Owner and Lead Pro
Professional Cash game trainer Bart Hanson has been producing strategy content for over fifteen years. He first started on Live at the Bike! back in 2005, then moved on to host "Cash Plays" on Poker Road, then "Deuce Plays" on Deuces Cracked and then to CrushLivePoker in 2012.
In his career as a professional poker player, Bart Hanson has:
-6 WSOP Final Tables
-Over 15 years of experience at the table
-Over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings
-Multiple appearances on ESPN and Poker Night in America
-4th place finish in 2019 WSOP Monster Stack
Tweet Reversal--In drop games like in California you should chop @CrushLivePoker
Tweet Reversal--In drop games like in California you should chop
One of the first articles that I ever wrote for CardPlayer told people that they should not chop in big bet games. My argument was basically that players would get so rattled if you “played” that they would make very poor decisions after the flop. I gave an example of a player that stacked off to me with Q5os for three big streets on a queen high board against my overpair.
Although my argument did have merit at the time, I am here to say that I have changed my mind on the topic, especially in drop games like we have in Southern California. Now if you are in a time game than I really see no reason to chop. The rake is not costing you any money so my original argument about headsup confrontation is very valid.
However, it is the rake, and especially games that take a full drop after the flop, not a percentage, which has made me change my mind. In Los Angeles, in the $5-10 games that I play in, the drop is $5+$1 on the river +$1 for the bad beat jackpot--no matter how small the pot is. A lot of people are unfamiliar with this structure coming from places like Las Vegas where the money is collected as a “rake”, say 10% up to a $5 cap.
In a raked game, depending on the structure, the decision to chop could go either way. The deeper the stacks the more unlikely it is that I will chop. But in a drop games you just cannot beat the casino. I mean would you play someone headsup for $7 per hand? I would think absolutely not. You probably would not be able to beat one of the biggest fish in the world with that type of money coming out of the pot, especially in a capped game.
The other quirky thing about games in Los Angeles, however is that even when you do chop they still take a modified drop. I remember, ten years ago when I first started playing it was 50 cents. Now it is two dollars. But after even losing two dollars to the drop after chopping it still makes sense to chop when, if you just limp, as much as 20% of the pot will be taken.
You can imagine that if I am advocating chopping the blinds in $5-10 games what you think I think about $5 blind games. A lot of the games here in Los Angeles are now $5-$5 so it doesn’t require you to complete any amount of money in the small blind if it gets folded to you. If both blind were headsup and checked their options, $6 of the $10 pot would be dropped! And if it got checked down to the river an additional $1--totaling 70% of the pot. That really is an incredible amount. Remember when you are dealing with flat drop games or heavily percentaged rake games the best idea is to chop.
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