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Old 04-30-2017, 05:36 AM   #1
fakekidpoker
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Host playing in the game he is raking

This had a pretty good discussion on another site so just figured I would ask it here. What is your opinion on playing a "home game" where the host rakes and plays?

So I started playing in this game about a year ago and it was a 25c50c game with a small rake that went towards a $1000 freeroll and a new poker table.. once the freeroll was done the rake stopped.

However the game eventually got bigger to 50c/$1 (Now it is 1/2 and sometimes 2/3) the host is the full time dealer and now orders food (maybe 70-80 bucks in cost) and gives out $20 bonuses to each player if they play about 4 hours... he also has a small selection of booze for an open bar

The game currently runs about 3-5 times a week now
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Old 04-30-2017, 09:16 AM   #2
Bene Gesserit
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Looks like a friendly , mostly social ,home game that has evolved into something a bit different. It is now a business enterprise. Does the dealer spot rotate with a button? I hope so. What is the rake?

Usually operations like this (underground rooms) have full time Non playing dealers. I would certainly prefer that. That the host insists on dealing each hand is odd and might be a bad sign, but not certain. The quick growth from a low stakes home game to what it is now is also not totally normal. I think the hosts winrate needs to be at least casually followed by the players. This could be and likely is a structure that is totally legit , but there is room for " problems" with a host doing this. Stay awake.
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Old 04-30-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
BigBlue56
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

TBH, although not a 'fan' of raked games, if it's really just a collection for the group good I'm fine with it.

Now on to the question...
I play in a regular game, where our host plays. Guys are thoughtful, and most bring something extra for the host/group. Our host appears happy to keep having us over.

If the host raked up to a certain point, and put that money towards food/drink, I'm fine.

Why offer rakeback? One of the things I don't like about our current game, is the fact that there are some players who come late (legit work/family schedule) and one who leaves early (announced days prior). Would $20 get them to rush to arrive early, or stay late? Would it entice another player to buy-in again? I do like a full table (8 for our octagon), I just don't think that makes a difference for our group.

Open bar? The guys that drink, seem to bring an occasional bottle to replace what they've been drinking, or are going to drink. I'd rather not pay rake for others to drink, but they'd probably not want to pay for what I'm going to eat


I think some of the details matter. Ultimately, how much is raked, and what it gets spent on. I think a non-playing raking host is a running a business. At least there is a chance that a playing raking host is just trying to cover costs and keep a full game.

However, I have to say, it does not sound like a home game anymore.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

^ Normal home games seldom run 3-5 times a week. This has to be a for profit underground room. I guess the question is how much profit. If the rake is quite low , then it is just covering costs and is a small to moderate supplement to a regular income. Otherwise it might have evolved into something totally different for the host.

The OP was asking about the host playing AND doing the dealing and raking. It could be and likely is fine and above board , but it is just a bit uncomfortable to me.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:58 PM   #5
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Yeah this isn't a home game, it's an underground game.

A guy raking a game that he's playing in, and also he's the only dealer? I would be VERY careful with the host's win rate, and also any serious coolers that go in favor of his friends. The number of set over set (or worse) hands at some of these games is...mathematically surprising. If the blind levels go up as the evening progresses (and more money is in play), I'd be MUCH more concerned. That's a hustler move.

The fact that he can offer $5 per hour rakeback must mean he's raking an awful lot. Is there a real rake structure? In NY rooms they will take up to $30 a hand sometimes. I've heard in other places, they simply take whatever they can. In a casino we pay $4-7 per hand (or a table charge in bigger games) for a variety of reasons; are you getting value for whatever he is charging? Value is defined either by amenities, or convenience, or the fact that the game is so fishy it's worth paying $10-15 per hand in rake (though I can't imagine that's sustainable).

You've played there a year, hopefully that means it's all good. I guess if you're winning there, keep it going.

BTW can you elaborate on the "good discussion" parts from the other site?

Last edited by sw_emigre; 04-30-2017 at 01:00 PM. Reason: moar
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Old 04-30-2017, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threa...st-play.19921/

TLDR / the discussion devolved into a quest to determine how lily white a home game has to stay to be a true home game. Looks like the dividing line is "so long as the host is covering expenses only, then it is ok", though some found even that to be too much.

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Old 05-01-2017, 12:54 AM   #7
sw_emigre
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrStrange View Post
https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threa...st-play.19921/

TLDR / the discussion devolved into a quest to determine how lily white a home game has to stay to be a true home game. Looks like the dividing line is "so long as the host is covering expenses only, then it is ok", though some found even that to be too much.

DrStrange
TY for this. If only I'd had your services when I was in grad school, since I found just about all of it to be tl;dr.
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:09 PM   #8
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

I think the rake is fine if he's providing food, booze, and bonuses. Depending on the %, of course.

It's a bit odd that he's the full-time dealer though. I would not like that, and would politely request a non-playing, dedicated dealer.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

It wasn't clear to me from the OP that the dealer is now both dealing and playing. I would not play in a game where someone was all dealing and playing, let alone hosting, dealing and playing. Even aside from the cheating potential, which let's just say isn't happening, it slows the game down too much to have a dealer play. The only time that ever happens in the games I'm in is if the dealer has to go to the bathroom, so either the host or another player who also happens to be a dealer fills in and continues to play, for a few hands.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:29 AM   #10
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

1st paragraph of OP "where the host rakes and plays"

3rd paragraph of OP "the host is the full time dealer"

Fairly clear to me what the structure is. This does NOT mean that cheating or other problems are certain or even likely. It does mean that cheating/colusion is made easier for the host and that players would be wise to keep an eye on how things develope using this structure. The increase in stakes makes it more profitable for 'questionable" moves and results also. 3 - 5 sessions a week is a lot for one guy, likely a big part of his income. I simply would prefer a paid non playing dealer rather than this structure.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:16 PM   #11
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene Gesserit View Post
1st paragraph of OP "where the host rakes and plays"

3rd paragraph of OP "the host is the full time dealer"

Fairly clear to me what the structure is.
Yeah, and in between "However the game eventually got bigger to 50c/$1 (Now it is 1/2 and sometimes 2/3) the host is the full time dealer"

So, not very clear.
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:35 PM   #12
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Whatever. Maybe the OP will clear it up in another post.
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:46 PM   #13
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Putting aside the issue of the host dealing.

When i used to play underground games the Host would play to prop the game but would always give up his seat if needed for a player. Personally it seems to me good service for someone hosting a raked game to prop the game when necessary. After all what is it you are paying for?
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:55 PM   #14
sw_emigre
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

BG you have it correct. FWIW I though it was very clear, but I also think I'm 99% certain I know the exact game OP is talking about. I tried (for a couple of reasons) to keep my above reply very general. And OP never came back anyway so w/e.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:22 AM   #15
fakekidpoker
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Sorry if it wasn't clear, not sure what exactly isn't but.

Host deals every single hand and plays every game, yes there is a button.
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:17 PM   #16
Bantam222
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Re: Host playing in the game he is raking

Hosts ability to cheat is the same as if he was dealing every hand without rake.

The fact that he takes the game shows: he is here to make money and not just and fun, and he is willing to break the law to run illegal poker games. Both of these make it more likely we would try and cheat. Also opens up the door to over raking as another area to cheat.
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