I just found out that I'm a "ratholer"; that is that I usually leave the table when my stack is about 2x what I bought in for, and find another table to do it all over again.
I play the 6 max shortstack tables with auto top up to max turned on.
Why is this "ratholing" frowned upon? I do dislike it myself, if someone just took my stack, and then leaves; but that is just my problem is it not? The money belongs to him at that point, and he is free to do what he wants...
In fact I don't even get the point about not allowing "going south" (i.e. siphoning off some off the surplus cash and reducing the stack to the original buyin, while remaining at the table)...
I can't think of anything fundamentally wrong with either of those, other than people not "liking" it, but please enlighten me, I want to know...
Joined: Mar '09
Age: 40 (F)
Probably they are trying to improve to the better the "player experience" and make it more fair to all the players.
But if you think it through it is a moneymaker move, since it will highly raise the total amount of money in the tables, thus meaning bigger pots and more rake.
That of course if the players dont log off and wait for the time limit if there is one so they can buy with minimum. Dont know how things work there in this matter, dont have an account there, but other rooms have limits like 15 or 30 minutes after last log off where you can rebuy the minimum. But how many players will follow this at the end?
Joined: Feb '08
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 28 (M)
Never heard it called ratholing before but I'm certainly familiar with the contempt poker players have for this "safety first strategy".
Now I know lots of forum members say you should always buy your stack to max to make the most of winning hands and that you should play deepstack to eat up all those fish, but I'm a fan of a sensible shortstack strategy, which reduces your win/loss on swingy tables and gives you more profit per stake. Of course you have to be smart and adjust your play, you can't afford to be as loose and you need to make every hand you play count. But the key thing is to reach a target amount and leave, otherwise you risk losing it all in one cold hand with a deepstack. If you leave with 150-200% profit you steadily increase your bankroll much more than going up and down playing deepstack for hours on the same table.
But whether deepstack or shortstack it does not make sense to me to have three or four times your usual buy-in on one table. Granted you can only lose the stack size of the other players and you can win more when you risk more but by playing on your winnings are at risk. It's very tempting not to see the winnings as part of your bankroll until you leave the table. You may be the better player and on an easy table but we all know that it doesn't protect you from a downswing. Losing that much because you didn't know when to quit might even put you on tilt.
I understand why poker players do not like players to leave the table. It's often put down to etiquette and good sportsmanship but actually we just hate other players walking away with our money. So poker sites, casinos, and other players force us to stay and play after a big win. It's worse in live poker. You might only play one cash table the whole night so obviously you can't leave if you triple up in the first hour but this leads to a situation where you have a lot more money in front of you than you are comfortable risking on a single game. I've played in cash games where my 20 pound buy-in has become 80 and as everyone rebuys and tops up and new players join I am still left comparatively shortstack but I'm forced to play on to give these players who are clearly more well-off than me a chance to win their money back.
There's so much pressure to carry on playing after you double up live. The only thing you can do is announce that you are leaving in ten hands and then it doesn't matter if you win more or lose slightly. I think such a feature is missing in online poker. Players would then know how long they have to get their money back although of course you wouldn't be tied to it. It's just etiquette.
Joined: Dec '10
Age: 24 (M)
I feel exactly the opposite as awood88 ... Whenever I manage to doulbe/triple my stack Im hopin some donk accidentally triples his and suddenly theres a HUGE stack to win Of course I wanna avoid the good players with big stacks but I love being deep against a donk
Joined: Feb '11
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 52 (M)
Its a real mixed chalice isnt it! Should you stay or should you go? Some might say that to quit while youre ahead is a good thing, but the player who you have just beaten will be miffed cos he wants you to stay so he can try and win his stash back..... SO, why not just stay where you are and let him try and win back his stack, on the basis that he will probably start playing any old crap and you can simply take even more off him!
"ratholing" or "hit n run" is part of the short stack strategy. In theory one doubles up and finds a new table. Was very popular a few years back. Combined with bankroll management stop loss theory, if one did not grow their bankroll, at the very least, one could control how many BI's or as some prefer BB's one loses per session. Some take this a step further and use a stop win limit to protect themselves from bad beats. The biggest disadvantage to this style of play is the person playing this style becomes predictable as it becomes easier to put them on a specific range of hands. Regs know this and adjust accordingly. Tend to play mid stack strategy myself and don't use a clock. Use orbits instead, some tables just aren't profitable so there is not much use hanging around. After a large win, for example, more often than not will reset my orbits to zero and firmly adhere to my stop loss limit. SSS is good for those new to the game or the odd jump up in limits to control risk. As for being "bad", that's matter of opinion. Doesn't matter to me one way or another becoz the seats usually fill quick enough anyway.
Posted by remco2504: Yeah i hate that sjit !!..why you do that man ?? There is no point doing that ..it doesnt increase your winning potential.
My reason for doing it, is that I've noticed that I tighten up with a big stack, and I tend to loose money to big turn/river bets I can't call with the right pot odds. I'm probably ahead a lot of times, and have no problem calling when it's just for 1 or 2 buy ins (if a particular player is obviously trying to buy the pot a lot), but having to call for 4+ buyins without pot odds, is not part of my game plan.
It seems that there is no rational argument against it, in terms of it being unfair. It's mostly the feeling of someone walking off with "your" money.
So why do companies like pokerstars put effort into preventing this type of strategy? I think Mober makes a good point about "bigger pots and more rake"...
Other than that I agree with everything awood wrote.
The term "ratholing" was new to me too btw, I read it yesterday in one of Sorin's posts. I think its a good word for it, despite the negative connotations...
I agree about it being fair and legal. It is allowed so there's nothing wrong about it.
But being able to keep growing your stack in any situation should be your main concern as a poker player, not just keeping your money in the short run. Short stacks will probably make more moves and overbets trying to double up, so you can try to catch them while they do that with your big stack ^^ Being a big stack in a cash game isn't a disadvantage, you just have to pick your spots a little more carefully which is also not a bad thing in general.
Joined: May '12
Age: 25 (M)
Can someone please explain what the softwares (like PS) are doing in order to prevent 'ratholing' (hit & run strategy?). I never thought it's possible cause you can always leave the table whenever you like to. Besides, I don't understand the big problem here. Everyone has free choice. For your bankroll though it's a -EV move (if you are a good player) because: if you won because you played a bad opponent, which is willing to risk more, it's much better to stay. He is bad and maybe on tilt too...
Posted by rafiko1: Can someone please explain what the softwares (like PS) are doing in order to prevent 'ratholing' (hit & run strategy?).
From what I've read, they are introducing a concept called "Stack identity", where they remember the stack you left with, at one table, and forcing this as a minimum buyin when you join a similar table (just like they already do if you rejoin the same table).
It seems that the problem they have, is correctly identifying the "ratholing" behavior; they'll only do it when you multitable a lot of tables, and they need to prevent workarounds like leaving one table with a big stack, then joining two other tables, one of which will get the big stack, and then immediately leaving the table with the big stack again, without playing a hand...
It seems that a lot of people find that these professional 24 multitabling ratholers, are spoiling the game... The measure is not aimed at people like me who are just doing it on 1 or 2 tables apparently...
Joined: May '12
Age: 25 (M)
Thanks marqis for your explination
Seem to me like a b******t move. How can the software know on which table the "ratholing" happened if you are multi-tabling. And what with those people that do hit & run not because of the money but because they are not used to play big stack, or are facing a tough opponent on table?
Ratholing is a little 'unethical' because : (quote) "it reduces the chances for the players who have lost the money to win it back". But it still is a player's choice and now his money. The losing player can win money from someone else on table.
I don't think that they will find a solution to this, "stack identity" and identifying the ratholer will be almost impossible to program.
Joined: May '09
Age: 30 (M)
in poker i'm not touchy about ethics, morals or etiquette. you are taking some1 else's hard earned money, its hard to beat that level of 'bad' u dnt kick some1 in the balls and then feel bad about forgetting to shake their hand. imo if u r worried about what others think as good or bad, then u need to play another game. the only thing that matters for me is rules, which i follow ( or get around )
Joined: Mar '11
Age: 37 (M)
the only ones i'm really bothered about are those "all-in every hand retards". they hit a hand and run for their lives. just because of those I approve of whatever means to stop that s**t. If someone else was on a table for lets say 15 minutes and then doubles up then i see no problem really. I do that here and there... Usually i stick around for 2 rounds of blinds more ( no reason to leave when the table is giving me money) but if after that i start to see my stack drop it's time to go try ur luck somewhere else.