can sometimes get big, and people have lost a fairly decent chunk on bad nights.


Have you considered changing the betting structure to pot limit or spread limit?



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Old 06-10-2017, 08:45 PM   #12
sw_emigre
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

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Originally Posted by SetofJacks View Post
Just do .25/.25, it simplifies things.
We started with this, and we still do it any time were 5 handed or less. It helps keep the pot smaller, and can work very well if that's your goal no matter how many players are in the game.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:40 PM   #13
StarGrinder
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

Lower the stakes to 10c/20c and play with 10c and 50c chips. Using anything bigger makes it easy to count the pot, etc but people like to have the "feel" of a big stack. It's why you see guys wrapping a hundo around a wad of singles.

Switching to a $20 tourney with a rebuy also works for getting new blood into the games. It limits their losses but also gives them a chance to buy back in if they bust early. Then set up a side game table for cash after for 10c/20c.

Playing for more money is great but home games are meant to be fun and social. And without a good player pool, it won't be either for long.
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:39 AM   #14
the_spike
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

If the "better players" are relying on earnings from a 25 cent game, they're in the wrong game. Obviously this is a social game and "earnings sharks" need not apply, or at least should simmer down and play for fun in this game.

Limiting buyins is one way to do it. Setting up a mandatory straddle, or even encouraging straddling is not.
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:41 AM   #15
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Re: 25 NL Home Game - Blind Structure

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Originally Posted by StevieG View Post
Have you considered changing the betting structure to pot limit
Will slow the game down way too much with anything but very experienced dealers and/or players.
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