Let’s Make a UFADeal

Let’s Make a UFADeal

 

Deal making in poker tournaments has been going on for as long as I can remember. Money deal making (as opposed to making a deal for the legendary gold bracelet) is allowed in most tournaments including the World Series of Poker as long as the deal is made in front of the tournament director. I personally don’t think deals should be made that involve prestigious titles or gold bracelets, (claiming you are a world champion), that should be earned, not bought or bargained for. But let’s not kid ourselves, it still takes place behind closed doors.

 

Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of money deal making.

 

The majority of poker tournament UFA players who make money deals are in my opinion, using good judgment concerning money management. Let’s be realistic, anything can happen at a final table of a poker tournament. I have seen huge chip leaders lose all of their chips on one bad beat, short stacks come back with a vengeance and end up winning the tournament and worse, witness a bad decision or dealer error that caused a player to be eliminated. I repeat anything can happen! I don’t care how good a player you think you are or how good a player you are, there is always the luck factor — you can’t escape it.

 

All of us play poker tournaments to win but most important to most of us is making money. We certainly can’t buy groceries, make house notes, car payments or buy-in to the next poker tournament with a trophy.

 

The difference in first place money versus second, third, or even fourth can sometimes be thousands of dollars even tens of thousands. Players with deep pockets and or huge egos are sometimes only interested in winning first place, simply for the prestige, not necessarily for the money. In a case like this, a multi-way deal may be vetoed by the player with the big ego and or the cash long player. If the prize money were more evenly distributed, the need for deal-making would decrease.

 

If you look at it strictly from a money management standpoint, money deal making can never really be a mistake. It can do nothing less than put some extra money in your pocket if you don’t win first place. There is an old saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” If the deal that is offered will make more money for you than what you would make if you were the next player eliminated, it only makes economic sense to make the deal. I am not suggesting you take any deal presented to you, analyze the situation and if it is to your benefit financially, do it. If on the other hand the deal is not that much different money wise, don’t do it. The decision is yours and everyone must agree. You also have the right to counter offer if you feel the deal is not fair. All tournament directors have a calculator which you can borrow.

 

Now, on the flip side, the disadvantage to money deal making is that the quality of play seems to dramatically decrease after the deal has been made. Players tend to loosen up their style of play, therefore changing the outcome of the tournament. So, one might ask, “Did the best player really win”? Arguments have been made using sporting events as a comparison to a poker tournament. The problem with this comparison is the luck factor. Sporting events are determined by the players level of skill not the luck of the draw. An 18th hole putt to win a golf tournament is based on that particular golfers skill, a poker players hand can easily be determined by the simple turn of a card.

 

What is fair? Is it fair to cut a deal after two, three or four players have been eliminated? Do tournament directors have the right to tell us what we can or cannot do with prize money that is rightfully ours? As long as everyone is in agreement, shouldn’t it be left up to us? I’m not sure if there are any right or wrong answers to these questions but I do know that under no circumstances should an award with a distinction of World Champion or a qualifying event for the Tournament of Champions ever be used as a bargaining tool. Money should be the only thing that can be bargained with.

 

In small daily or weekly poker tournaments, where nothing more than a $10 plaque or trophy is involved, I see no reason why a money deal can’t be made which includes the trophy as long as everyone is in total agreement. And no one should ever be made to feel pressured into making a deal that they are not comfortable with.

 

I will leave you with a personal experience. I was playing in the seven-card stud event at the 1999 Orleans Open. I made the final table by the skin of my teeth, needless to say, I was the shortest stack at the table. I clawed my way back into the game and when we were down to four players someone suggested that each of us take $10,000 and play for the rest. I thought it was a great money deal. One player refused so we continued to play and within minutes he was eliminated. He received $3,236, it cost him about $7000 by not agreeing to the deal. Now I’m up against two players and the difference in money was about $4000 and we were all about equal in chips. Do I mention a deal or go for the win? Damn right, I mention the deal! That’s a lot of money and I saw what just happened to the last player. I posed the question once again and this time we three agreed on each taking $10,000 and playing for the rest. Well, don’t you know, I was the next player out, but as disappointed as I was about not winning, I was thrilled to be taking home $10,000 instead of $6,473 for third place. Maybe $4000 isn’t a lot to some people but to me it was more important than my ego. There is always next year!

 

Now go out there and show’em you can play poker (and that you can make a deal when it is to your advantage).

 

 

 

 

 

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