Bankroll limits on tournaments

I’ve just, I thought, started getting back into tournaments and i’m finding that i’m up against 10m+ bankroll players in a 7.5k tournament. I am not going to play tournaments now.

It costs nothing to those people to enter and costs nothing if they lose. They will get more chip-loss/hour entertainment by playing any two cards than if they tried to play a high stakes ring or tournament.

I really can’t compete against people who just don’t care. I’m not saying that they’re not playing to win; I’m sure they are. They are also very comfortable calling my bet with anything that might have a chance. They don’t have a range advantage so much as they have a care factor advantage!

How about we start forcing people to play at an appropriate level?

I’d suggest that ring games should be limited to 2000x big blind. So, the maximum bankroll to play 1/2, for example, is 4k.

I think we can do the same for the tournaments by setting the maximum bankroll at 200x buy-in. So, for example, a 7.5k tournament will be limited to bankrolls less than 1.5m.

I’m very happy to discuss this further so please put your ideas forward :slight_smile:


Analyst - this is a common complaint both here and in low stakes tournaments for money, especially the ones with rebuys/re-entries. Its a comment I made myself when starting to play tournament poker. I’ll give you the same advice I was given because it turned out to be 100% accurate: The players you are complaining about are the only reason there is money to be made in poker.

Variance is going to be high and you will see some ridiculous things along the way. However, the people willing to play any hand or make any call are the absolute best source of chips for you. Isolate the hell out of them and play big pots. Go broke sometimes. Grab a big stack other times. Do not let their chips go to other players if you can help it.

Maybe an MTT strategy thread is in order? I’ll look to see when the last one ran. Until then, try to look at the situation as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Start thinking about how you’d exploit someone playing the way you think they are. We rarely get to pick our opponents so we try to have game plans set out in advance to exploit whatever type of player we face at any given time. Plus, its a free poker site and tournaments are fun. Enjoy yourself while figuring out the best strategies.

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This is the democratic element of poker. For example, anyone who can afford the entry fee for the WSOP of poker can enter.

On replay, it’s the reverse that occurs most often in cash games, with players sitting down at tables with an insufficient bankroll (sometimes their entire BR), and playing as if it doesn’t matter. That is their right to do.

The fact that these types of players don’t take the game too seriously, whereas I play as if it were real money, is no reason to ban them from sitting down at the table with me. It’s my job to beat them, and if I find myself consistently losing to these types of players, that says that I can’t handle their action.

I appreciate that playing against players that “don’t care” is frustrating at times, but I view it as an opportunity to improve my game. The “don’t care” style of play is actually good to practice against as it forces you to make adjustments to be successful.

In response to your proposal, I think it would be inappropriate to force players to play at an “appropriate” level. The appropriate level is whatever level a player chooses to play at.

That said, a possible solution to the issue that you raise is to form a league that is limited to players with similar bankrolls.

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A player with a big bankroll who wants to gamble it up is a whale. Why would you want to ban whales from your table?


In 1990, about 3 weeks after he finished 2nd in the WSOP Main Event, the $10,000 buy-in Hold’em game, I sat at a table in a $25 buy in tournament event across the table from Hans “Tuna” Lund. Even for “real cash,” players of all levels participate.

It took me until the first break to get up the nerve to talk to Lund, but finally I asked him why he was playing such a small game. He told me that it was always good to practice his skills. That he sometimes won and if there were a lot of players, it could be worth while. That he learned new tricks and strategies from the players in those “small” games. And, besides all that, it was fun…

There’s also another reason for “serious” players to play small games: Satellite events! Wouldn’t you rather win a seat for $X than pay $XXXX out of pocket for it? I would. Not only does it appeal to my cheapness, I liked the idea that I could win it like Moneymaker did some years later.

For whatever it’s worth, I busted out about 10 minutes into the second level. Lund was out two players behind me. We only get to play the chips we have on the table at the time, not the chips we “could have invested, but didn’t.” If you approach the game as a sheer chance event and go all in on every hand, you won’t last long–and, no doubt will wonder why. Think of the chips as tools; it’s the skill of the workman that determines how well he/she uses them.


Well said Alan and my sentiments exactly :+1:t2:

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I play whatever tourney I can join when I feel like pokering. Why should I be limited in my choices?

Sure, I don’t care if I lose 10k or 5k or whatever, but I also don’t care if I lose 1 mill… all free chips are worth the same to me.

Also, by that logic, nobody would be allowed to play freerolls!


Thanks @love2eattacos, it is always great to hear your thoughts on any subject!

You make a good point and, in ring games, I do agree. I would be very sad if my suggestion was implemented regarding ring games but, having made the suggestion for tournaments, I thought it would be fair to include ring games because, I know, some players don’t realise the value of having gamblers in a ring game.

I quite obviously type faster than I think … I meant to be specific that I would only want this to apply to low stakes ring and below some buy-in, say 20k, for tournaments. Just some “barrier” to ensure that the low bankroll players have a decent chance to play against similarly bankrolled and, presumably, similarly (un)skilled players.

@1Warlock, many thanks for your words of wisdom!

I think that the variance would be significantly higher if some sort of limit was implemented but I could cope with that, emotionally, much better. Getting knocked out by some clown who truly doesn’t know that 93o is not a great hand to call a shove with is much more “acceptable” to me than getting taken out by someone who does know better and just doesn’t care.

In ring games, as tacos said, I would top up my coffee, top up my stack, make myself comfortable and start counting my profit! Tournaments, as we all understand, are a different animal though.

@AKFolds, thanks to you as well, you always add value to the discussion.

Yes, having under-funded players joining the table is always a cause for celebration! Once again, though, that is ring game specific.

You make a good point about being able to adapt to the style of play and I totally agree with you. The thing with tournaments, as you know, is that we don’t know if our opponent is a well funded maniac until immediately after they have cracked our AA with whatever rubbish happened to land in front of them.

Sure, we can make a note on that player but how does that help us in the future? Just because the player called with rubbish on this one occasion doesn’t mean that is a pattern. And, even if it was a pattern, do I want to risk my tournament life, a significant percentage of my bankroll, by opening up my range against this player? Do I want to miss out on value by playing stupid tight just because I know that player MIGHT call with rubbish?

What do I when it limps to me, on the button, and I’m holding Q6s, for example? I’m pretty happy to raise that most of the time but I know that old mate is going to re-raise a significant portion of the time and Q6s, in my mind, isn’t strong enough to 4-bet or call his 3-bet.

His 3-bet range is, quite likely, 60% or more of possible hands. I’m not a long way behind but he does have a 10% equity advantage. In a ring game, it’s entirely possible that I would, sometimes, 4-bet or shove over the top of him simply because I can reload and take him out with my KK at some stage. I just can’t do that in a tournament where the buy-in does have a real “value” to me.

I would love to get into this discussion and I think that @1Warlock has a great suggestion regarding reviving or starting an MTT strategy thread. I think my question, here, is a bit too far off topic for this thread.

Alan25main, thanks for your thoughts!

With a good sized field and with his skill advantage, Lund would be stupid not to play “small” stakes if there is nothing else happening! It is, as he told you, an opportunity to get outside of the “normal” range of players he meets which will surely help his game. Placing or winning certainly gives him more than enough to pay for his room and meals as well :slight_smile:

The key, here, is, if there is nothing else happening. If there’s an equal time commitment required, I strongly suspect that we’d see Lund playing a $10k tournament in preference to $25!

Hey there SunPowerGuru, thanks for your comments!

I forgot to mention freerolls but, now that you have reminded me, if this suggestion could be implemented, I’d probably suggest a bankroll limit of 200k or something in that region. The point being that the amount to be won is a significant amount to someone with that bankroll so most players are going to take it more seriously.

I understand that you don’t care if you lose chips and, sure, chips here do not have a cash value. MY chips do have a value to me though. There is a significant time value attached to every one of them whether that is time in the game or time reading and learning.

Of course it’s fun to play otherwise we wouldn’t do it.

Walking the dog is fun and also has a time value to me. I can measure the “fun factor” of walking the dog by considering how beneficial the exercise is for both of us, the pleasure of seeing her chase shadows in the grass, the little chats we have with people and dogs we meet and so on.

The “fun factor” of pokering isn’t so simple though! Yes, I get the pleasure of interacting with some great people like you and the other contributors to this thread and I sometimes have some good chat at the table. I can do many other things that give me a similar amount of pleasure.

I enjoy learning to play better poker and that, of necessity, involves a decent chunk of time. Maybe I would enjoy learning to play chess or some other competitive activity and that, of course, will require a time investment. I have chosen poker, for the moment.

Our exam and assignment grades at school or university tell us whether our study time was a good investment. The absolute change and the rate of change of my bankroll tells me whether my “poker time” is a good investment.

So, I understand and respect that you see your chips as free, that is not how I value my chips.

I really appreciate the discussion to date and understand, mostly, the reasoning behind peoples objections to my proposal.

Maybe it’s just sour grapes from me because I am not funded for any tournament bigger than 500 chip SnG but played, and got knocked out of, a 7.5k tournament.

Having said that, it is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while so it’s good for me to have put my thoughts down and have this discussion.

I can see, now, that there are some very good reasons to not go with my proposal.

Many thanks to everyone!



On the other end of this, I routinely find players sitting at expensive tables sitting in at the heads up tables with nearly 100% of their bankroll, and they’re nearly always shove monkeys who all-in either preflop every hand or at the flop every hand. I usually just give them their 10k double up without a second thought because it’s not like I can ever win any time I go all-in with more than 3-4bb, and if they need the double up that badly 10k is nothing to me. Plus then I can go find a real game with someone else and actually enjoy myself. Funny thing how every single one of these players is broke within an hour.

My chips have a value to me too. I am a cheapskate, lol…aside from league games, I rarely play any MTT with a buy in above 20K, but I easily could. Yes, sometimes the guy with the big bankroll plays LAG, but often I find that they are there for a reason. Some are working on a leaderboard and some want to cash. I play in the Oceanic League - one 7.5K and one 20K each night. The regionals are a monthly leaderboard, and banning the regular players from playing those would not go over well. We want competition. I love that anybody can join freerolls - when I first started playing MTTs, I learned a lot playing against good players, in freerolls, without having to risk anything. I still play freerolls, every once in awhile, because I have a lot of friends that still play and I meet new players :slight_smile: How do you get better if you only play against people at your level?


If you really think about it you yourself have a limitless supply of chips if you sign in everyday you get 2500 free chips so you are never really bust. You can play a $500 bankroll builder and rebuild any stack.

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I do value my chips, but won’t cry if I lose them.

People who have chips have them because they DO care. Those who don’t care are broke.

Once I enter a tournament, those chips are gone… already lost. After that, the entry fee is no longer a consideration at all, is what i was trying to say.