Sunday, June 05, 2005

Let's make a deal

A few weeks ago, I was playing a 100+9 double shootout on stars and had my first online deal experience. If you don't know the format, you start with 9 9 person tables, and rather than consolidate tables, you play until someone has won all the chips on a first table, and the winners of each table join together on a final table with equal chip stacks. You might then have 1 prize for that final table (e.g. a WSOP seat) or, as was the case in our tourney, standard payouts escalating from 9th to 1st. With the latter, it's an interesting combination of first trying to secure aggressively a single spot followed by standard seat by seat incremental value with the typical balance between going for the big money versus trying to hang on to move up a few seats.

At any rate, I had worked hard for quite awhile on the first table till we were down to three roughly equal stacks when one of the players, who seemed pretty solid, chatted out a proposal that if any of us 3 won the final table would pay the other two 200, which I think would have been less than 10% of the final prize had one gotten that far. I said sure, figuring that the risk of a renege was somewhat mitigated by the relative unlikelihood of me making that final spot. The 3rd player, as was his right, demurred. We played on with a 2 way agreement, moving up and down in stacks until I ended up all in with demurrer, my 55 against his AJo. He flopped his jack, but I was born again on the river with a miracle 4 flush, and not long after, demurrer was busted out with me heads up with the deal proposer. I have only recently moved up to 100 level tourneys (sit and go and mtt's), and frankly was a little less than confident. It being a weekday and me being tired, I was also not looking forward to busting out for no money on a 9 player table I'd worked down to 2, so I immediately upped the offer to winner pays loser half his winnings on the final table. We ended up agreeing 1/3 made more sense since otherwise our heads up match was pretty silly. Now I was facing substantially more risk if I lost and my counterpart did not pay out, but for some reason I wasn't worried, particularly after he sent me his e-mail.

We played on for awhile and I began to regret the deal as I managed to get a 2-1 lead on him. But the hedge proved quite valuable as he came from behind, finally busting me out on my AT being caught out by AK. My fate was in his hands. I decided to sweat him, since I had a third of his action and in what turned out to be a very plus EV move I e-mailed him my phone number. Since I'm not sure if he wants to be mentioned by his Stars alias on this blog, I'll just call him Oregon, after his home state.

Oregon, it turns out, is a very good player in his fifties, who's had long experience in Vegas with the big boys, as well as what sounds to be a great retirement life with a ranch and a few NYSE seats to stand behind his online tournament hobby. At any rate, I played along with him on the phone, learning a lot about a number of the players that haunt Stars tourneys at that level, and have since found that you definitely do find a few of the usual suspects in that realm playing again and again. Finally, Oregon busted out 6th, not only paying me my 1/3 but kindly enough rounding it up to the nearest hundred. Since then, Oregon has sweated me on a few tourneys, and I often look him up.

Most recently, tonight I chopped 1st+2nd in a 9 person 100+9 where I had a 75-60 chip advantage but my wife had just put dinner on the table. We haggled for a bit, with me finally offering 50-50 notwithstanding the differential and agreed to go all in the next hands until someone won, with the winner transferring the differential to the loser. It worked out as I won, avoiding settlement risk.

What I wonder is whether or not the sites should build in a binding chopping mechanic. I see no reason for this not to work provided all players still in a tournament must agree. I only wonder if the existence of such a built in system would lead some players to be wary of the site. I don't think it should since this would only allow players to make a deal at the end, and players can look after themselves by not agreeing. The only fear I suppose is that deal making players would tend to cooperate to pare down the field, but I cannot think that not having a site supported feature decreases the risk of actually collusive behavior. If anyone is reading this, I would appreciate thoughts. Also, has anyone heard of someone actually reneging on a chop online?


At Wed Jun 08, 04:03:00 PM 2005, Blogger F-Train said...

asshat. jagweed. these are the words of the past - and the future. and you know it.


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