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The what, where and how
of splitting the pot

Aug 31, 2004 4:36 AM

Carol, I know that you do not like it when I am negotiating a deal for a car or when we are in Mexico or someplace where the tradesmen like to bargain and haggle before they make a sale.

But honey, today I would like to talk to the folks about the Art of the Deal. Not the kind that made Donald Trump rich and famous (well, maybe just famous), but the kind at the poker table.

If you play in poker tournaments you will be asked many times to split the prize pool or make a deal to restructure the distribution of the prize money among the players who make it to the final table.

There are many ways that you can consider this. If you would like a practical answer as to how to make a deal or split a prize pool, come to my email [email protected] with any question about how to best split a prize pool, and I will respond in a future column to your questions.

Honey, a lot of poker players want to gamble but they do not want to gamble crazy high when they cannot play good poker hands with expectations of winning the pots on the merits of their starting hands. And the amount of money involved is very large in relationship to the amount of the buy-in.

Why do I say it is crazy high?

Well think of it this way. Say for example that there are 200 players and that the buy-in is $1,000. And the pay-off structure to the final two tables is:

”¡ First place is $80,000 or 80-1 or 40%;

”¡ Second place is $40,000 or 40-1 or 20%;

”¡ Tenth place is only $6,000 or 6-1 or 3%;

”¡ And the second table is $2,000 each or 2-1 or 1%

When you begin the tournament you have plenty of chips to play with, in relationship to the small and big blinds.

Say you are given $1,000 in chips to begin play and the blinds are only $10 and $15. Now, in order to play one complete round and a possible 10 poker hands, your overhead is only 2.5 percent of your bankroll.

Thus, you can take a look at 40 possible hands to try to get one that you may take the time to play and select a hand and play good conservative poker because the overhead or cost per poker hand was so low.

At this point the tournament is nearly over and the luckiest player will now win, if that player has enough courage to put his chips into the pot and play showdown.

I always consider making a deal at the final table, when I can win as much as third place will pay if I were to finish third without a deal.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

This tip comes to us from a great tournament poker player. A member in good standing of The Poker Players Hall of Fame of "The Seniors" World Championship of Poker, Robert Turner, the chip burner.

Bobby’s advice to me was when you are playing in a satellite and it is time to make a deal to gain an entry into a large tournament.

"If it seems like a bad deal to you, make the deal anyway. And hope you made a mistake"

If you think you should be getting 60 percent of any money that you may win and you can get only 50 percent.

If you win in the tournament you will receive 50 percent of the payoff.

If you had not made the deal and lost the satellite in a crazy high showdown hand, you may get 100 percent of nothing.

Until next time, remember to always stay lucky!