Cancel the First Purchase Special

Offering 1m chips for $10 severely damages the perceived value of the chips, and thereby damages the value of playing on this site.

1m chips only gets you a rank of 10,000, and when I first started out in 2014 I’m pretty sure it got you to ~1,000. The ranks themselves don’t matter, but it shows the level of inflation that has occurred (the top 3 players have over 10b, where 4 years ago number 1 had 4b). On a free chip site, it is difficult to create an environment where players actually try to win. Replay has been successful (in part by charging a fairly large amount to buy chips) at creating a competitive site with free chips, at least at the higher stakes (the skill level may not be high, but at least people seem to be trying). But enabling new players to buy chips for so little will increase the inflation, which will make the high stakes more like the duck pond as higher stakes players win those chips.

The impact of the inflation is difficult to explain, but here goes: at 5/10 ring, nobody cares and everyone raises and goes all in because they can go to the bank and get more chips for free. At 500/1000 players can still buy chips to play these stakes (~2m) for very little or easily win them at the lower stakes by showing minimal effort. But adding an influx of let’s say 1,000 players who buy 1m chips will add 1b to the economy, which they will immediately lose to more skilled players, which will devalue the play at stakes like 20,000/40,0000 where winning or losing a few million chips actually motivates players to try. Once the economy is padded with these new chips, the value of 20000/40000 looks a lot more like 500/1000 did before. This inflation is happening all the time anyway (as I have posted about before) with free chip bonuses, promotions, and the lack of rake in ring games, but this promotion is a particularly bad idea.

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While I agree with most of what you said I will have to disagree with you on that point and don’t think that because players are at a lower stakes table they can be beat with minimal effort.

In fact my observation is many of the regulars that play the lower stakes tables are some of the better players here because they don’t buy chips and they play like every chip is coming out of their own pocket. Has more of a real money game feel and I played real money sites for years.

Notice I said the regulars and of course you get an occasional newby that tries to come in and play bingo poker but they rarely last more than a few hands.

I have said before having a rank based on stack when anyone can buy a huge stack makes the ranking irrelevant and a point system for ranks would be better BUT Replay is in the business of selling chips and that is how they pay for the servers and staff to provide the website for us to play.

So I ignore rank and I play the opponents at the table based on my reading of their style and skills and I set my own personal goals based on improving my game and I can tell when I am up against a skilled player that gives me a real challenge or someone that bought their rank and can’t play without throwing a big stack on the table at buy in.

I played in the Stampede tourney last night and placed 12th out of 129 and got a bounty for felting 2 people and took home 9.8K for a 1K tourney and I went head to head with a few people that had skills and that is how it is in any tourney so I am happy with my results.

I think Replay offers more fun incentives than other sites I have been on even with the big stack buys but you have to set goals to improve your game and play new people and not the same people all the time and keep in mind that new player with a low rank that just joined Replay may be a very experienced player from another site and don’t think it is just beginners luck when they take your stack and clean your clock.

Just my opinion and have a great day and win big!

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My experience has been different. I worked my way up through each level, starting at 1/2 up to 20k/40k, and there is a gradual increase in the typical skill of the players throughout those levels. Yes, at each level there are a range of abilities, and even at the high levels there are fish. However, the players at the higher levels are undoubtedly much stronger on average than those at the lower levels.

I think that your assertion that the players at higher levels have got there by buying chips is likely only true for less than 5% of the players at that level.

The games at the lower levels are so soft that if building a stack and moving up the levels is your goal it is very achievable within a few weeks or months just by a combination of playing decent poker and managing your bankroll somewhat aggressively.

So, I agree with you that a low rank is not necessarily a good indicator of a player’s ability - there are too many other factors like playing time and type of game played. However, a high rank (say in the top 1000) is generally an indicator that a player has been able to win consistently here and is therefore likely stronger than average, relative to the other players here.

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Returning the thread to the issue at hand - inflation. This has nothing to do with rank or buying chips or skill levels. This is about the economy of the site. I am in total agreement with @JoeDirk that inflation is a major issue and its effects are being noticed at every level of the site. It is spiraling out of control, IMO. The primary advantage this site had over other play-chip ones was that there was still some perceived value to the chips here. The greater the perceived value of the chips, the more game theory will apply and therefore the more closely the play here will mimic cash. The lower the perceived value of the chips gets, the more divorced from cash poker the game will become.

The relation between cash and play chip poker is tenuous at best. There is only so far any site can go to replicate the real thing but it can get a good way there, if it manages its economy well. I personally don’t think the periodic chip sales matter as much as maybe Joe does. I think the biggest issue here is the lack of rake at high and elite stakes ring games. The bottom line is that inflation is noticeable here and its rate is increasing, as it always will until addressed. I would hate to see this site become just another WSOP where the games are meaningless because the chips are entirely worthless. There is still time for this site to take remedial actions and restore the perceived values of the chips but that time is running out, IMO.

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Your response fits with the purpose of my initial post (enabling players to buy high ranks devalues the chips and therefore the whole game). But I have to completely disagree with your statement about the quality of play here.

Like most games of skill, people who enjoy playing poker or who are “good” at it can fall into my skill ranges. A high school chess champion would not stand a chance against a world champion, and a professional soccer team from one country can lose 8-0 to a team from another country. One person can beat their friends at poker, another can beat their local $1/2 game, and another can make a living from the game. All of these people are “good”, but to different degrees. With some experience, it’s pretty easy to tell where people fall in terms of skill, just by watching them play a few dozen or hundred hands. And honestly, rank does mean something. Before this silly promotion, it cost $125 to get 3.75m chips, so to accumulate let’s say 30m+ chips indicated that a player was able to beat at least medium stakes consistently. As @love2eattacos did, I also worked up from the original 2500 chips that everyone starts with, and I played mostly medium stakes tournaments (15k-25k) and ring (500/1000) for two years. The standard of play goes up drastically as you get to the highest stakes, starting from 20k/40k. Granted, almost every single player has a major flaws in their game, even at the highest level, except possibly the top 2-5, but there is a gulf between low/medium stakes and high stakes. The site giving away too many free chips is not going to change this gap in skill, but it puts a bankroll gap between the haves and the have nots that devalues the quality of play at stakes below the highest levels and makes it more of a bingo-y grind to get to the stake levels where players are actually trying to win.

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You said it better than I could. I also don’t think the periodic chip sales mean that much, but this one is more drastic than others (900% extra). The lack of rake is the biggest issue because we are talking about billions of chips going into pots that could be used to regulate the economy.

I think the skill question is not central, but it is relevant because the perceived value of chips is tied to the idea that winning them reflects skill rather than luck. Otherwise the person who presses the button the most times would have the most. So it is important to remember that some skill edge is required to win and that stakes and rank actually mean something.

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I have only been here a year so I haven’t forgotten those levels. But I am game to test this out. What level ring game do you think I should be playing to find the regulars?

Another contributing factor is that players can’t withdraw or spend chips from the economy. There’s nothing to purchase with the chips. Maybe there could be custom avatars or badges or something like that.

I think that the various leaderboard competitions are an attempt to address measuring skill in a more valuable way - e.g. Hold Em Hustle is counting the total number of BB won by players this week across different levels of table. It would be much better if these competitions ran all of the time (maybe both weekly and monthly leaderboards) instead of sporadically. It would also be nice if they were made a bit more prominent - e.g. showing a player’s rank in the relevant competitions at the table being played as well as or even instead of their overall bankroll rank.

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Any of the 10/20, 25/50 and 50/100 rings will give you a decent game against regulars if you take the minimum buy in and play it like it is your last money on earth and baby needs new shoes lol.

This is another overlooked problem with inflation and it is most pronounced with MTT’s here. Almost every buy-in MTT or SnG is basically a freeroll to people with 100M+ chips. Like it or not, when someone feels he is freerolling, his play changes. Therefore, the bigger the gap between haves and the have nots, the more haves will come into any MTT and play it like a freeroll. Who wants to play a 250K buy-in event that 33% of the field treats as insignificant? It will become all about variance at the expense of skill.

There will be no way to rebalance the economy if it goes much farther than where it is now. Adding a 0 to all of the buy-ins won’t do it and neither will anything else. Once the economy goes past a certain point, there is no way to undo the damage without taking the risk of alienating all of the higher ranked players. A site’s reputation is built carefully over the course of years and once lost, is nearly impossible to recapture. I’m curious to see if anything is done to preserve the integrity of the chip here or not. If it isn’t, the site will find itself selling 100M chip packages for $50 within a few years and will be just one more play-chip bingofest.

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I am going to assume that I am appropriately if aggressively bankrolled for the level that I am playing. I will play 50/100 with a starting roll of 100,000, so 10 buy ins. I’ll track my sessions at this level and report back.

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IMO, this wouldn’t have any material impact on the net number of new chips entering the system and could potentially have a negative effect on perceived chip values. I think it would also make this site less connected to the game of poker and move it towards more of a novelty site, like WSOP. It should be easy to attack this problem at one of the most visible roots, the lack of rake at high-stakes+ ring games. How hard could it be to start tinkering with these rakes and busting the caps that are currently in place? We’re not talking about a major programming feat, just changing a few variables as inputs to already existing code.

This is such an easy adjustment to make and the importance of doing something ASAP cannot be overstated. I have an attachment to this site and would love to see it prosper for years to come. It has the chance to fill a role that no other play-chip site has ever managed to. It pains me to think that it may go the way all the rest did and leave this space open for someone else to fill.

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Yeah, I just played a 250k MTT, which means the buy-in is smaller than 1 open raise at the stakes of ring I usually play at, and yet it’s the 2nd largest buy-in of any MTT between 7am and 4:30PM EST. I had to leave early (with 15/38 players left) and just let my stack get blinded off because I didn’t really care. The players with 250k in their bankroll don’t care because they paid $10 for 4 tournaments worth of chips and the players with 250m don’t care either because it is basically a freeroll as you said. I don’t know how the site comes back from that.

I also feel like these threads are just an echo-chamber, and the site used to be more responsive to feedback. Maybe things are happening behind the scenes that I don’t know about…

Edit: Maybe I am not the typical Replay player, but I am here to have fun both by learning from playing against better players and by figuring out how to beat the field of worse players. Many of the best players seem to have left because they are sitting with billions of chips and no real competition (which is largely a skill issue and less of an inflation issue). But devaluing the chips further makes even the idea of learning how to beat the field of worse players meaningless because it will become more and more like free chip poker and less like anyone is putting in an effort. At least playing 20k/40k and up, I feel like I am learning how to beat a super passive $1/2 game, while 50/100 I am waiting for AA to stack people. As the inflation gets worse there will be nothing left to learn.

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Sounds good Tacos and hope to see you on those tables!

i would have to agree with joedirk,1warlock, and tacos. bigdogxxx u say come down here and play the regulars. i was down there for 1 or 2 years so i remember too and worked my way up the ranks and stakes from the minimal chips. u say play with the same players all the time hinders your game? you just said that u play with the regulars down there so it must hinder your game and not get u outta your comfort zone so why dont u work your way up and find out the difference by coming up to high stakes and get out of your comfort zone and play with players from all stakes and games to get there and how can u comment any differences between the level of play on all stakes here if u havent been up there yet? and i can tell u if high ranked players came down to play your 5/10 chip table that they wouldnt take it seriously and would leave fast. You also think players with no chips play more serious or are more skilled. In general how could this be true if they can just re load anytime they run out? That makes for a less serious player. Until u have been to all the stake levels like all the rest except u have been to then how can u have any accurate analysis of difference in skill at all levels? the high ranked players that worked their way up the ladder earned the right to not have to play low stakes but the low stake player hasnt earned the right to play high stakes yet so there is a big difference. Like joe said also when he started who was ranked tops at 5 bill. when i started the 1st month of 2012 under a different name, the number 1 player had around 500 or 600 mill i think, so the inflation factor is out of control. You have to earn way more chips now just to gain 1 spot in rank than u used to so that also proves it. Any player under 4 or 500 rank can tell u because u notice it the higher u get in rank. Anyway im not getting into the whole rank topic again but this has a correlation to inflation of chips on this topic and being able to buy for such a cheap price really does push more non skilled players into the the higher stake tables, i already notice it getting out of control on many players betting styles on high stakes.

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Exactly. It has already worked its way in to the highest level MTT’s and SnGs (that are actually played here). This is what a 100K SnG has devolved into - I just picked 1 at random to look at for examples. Its no longer uncommon to see a 100K game played like a 1K game.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/437659858
https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/437659982
https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/437660366

And so on and so forth, I’ve seen people isolate raise with 3/2o by shoving 50+BB in these games. Sure, you’ll see odd plays at all levels no matter where you go but its becoming common at higher and higher stakes. When the highest stake games are basically bingofests, what’s left to work with? Why would this interest any mildly competent poker player in the slightest?

The worse it gets, the worse it will get. You will see people who enjoy the game leaving because they can’t find a decent one any longer. Eventually the word gets out and people will stop signing up in the 1st place. You will be left with a site that has a meaningless currency and a player population that reflects this.

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Exactly Warlock. i just left a high stake ring table after 15 minutes because it became a bingo fest with a few players. one was going all in every other hand with any cards he had and some were calling him. he went all in pre flop on a 46 off, guy called with AJ i think and he flopped a 6 and rivered a 4. i waited for the right hands, won 3 hands for 900k profit and left, at least i played those after the flop but didnt wanna keep being forced to play like that, mainly pre flop. I left high sitngos for the most part because of that too, the 100k promo tables brought in many low and medium caliber players and many good players left, and if you didnt leave then ur stuck playing the 100ks with that because theres not enough good players left to fill that many 250k and 500k tables.

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Not sure I completely agree that inflation is the big evil you’re saying it is … if the chips get devalued, then we can all afford to play more expensive games … (on that note maybe higher stake levels are needed, especially for tournaments) … if the main argument is that the inflation pollutes the player pool with bingo fish then simply move up stakes … and if one or two follow you up, then good! (i’ll happily sit at a table with a bingo player for 12.5+ million.)

I have only been here about a year and a half, and like Taco, I’ve worked my way up the stakes a level at a time. I can’t speak to inflation or what the “good old days” were like around here. However I do take some issue with the statement above.

First, making the minimum buyin is generally not good strategy. I believe that is usually about 50bb which is not large enough to make all the moves that may be needed in any given hand. You can easily box yourself into difficult situations that could have been avoided. Generally buying for the maximum is recommended because having more chips on the table can be an advantage in and of itself. However, i have found that most people buy in for the default so that is what i will do. 100BB is generally enough to navigate most situations. But buying in for the minimum is certainly no sign of greatness or toughness as a player.

Second, the notion of playing “like it is your last money on earth and baby needs new shoes” is similarly not good. Part of rising up through the various stakes here involved proper bankroll management. Treating the chips as if they are important meant I did NOT put more onto the table than I could afford to comfortably lose. Once I got past the first few levels i wouldn’t move up unless i had at least 25 buyins. There is a lot of variance in this game. In order to play a hand properly you need to be comfortable betting a significant amount and losing. Not just once, but several times. Some bluffs will get called down but they’re needed to remain balanced. Some value hands will get caught or be misreads. there will always be losses and sometimes they will pile up quickly. But if you play like you can’t afford to lose, that means you’re not willing to get chips in when you need to to win. That’s scared money, and it was always easy pickins when I was making my way up.

That said, I agree that the cap on the rake at the higher levels is ridiculously low compared to everything else on the site and might be a fairly easy place to look to skim some money back out.

However, I don’t know how big of a problem the purchase promotions are when even someone like me, who has never bought or reloaded chips, has received over 1.4 million chips in daily bonuses in the 1.5 years I’ve played here. It would be interesting to see how many new chips come into the ecosystem each day from various sources vs. the rake that comes out. I wouldn’t be surprised if purchases were a small percentage of that number.

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You missed the point. Read the entire discussion I had with Tacos.

That is why free chip poker will never emulate real money poker. You are not playing as if every chip is coming out of your pocket so you take more chances on bad hands and that breeds sloppy playing and bingo style players that are all over Replay even at the highest stakes tables.