Monday, January 16, 2006


I am beginning to detest deals. There is a real nasty side to the process of striking deals at the table, and I, for one, would be happy to back a no-deal policy within all tournaments. Unfotunately, you can't stop people from discussing them, it's their money after all. However, that still doesn't mean that I have to like them.

So why do I feel that they have become a cancerous part of poker?

(i) If deals are being made, it probably means that the structure of the comp is too top-heavy.
(ii) Youngsters, women, newbies, and so are often pressured into deals and sometimes even swindled.
(iii) The majority of deals seem to lead to incessant and petty bickering, if not a heated argument.
(iv) Declining a deal makes you a target. Your popularity declines and players may team up to eliminate you.
(v) Giving a saver not only takes potential money away from the chip leaders and best players, but can also change the structure and outcome of the comp.

I experienced point (v) yesterday afternoon at the Gala £30 freezout comp.

11 players left, I was the chip leader with a tasty stack in front of me. My table was full of short stacks who were all trying to hang in, if anything, just to tell their mates that they made the final.

Being very aware of this, I started raising virtually every hand, and picked up a shed load in blinds.

Then, one of the youngsters suggested a £40 saver for 11th. Everyone quickly agreed, eager to have a few coppers to show for their afternoon's work. I then said something along the lines of 'Well, that's not great for me though is it?' The table went quiet and I could feel a few snarls moving in my direction.

Predictably, one fella's response was 'It's only £40 though'. He gave me a dry look as if he couldn't believe that I'd been so petty about a couple of scores.

Not wanting to make any enemies, I accepted the offer for a saver and carried on playing. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to nick the blinds and within a few hands we were down to ten.

Okay, maybe £40 isn't much, but when you combine it with the potential chip lead I could amass by the final, that £40 becomes a hell of a lot more. It's a 20 minute clock with blinds of around 1500/3000. Now they really are worth nicking, and if no one's going to defend them because they're too scared of bubbling, I have a huge advantage.

Anyhow, I'm not overly pissed off, but these situations crop up at all levels, and I don't like it. You shouldn't feel obliged to accept any deal, but, sometimes, because of the points highlighted at the start of this rant, it probably works out best if you go with the flow.

I just think that if I'd rejected the deal, I'd have more chips going into the final table.

Ah well, I guess this is a part of poker that's here to stay.


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