Making Deals

Feb. 28, 2012, Posted by Jeff.Kimber

Making Deals

Ever since poker tournaments began, players have been making deals to chop up the prizes, but it's unlikely that will be happening any more at Britain's biggest poker club, Dusk Till Dawn, after an anti-climactic finale to February's £500 deepstack.

After a four-way deal left the tournament without an outright winner, DTD owner Rob Yong decided to change club policy to outlaw deals, and not without sounds reasoning.

DTD and Yong have put big guarantees on their events, with an estimated overlay of around £15k on the £150k guaranteed in February alone (including satellites).

For that tournament not to be played to conclusion, for the final table to end in an anti-climax with no exciting final hand, no jubilation or celebration from a champion, and obviously the lack of publicity that brings, is not what DTD desires.

Moreover, the powers that be at DTD feel that some of their less experienced players don't negotiate well enough, feel intimidated, and get taken advantage of by wily old pros who know they can get a better deal for themselves.

This is almost certainly true. Certainly I have never done a deal without it being weighted in my favour, looking at the chip chop and ICM figures that negotiating up from there.

The number of times I've agreed to a deal can be counted on one hand, but I'll always try and get an edge, and if the other player gives me it that's their prerogative.

At a Venetian $2500 event with five left I was left short after losing a race. Joining me at the bottom was a really good online American, while the three chip leaders were all inexperienced guys who had just won a few races with the blinds really big compared to the average stack.

An English holiday maker who was leading suggested a deal. The Venetian worked out the chip chop numbers and I was told I was due $47,000, the young American a little more, just under $50,000. The other three were all due between $70 and $80k.

The American said quietly to me, "We're the best players, I'm not taking anything less than $60k." I agreed, so we both said we need $60k.

Immediately the other three agreed it and the deal was done. We played on for the trophy, but in truth it was just an all-in fest with all of us looking to get out of there and spend our loot asap. In the back of our minds we wondered just how much we could have got, but undoubtedly we did a good deal for us.

I'm so keen to look for an edge I've even accidentally done a deal, only to fall on my feet at the end of the day.

Heads-up for a GUKPT title in Thanet, my opponent, Darren Annis, asked if I wanted to do any kind of deal. I quickly counted my chips and worked out I had about 35-40% of the chips in play, so he must have 60-65%. I said if he wanted to knock £5k off first prize and stick it on second to make the prizes closer that was fine by me.

We returned to our seats and I was happy I'd made a good deal, as obviously I was more likely to come second. However, when we returned, the td had counted the chips while we were away negotiating, and it turned out I'd miscounted my stack, and I was the one with the two-to-one chip advantage.

Fortunately my mistake paid off, as I lost a couple of races heads-up and Darren won the title. I was gutted at losing, so much so I forgot about the deal until we cashed out and Darren handed me the extra £5000.

One interesting aspect is that while Grosvenor and the GUKPT don't condone deals, an unofficial blind eye is turned if players go away from the table and negotiate.

In doing so Grosvenor is accepting that stopping deals is a very hard thing to do. What are you going to do, stop players from speaking to each other? Follow them to the smoking area or the toilets on break to make sure no negotiations take place?

Presumably DTD has all this covered, if they are to ban all deals. How they monitor that and what penalties are handed out to those caught making deals remains to be seen.

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