How would you compare the difficulty of replay buy-ins vs real money buy-ins

i like to know which buy-ins in replaypoker are similar in difficulty to buy-ins in real money poker

to specify my question i mean something like this
for example 50k on replay is as hard as 10euro buy-ins. 125k is as hard as 20 euro buy ins. 500k/50. 1m/100.etc. etc. etc.

of course i know there is not a standard line in this but a rough list will be very helpful too.
and of course the more buy-ins explained the better it is.


When I played the WSOP main event in 2006 ($10,000 USD buyin) I was shocked to find that a large percentage of the players played like it was a 5k free chip tourney. I kid you not, the tournament was full of clueless maniacs.

How a tournament plays depends on several factors other than just the buyin amount. For example, “bounty” tournies are always wilder than no bounty ones, 6 seat tournies play faster than 9 seat ones, etc.

Another key difference is the number of people who enter. For example, a million chip buyin on replay will only attract a handfull of people. You can’t really compare this to a $5 buyin real money event that may have a few thousand entrants… they just won’t play the same way.

I don’t think it’s possible to make a list as you suggest.

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wow vn that you have played in the wsop.
that’s indeed very insane to play like that in such a huge buy-in tournament, never have thought there would be so many people like that in there.

ok, did’nt knew about the bounty differences, but i’ll get that 6max is looser then 9max because of the lesser players.

good example, but is it a option to compare it with a same amount of ppl, for example say 1m buy-in on replay with 10 people with an X euro buy-in with about 10 people. don’t know if this is possible, but if it is it can make it more clear.

last question is: does it make it more possible if you make the examples with a margin? for example: instead of 50k/10 euros, you make an example like 25K-100K on replay is somewhat the same like 5-25 euro’s.
of course i get the are so many differences which make it very hard or maybe even impossible to get a good list, but it is also clear that 1000 euro buy-ins attract better people then 100 euro buy-ins. so there should be some clearness in it.

if you can (or can’t) answer this i like to know

tyvm for the help so far.

Well ok, let’s give this a try. The Euro and USD are close enough that I’ll just use USD because that’s my currency. (9.3 Euros = 10 USD)

Although there are a few super high roller real money tournies with $1 million buyins, the biggest “standard” buyin is usually $10,000. On Replay, it’s 1 Million. We should thus be able to map the $10K to the 1 million Replay tournament, which is a 1-100 ratio.

There are $1 and $2 buyin real money tournies, but if we take the “standard” low end of the real money scene to be a $5 buyin tourney, this would probably map to the 500 buyin Replay tournies, which again is a 1-100 ratio.

From this, we could probably say that a real money tournament should play about the same as a Replay tournament costing 100 times as much in fake chips, but I wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in this idea.

Average skill level is impossible to measure in any meaningful way. In fact, there aren’t even measurement units for such a metric.

What we can say, however, is that the average skill is at it’s lowest when the tournament starts, and at it’s highest at the final table. Yes, strong players do sometimes bust out early, and weaker players sometimes make it deep, but in general, the average skill level starts as low as it will ever be and just goes up as the tournament progresses.

This is why the number of entrants is so important. One has to survive hordes of maniacs to get to the few good players at the end. Weak players have the same chance of catching pocket aces as strong players. Weak players actually have a better chance of flopping a straight or flush because they are willing to play a much wider range of starting hands. It’s like trying to tap dance through a minefield.

I’m tempted to say that the number of entrants is a better indication of what to expect than the buyin itself.

By the way, the reason the main event played the way it did is because so many of the players got there via sattellite and didn’t pay the $10K to enter. I won my seat by winning a freeroll series. Many others got there by winning $11 buyin 1000 seat sattellites, and so on. The few people at my table who scrimped and saved for a year or more to pay the $10k were brutally bullied by those of us with nothing to lose. “&@##@&^ internet donks!” was a phrase heard often, usually by grown men in tears as they headed for the rail. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Here’s another way to look at it…

$50 USD will buy you 1 million Replay chips. If the number of entrants was equal, a $50 USD buyin real money tournament should play about the same as a tournament costing 1 million replay chips.

I’m not sure if this is valid, but it might be a decent starting point.

yea i get your point.
however i want to ask you another question: the 1-100 ratio sounds logical because of the average maxes.
but have you calculated that the average player on replay is a lot weaker then the average in a real money game because many people here think it is “just” fake money and play like morons because of that, just like the internet donks you were talking about because they got there in the wsop for free.
another thing is for example: getting 500 euros/dollars is a really lot harder then getting 50K chips here with playing poker.
so with this in mind, would you still think of the same difficulty ratio or should it be an even bigger ratio?

ty for the help so far

Getting to the WSOP for free doesn’t make one a weak player, but it does change one’s perspective on the game. For example, the week I won my seat, 252,000 people entered the freeroll series and 10 of us won seats. One doesn’t beat 25,200-1 odds by being weak.

It’s illegal for me to play for real money now, so I play here because I still love the game. Don’t assume everyone playing free poker is weak, though many are.

Is the average real money player 100 times better than the average free player? I would doubt it.

It’s hard to put a number on the effect of the “nothing to lose” mentality, but it surely has a huge effect. I said that I don’t think it’s possible to compare the two as you suggested, but am willing to give it a try. :slight_smile:

Since you can buy a million free chips here for $50 USD, that would suggest a 20,000-1 value ratio. So yes, 100-1 is probably way low. I can’t think of any other data points that would allow a better alignment, so am now reduced to flat out guessing. How about 5000-1?

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I’ve played some microstakes before and the postflop play is a lot like 1000/2000 without the maniacs. People chase too many draws and over value top pairs with poor kicker. However, the preflop play is a lot tighter and there are still a few limpers. A 5bb raise would only get 1 or 2 callers though. So I would say the micro stakes are like mid or high stakes on replay but minus the maniacs and better preflop play.

. During the early 2000s I was living in London and lots of the pubs /clubs were running a poker league with seats the WSOP as the ultimate prize. Buy-in was only 2 quid… top 2 from each venue won a seat at a 20 quid tourney… Top 2 won a seat in a 100 tourney…top 2 won a seat in a 500 tourney… top 2 won a seat in a 2000 tourney. …top 2 won seats at a 5000 tourney. The winner of this got flights, accommodation and a buy-in to the main event at a WSOP event of their choice and second place got a seat at one of the other games at the same event.
It was a city-wide pub competition and I am sure that the publicans/bar owners in other cities all over the world had the same idea so I can understand Suns comment "clueless maniacs’ . There were probably 10% pro players, 10% amateur hopefuls who had played hard to earn that 10k to buy a seat and dreaming of the big pay-day.The other 80% were pissheads partying it up because they got an all-in vacation to Vegas and a chance to be a millionaire for the cost of a beer.

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i think you misunderstand what i meant, i never thought those people are weak because they got there for free, it’s as you say that it is really hard to get a 25200-1 ratio win. what i meant is that the average player on replay is worse then the average player on real money tournament and also that many people are playing like maniacs here and compared it to the people you talked about because they both think about the fact that they got it for free and play way too loose because of that. apologies if i offended you but i just meant to say that free money makes many ppl playlike they have nothing to lose (which makes them play worse then they could, not being a bad player)

true, you and me obviously know about how to play well and have seen more players on replay who know how to play, but i mean there are much more bad players on replay then on real money tables.

really don’t think so too.

i get that, just trying to get as much as possible facts in it to make the calulating more accurate.

yes that’s a quite diffficult thing, but to specify it the thing is the comparing of the skill level of those replay and real stakes. the reason why 1-100 looks low is because the average replay players are weaker then the average real money players, and the reason why 1-20000 looks too high is because what you say 1m here is the max so the best replay players are there while 50 euros/dollars is a somewhat low stake in poker so more worse players are able to play them.
at least we know now that the average ratio is between 100 and 20000 :smile:
also the real ratio shall not be exactly the same for each stake, so the average is a good ratio to use.
about the data points you talked about, the best thing is to look about a specific stake and compare it to the replay stake which look the most to each other, the more stakes you know about the more accurate it becomes.

i don’t really know stakes to compare because i never have played real money poker yet. i only have played the onkpoker and ntkp which are both dutch championships (normal and team) but both of them has no prize money.

ok good comparing, but you mentioned micro stakes and 1000/2000, while the micro’s are more then 1 buy-in category. can you specify which one or play they all mostly the same in each micro stake category?

sounds like literally an ALL-IN vacation :grin:

I think to help develop the profiles of the players who play here we need to develop them honestly and put a description on them so you can be more accurate with your calculations.

For starters let’s get the concept “free money” out of the discussion because I think it automatically biases the results. I’d rather see a term like “value” players and “no-value” players, because if we allow that, then automatically there is a third class who shall be named as “mixed-value” players. As an example I play often as a “mixed value” player when I play Hi-Lo low buy-in Omaha Hi Lo MTT. But when I buy-in at 200K Ring I am a “value” player.

The problem is that low buy-ins attract “mixed” and “no-value” players so as a “value” player I am literally forced to play the accepted way. And, of course, I lose a lot. I would further argue that what other sites call “freeroll”, here that category also includes many low buy-in games, and the reason for that is because when you bust out here you can immediately get ponied up again, basically a free ride in a buy-in game. Hence, there should be an entire class of buy-in games that are really traditional freeroll games. (I am trying to convince the powers that be to adopt a very sophisticated free roll system that will teach players value… in essence they are stuck in the free roll system until they EARN their way out.)

But a greater point is If we accept this premise, and then analyze the games that can be played, I think you will start to see that there is good poker being played here.

As an example, for the most part, and for sure, quality poker is played in the SnGs Medium and High Levels. You will play good solid poker much of the time in the SnGs. Yeah, there will on occasion be a wise guy but in balance, you can always appreciate good poker in that section.

Similarly, in the MTTs you have some good play at the medium and high Holdem games. A serious player, who accepts large tournament variance, can earn well. I can’t speak for the exotic games, Royal, Omaha, and Omaha Hi Lo. Even the high buy-in games are infected with “no value” and “mixed value” players. I think the International Leagues get good poker after you get through the first half hour of play. But that is truth of all large tournaments.

Ring Hold-em also attracts “value” players most of the time. And the higher you go on the buy-in, the more likely you are to see great play.

One other comment. I don’t know the real average attendance per day, but my guess is there are 4,-5,000 players per day who play. I also believe that during that same day there are more than 200 good solid players playing. Breaking this down a little, this would have at any given time, maybe 50 or 60 good players engaged. That means other serious players can fairly easily seek them out and join a solid quiet, game of poker. I believe we have this now. If you have a million chips, play SnG Medium for awhile. If you have managed to win or buy 3 million, play SnG High.

Good luck.


You didn’t offend me at all.

I was just pointing out that the fact that play money doesn’t always imply weak play. Having said that, I agree that the average skill level here is probably lower than you would find on a pay site, but not by as much as one might think.

I have played many hundreds of real money tournies in the $5 - $20 range, but all of them were at least 1000 seats. How to they compare to Replay tournies? Frankly, they don’t. You would probably be better off comparing Replay MTTs with real money multi table sit-n-goes.

I think that the real problem here is trying to assess a player’s skill level, and the lack of metrics that would make that possible. One can get a rough idea by looking when they joined, how many chips in their bank, and the number of awards (to get an idea of how active they have been), but this is a rough estimation of their skill at best. The fact that one can buy chips makes this even more difficult.

Mapping real money to play money tournaments is an interesting concept, but there may be no real solution given the lack of available data.

i get your point,
just want to add that what you call no value players is seen more often in average on this site then it is on real money tables, which make the average player on real money tabes better then here, but it isn’t the players itself i am talking about, just the average. and i know there are very good players here too especcialy in the higher stakes. i have also seen/played more play money poker but of them all this is the best by far imo, and of them all this site got certainly the best average players. that’s also a thing i like about this site.
so in short: the thing i mean with this is if you compare the averages of replay and real money the real money is at a better average and beause of that the comparing this forum is about the size of this agerage difference is important to calculate the ratio of chip difficulty.

thanks for the information.

ok good to hear :wink::grin:

i know, i also like to play it serious because that’s the best way to improve my poker game, and i assume other people mayy think so too, also it’s the most fun imo :slight_smile:

that’s a good one to know, i get they are really different because of the huge player amount differences, but as you say earlier most off the time the tables are very all rounded in the beginning and later in the tournament the most of better ones keep in, also it’s obvious that a 5 dollar buy-in has an weaker average then a 500 dollar buy-in so because there is an average can you maybe use these things to make a comparing? don’t know if that works of course but maybe you have something to work with with these facts?

yes that’s a hard one, don’t know if ti helps but the fact of the buying chips option is indeed fairly difficult because that allowes bud players on high buy-ins, but the fact that you now talk about individual players don’t have to be that relevant because it is all about the average skill level to make a good comparing.

i get it, don’t know if the data helps i explained in this posts but maybe it helps.

thanks for the information.

2NL or 4NL. It varies from platform to platform, its just a general guideline.


really are u nuts, free is like monopoly, this is free,l i dont thionk u would do the bets i have seen here if if it was real dough

You seem to be missing the point. Yes, there are plenty of players who play crazy poker and don’t care about winning or losing. But as Scratch said, there are some players who are actually good at poker, and the higher stakes you play, the better your chances are of playing with those players.

To answer the original question, I don’t know much about the quality of big-money poker tournaments, but I have played a bit of live $1/2 ring, and I would say it probably matches up most closely with 500/1k or 2k/4k ring on Replay. Plenty of people don’t know or care how to play well, but there are some good players. I imagine that the closest thing to professional poker on Replay would be the 100k/200k+ ring. Those guys in the top 25 are all sharks. I have played the 1m chip MTTs and high stakes SnGs, which are probably the most competitive tournaments Replay has, and while there are a lot of good players in those, I don’t think it is as competitive as say day 2-3 of the WSOP or the 100k/200k ring on Replay. But having never played a real-money tourney (except for winning $150 from my friendly home game), I couldn’t say for sure.