Home Poker Tournaments - Chip Races
Home poker tournaments are becoming more and more popular. By knowing how to deal with certain circumstances your tournaments will run more smoothly, and be more fun for everyone. This article deals with removing low value chips from the tables by means of a chip race. When a poker tournament begins, each player usually starts with a healthy stack of chips that are the lowest denomination. After all, you'll need them to pay the blinds, and probably for all of the betting during the first few blind levels. But, as time passes and the blinds increase, these smaller chips eventually are more bothersome than helpful.
With blinds at $75 and $150, putting up fifteen $10 chips to pay a big blind is not convenient. So, once a chip value is no longer needed to pay any of the remaining blinds on the schedule, those chips are removed from play. When possible, they are cashed in at face value for a higher denomination chip. But, someone is bound to have the odd chip or two, and that brings us to the question of how to remove those odd chips from play as well. The first way to deal with this situation is to ignore it.
It won't go away, but those leftover $10 chips will only be put into play when a player is going all-in. At that time you can sort out any situations as they occur. Eventually one player will gather enough of the small chips to cash them in. Or, you can race off the smallest chips of the smallest value. A chip race begins with the player in the dealer's position. For each odd chip they have, they receive one card, face up. So, if the dealer has three odd chips, he will receive three cards face up. This continues around the table until all the players have given their odd chips in exchange for cards. At that point, the collected chips are totalled and a pile of the same value is made using the next higher chip denomination. So, if $100 worth of $10 was collected, $100 of the next highest chip value (perhaps $25's) would be set aside to award in the race.
If the numbers do not match, they are rounded up. So, if $120 worth of $10 chips were collected, $125 worth of $25 chips would be awarded in the race. Now, the awarding of the chips. The player with the highest card receives one chip. Then the player with the second highest card. And so on. Each player may only receive one chip, so once a player is awarded a chip in the race, all of his cards are taken from him. It is important to note that a chip race cannot eliminate anyone from a tournament. If a player has only one small chip left when the race begins, that chip is traded in for a card as usual. Should he lose in the chip race, and additional chip of the new value is given to him so that he may keep his place in the tournament.
Chip races can be fun and interesting, or bothersome, depending upon the situation. In our local tournaments we simply leave the odd chips on the tables until the final table is formed. At that point we race off all the unused colors. Handle things in a way that works for you when hosting a tournament. Still, should someone ask about chp races, now you know the ins and outs of the process.
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