Monday, February 02, 2009

What poker rooms really DON'T need

Playing at the Rio last night reminded me of something: Is it possible I've been writing for nearly 2 1/2 years without ever grousing about how much I hate $2 chips?

Here are the places locally that use $2 chips in addition to $1s and $5s: Rio, Red Rock, Binion's (inconsistently; some dealers use them only as drop chips, other circulate them), Aliante Station (same), Caesars Palace. They are accursed, wretched things. They do no good and just get in the way. They increase the complexity of getting the pot right and of visually estimating the size of the pot--not to an impossible degree by any means, but it's still annoying and unnecessary. I just can't see what useful purpose they serve. As drop chips, sure--make the box fill up less quickly than with $1s. But to use on the table, they're a pain in the neck.

When I'm at one of the above-named joints, I'm in a constant battle with the dealers. I'm trying to get rid of my $2 chips and they're always trying to give them back to me. If I have to pay a $3 blind, or call that amount, I'll use two $2 chips if I have them, even if I have 20 $1 chips in my possession. I want them GONE! They just clutter up my otherwise tidy arrangement of chips. I'm not so nutty about it that I trouble the dealer to change them for me every time I get them, because that would justifiably annoy the dealer and slow down the game. But they are always the first to go when I'm putting money into the pot.

There is simply no need for chip denominations in increments smaller than a factor of four or five--with maybe one exception. A casino can do just fine with chips of $1, $5, $25, $100, $500, and $1000. (A few nosebleed-stakes players need them higher, but I won't get into that.) That last jump is the only interval less than a factor of four or five that might be useful. That's because $100 and $1000 are both obviously natural amounts to work with, and I can see that it would be helpful to have one increment in between those, though it wouldn't kill anybody if there were none. I don't think it would be at all difficult to manage with either $500s OR $1000s without the other, and then have the next increment at $2500. But it's not like I play those stakes anyway, so I won't waste any more time opining on it.

I read somewhere (but am feeling too lazy to search for it again) somebody's "theory of chip equity" (at least I think that's what they called it): every chip denomination should be divisible into the next-highest chip denomination. That makes sense to me. $2 chips fail that test. They visibly slow down the process when a dealer has to count a player's stack because of this: they add in a small mental block because about half the time they can't be stacked into an amount that is equivalent to the next-highest chip denomination or multiple thereof.

$2 chips are like $2 bills--nobody wants them, and we would all be better off if they had never been invented. A few casinos, like the stupid federal government, keep trying to foist them off on us, for reasons that completely escape me. I wish they would just give it up.

9 comments:

bellatrix78 said...

2$ chips are ESSENTIAL for playing 6/12 and 8/16 limit games.
You've been in Vegas too long. Come to California sometimes where people actually still play limit Hold'em :P

Anonymous said...

I was about to say that myself. The only place I know that uses them, uses them exclusively for 6/12 Omaha Hi-Lo. Theoretically they'd play at the other tables if you moved I guess, but only if the player and floor were both idiots and didn't change the chips out.

Parker said...

Ah, this takes me back to younger days playing with friends using 10c / 25c / $1 chips. I absolutely hated the 25c chips and would set the values at 10c, 50c, $2.50 when the game was at my place. Without a dealer to exchange, though, I'd just always bet in amounts that were impossible to call out of spite-- 15c raises became common though not strategically useful, and if someone was out of quarters you can bet my raise would end in a 5.

BWoP said...

At least Wynn did away with the $3 chips. That was beyond annoying.

NewinNov said...

Sorta like the $20 chips. Why have $20 chips when you have $25 chips?

SuicideKing said...

You're right, they don't need $2 chips in a no limit game. One or five is enough, twenty five for bigger games and so on. But Bellatrix is right, you need to have them for larger limit games, which don't seem to get spread too much in Vegas. They run everyday in California casinos. Take a trip here! Your cali readers will show you the town. And it's illegal to smoke indoors here!

randy tucson said...

Some times at the Orleans there are pink $2 chips in play at the 1/2 tables. Have seen them mistaken for 1 or 5. Typically rake drop and on PLO tables.

Anonymous said...

The worst was playing the $5-$200 SL game at Bay 101 a few years back, where they actually used $1, $2, $3, and $5 chips. It confused the heck out of me to see people limp into the pot with either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 chips. My head hurts just thinking about it...

Tony Bigcharles said...

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