Let's make a deal – The art of 'chopping' in poker

Sep 22, 2009 5:07 PM
Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale |

Recently, there’s been some discussion in the poker world about "chopping" the pot at the end of a tournament; that is, making a deal to divide the prize pool among the remaining players.

It is not unusual in small tournaments for the players at the final table to split the money equally between the remaining players.

The fairest and best method of splitting (when several players are involved) is the chip count method.

Here is how this is computed: You take the cash amount that the next person out will receive and multiply that amount by the number of remaining players.

Then you subtract that amount from the total of all the money that remains in the prize pool.

Then you count each remaining player’s chips.

Then you count all the chips that are in play.

Then you put each player’s chips in a fraction over the total chips and multiply that fraction times the remaining money in the prize pool.

The remaining prize pool is 100% of the unpaid prize money minus the number of players remaining times the amount that next players out would have received if a deal had not been made.

Then you add this amount to the cash amount that the next person out would receive.

Then you test before any payouts to see if, by taking all payout of all the remaining players, it adds back to the same amount of the unpaid prize pool. If this amount adds back to the amount of money that has not already been paid out of the prize pool, the tournament director will then pay out the money.

Here is a deal that was made and continued into two larger other tournaments.

Kelly Samson, a tough Canadian poker player, sat down to play a satellite poker game to win a seat to play in a large Hi/Lo Omaha poker tournament at the Four Queens Classic.

He paid $165 to buy a seat in the satellite and went broke the very first hand. So he made a deal with the other players. He said he would pay another $165 if he could have a restart and continue to play.

The additional money would become a second place consolation prize pool.

The players agreed to let him continue to play.

Kelly subsequently got heads up with Ron Stanley. (The other players all lost their chips and only Ron and Kelly were left in the satellite.)

This time Ron made the offer: he would give Kelly back his second buy-in of $l65 and Ron would play the big tournament for them in a partnership arrangement.

They agreed.

Ron won the tournament and Kelly received his $165 back. Plus $17,000.

Plus, they made an additional agreement to put $10,000 of the prize pool into the big poker tournament at the World Series of Poker.

Ron won second place in the $10,000 WSOP championship event and Kelly received $250,000 for his part of the prize pool.

Poker Tip of the Week

If you do not wish to make a deal in a poker tournament, consider this: you most likely cannot win the tournament by being too conservative and playing too safe and too careful.

You must gamble and be very aggressive. You may lose the tournament but I have never seen any tournament poker player ever win a poker tournament by backing up.

Until next time, remember to stay lucky!

You can try out your strategy by playing our free live online poker.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Johnny Hale