Buy-in Obligations

The Buy-in Obligations feature enforces a higher minimum buy-in at ring game and Zoom tables under very rare circumstances. This feature will only ever impact a small percentage of players.

Players impacted will be those who frequently:

  1. Buy in for less than the maximum allowed buy-in
  2. Play some hands
  3. Leave the table with a larger stack than they originally brought to the table
  4. Sit down at a similar table with a smaller stack size than they had when they left their prior table

Players currently must attempt to repeat this behavior at similar table types more than eight times in a 20-hour period in order to be restricted by this feature. Such players will be required to buy in for a higher minimum when sitting at certain tables; they will not be impacted in any other way.

Buy-in Obligations are a mechanism that limits the number of times you can leave tables after winning money only to re-join other tables with a smaller stack size. Currently, players are limited to re-joining eight times during a rolling 20-hour period.

When you pass the limit, your minimum buy-in will be replaced by the stack size you had previously left a table with. This is the reason why this feature is titled ‘Buy-in Obligations’, as leaving a table with winnings creates an Obligation to re-join future table with that same stack size.

Buy-in Obligations apply to all tables that have the same buy-in range, as measured by the range of big blinds players are initially allowed to bring to the table, such as a 40-100bb range. Therefore, Obligations created at a $0.05/$0.10 (40-100bb) NLHE table will also apply to a $5/$10 (40-100bb) PLO table. However, Obligations created at $0.05/$0.10 (40-100bb) NLHE tables will not apply to $0.05/$0.10 (100-250bb) NLHE tables. Instead, 100-250bb tables will have their own Buy-in Obligations.

It’s also important to note that this in no way restricts players from buying in for the minimum buy-in on as many tables as they wish when they have no active Obligations. The Obligations will also never require you to buy in for more than the default maximum buy-in for the table you are joining.

While most players will never be directly affected by Buy-in Obligations, the introduction of this feature aims to decrease table breaking and seating ‘meta games’, as well as to discourage players from moving too many times. This will allow players to focus on playing poker, rather than on continuously finding new tables to play.

Continue reading for a more detailed description of this feature.

Creating Obligations

A Buy-in Obligation is created any time a player buys in to a table with less than the maximum buy-in and leaves with a larger stack than they initially bought in for. When the player leaves the table, the amount they leave with is stored, and is called an ‘Obligation’.

The Obligation created represents a stack size that the player may be required to buy in for in the future. This Obligation value is always the number of big blinds in the player’s stack when they left the table.

When eight Obligations have been stored within a 20-hour period, Buy-in Obligations go into effect.

When an Obligation is used at future tables, this stack size (measured in big blinds) will replace the default minimum buy-in at a new table normally requiring the same big blind buy-in range.

Obligations are valid for 20 hours, after which time they will expire and be discarded.

Using Obligations

If a player has eight or more unexpired Obligations of a certain buy-in type, when that player buys into a new table of that same type, the minimum buy-in presented to them will be higher than the normal default minimum buy-in.

When a player does have more than one Obligation active, they will be used in order from the least restrictive to the most restrictive. When an Obligation is used, the stack size assigned to that Obligation will be presented as the minimum buy-in as opposed to the default minimum buy-in for that table type.

While all eight of a player’s Obligations are in use, the largest stack size (in big blinds) of the in-use Obligations will be used as the minimum buy-in for any new tables opened of that type.

Keep in mind that Obligations work across all ring game offerings that have the same default minimum and maximum buy-in sizes, as measured in big blinds.

Updating Obligations

Each time an Obligation is used, the Obligation will be updated when a player leaves the table based on the table type and stack size (in big blinds) the player has when they leave the table.

In most cases, the Obligation will be updated with the number of big blinds in the player’s stack at the time they left the table. However, if the stack size is less than the default minimum buy-in, the Obligation will be discarded.

If the stack size is greater than the default maximum buy-in for that table type, the default maximum buy-in (in big blinds) will be stored instead.

Chip Dumping Prevention

The only exception to the Obligations is when mixing table types of wildly varying stakes. This exception is in place to discourage chip dumping.

Each Obligation also stores the highest big blind size of any table which used that Obligation. If a player sits at a table with a big blind size of less than 1/3 of the highest value, the Obligation will not update with a lower stack size value, even if a player loses money while seated at that table.

For example, a player creates an Obligation by joining, playing, and then leaving a $5/$10 NLHE table. If they then join a $1/$2 NLHE table which uses that Obligation, the Obligation can only be updated with a higher Obligation value, as the $2 big blind at the new table is less than 1/3 the size of the Obligation’s stored $10 big blind value.

Zoom Obligations

Zoom Obligations work in much the same fashion as Obligations at our normal ring games, except the limit is four Obligations in 20 hours rather than eight. However, when your minimum buy-in is modified by an Obligation for a Zoom pool, you will only be allowed to buy in to one entry at a time, so as to not restrict your buy-ins more than necessary. As long as you buy-in one entry at a time, you will be able to buy-in as many times as you normally would.

If you have any more questions about Buy-in Obligations, please don’t hesitate to email Support for more information.