When I did a table change yesterday at Planet Hollywood, it reminded me of something I left out of my room review of Harrah's Atlantic City. They have a strange rule there that I've never seen or heard of anywhere else. If you have more chips in front of you than the maximum buy-in, if you change tables you must pocket the excess. I.e., you can't move to a new table with more chips than if you were joining it as a new player in the room. This is decidedly odd, as it reduces the number of chips in play, and casinos usually have every incentive to keep more chips on the table.
It's a dream come true for players who like to lock up profits and not put their winnings at risk--i.e., the squirrelers or pigeonholers. Instead of having to try to sneak chips off the table and into their pockets when nobody is looking, they can just ask for a table change and management forces them to go south with the amount that is over the table max.
This really makes no sense. You might as well make it a rule that anything you win over the table max must automatically be taken off the table, whether you move or not. Why is it any worse to come to a new table with more chips than the max, but OK to stay where you are with more chips than the max? It is illegal to take your profit off the table if you stay put, but mandatory to do so if you're just moving to a different table of the same game. That may be the single most illogical pair of rules I've ever run across in a poker room.
Incidentally, a couple of months ago I learned for the first time that Mandalay Bay has the opposite rule: If you're changing tables, and you're below the minimum initial buy-in, you have to rebuy to at least the minimum to go to a new table. This makes some sense, because (1) it keeps more chips in action, which is good for both the casino and the players, and (2) when there's an empty seat to be filled, the players at the table have a reasonable expectation that it will be filled by somebody bringing at least the minimum buy-in.
If this rule is in place and enforced at any other casino in town, I have not encountered it. (If readers know of such, please speak up in the comments.) At the time I learned of it, I thought it was unique to Mandalay, but when I came home and looked it up, I was surprised to find it suggested in Roy Cooke and John Bond's Cooke's Rules of Real Poker. On p. 56 they write:
9.02 Minimum buy-in
The minimum buy-in applies to a player's initial buy-in when entering the
game, or a re-buy after going all-in in a pot or when returning to the table
after leaving during a period that would constitute the same playing session. If
a player is transferring from a game of the same type and limits then he does
not need to buy additional chips. (ALTERNATE RULE: A player transferring to
another game of the same type and limits must enter the game he is transferring
to with at least the minimum buy-in, unless he is coming from a broken game. The
logic behind this rule is that insofar as the players at the new table are
concerned, the transferring player is a new player. This alternate rule induces
action and is preferred, but because it is not widely accepted, it is the
alternate rather than the main rule.)
I like the Cooke/Mandalay Bay rule. I hate the Harrah's A.C. rule.