MPN Aims to Eliminate Short Stacking

5 years ago
Trial period begins next month
12 Nov

Forcing cash game online poker players to buy-in for 100 big blinds rather than permitting them to sit down with a short stack of 30 BBs or so sounds a bit cruel, doesn't it?

After all, some players like to enter ring game action with less money on the table. Those who do prefer short stack play may argue that if they shove all their money in the pot and lose, their losses will be less with a short stack. And perhaps their deposits will last longer as a result.

Furthermore, short stackers may tend to fit more in the category of recreational players. And poker rooms are making moves to attract casual players, not shoo them away.

However, the Head of Poker at Microgaming, Alex Scott, has announced that MPN will roll out an experiment on December 1 in which all Omaha Hi/Lo tables will require buy-ins of 100 BBs. Why? Because evidence shows that short stackers can win more when forced to buy-in at 100 BBs.

A Look at the Numbers

Careful analysis reveals that players who buy-in for 100 BBs are winners 47% of the time, while the short stackers who enter the game with 30 BBs win 44% of the time. While 3% may seem minimal, it's not when you consider that MPN data showed that 82% of players buy-in for 100 BBs, and those players scoop 92% of the cash in the pots.

Conversely, the 30BB crowd, who are comprised of 11% of the players, win only 4% of the cash.

MPN, via its Grouped Lobby feature, set up a default where players had to sit down with 100 BBs. In looking at the stats of players who previously bought in for 30 BBs but were now forced to begin play with 100 BBs, players who were previously losing on average became winners - on average. Furthermore, the opposite was true for players who went from buying in for 100 BBs to 30 BBs.

That led MPN to implement the following beginning the 1st of next month:

We will change all Omaha Hi/Lo tables on the MPN to only allow buy-ins of exactly 100BB. We will carefully monitor the impact, and if it is neutral or positive we will then roll out this change, gradually, to Omaha Hi and eventually to Hold’em. If at any point the impact is negative, then we will revert to the current setup."

An interesting experiment that may actually benefit players who liked to (or had to) buy-in with a short stack. Scott also pointed out that short stackers tend to pay more rake, likely due to the propensity to shove all-in pre-flop.

The "no short stack" trial hopes to extend the playing time of the previous short stackers, thereby increasing their value to MPN. Will it work?

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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more


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