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Felting Hendo Poker Game Variations

Playing Texas No-Limit Hold-em is a lot of fun! Cash and Tournament are two different formats of play that dictate how one plays the game. However, there are many different ways to play the game in either format. In order to help facilitate learning to play in different ways, Felting Hendo Poker has formatted it's tournament series to provide an environment to get experience in some of the different play styles.

A Felting Hendo Poker Tournament Series is all Texas No-Limit Hold-em. There are 8 regular season games, one satellite game, and then a Championship game. In the 10 game series, we play up to 6 different variations to the game, in hopes to train someone to play in different game environments. Here is the run down on our different variations:


Standard No-Limit Hold-em (NLH)

This is the game that you see on TV, in the casino's and in most of your bar leagues or home games. This is the fundamental game style. You need to understand well, this style of play.

NLH with Half Bounty

Again, Standard NLH is the game, but with a little twist. Half of the buy-in money is held onto by the player. For instance, if the game has a $10 buy-in, the player would retain $5...essentially putting the buy-in at $5. The player holds onto their $5 cash until they push all in. When a player goes all in by pushing all of their remaining chips into the pot, they also must put in their $5. If the player loses the pot and is knocked out, the player that wins the pot not only gets the losing players chips, but also the $5 bounty of the knocked out player.

Obviously, we're still playing the same game with a nightly pot, but now we add an element of actually wanting to bust out a player. Not only because it will move your rank up closer to the money, but because you can get some money immediately by busting out a player.

This helps teach the more non-aggressive player to be a little more aggressive. This also helps the short stack learn to think more about their spot for the all-in shove, as being called has a higher chance of happening.

NLH with Knock-out Pool

$20 is taken out of the nightly pot and placed in the Knock-Out pool. The person that knocks out the first player from the game, wins the Knock-Out pool.

So, what does this do? Well, at first it was put in just for fun, but what we've learned is that a loose-aggressive player will think more on their all in push in the early stages of the game just to win a pot. No one wants to be the first person out of a game, so adding this element forces an early short-stack player to consider their option more carefully, as well as temper the loose-aggressive players nitty all in shove just to win a pot.

NLH Short Stack

The blind schedule stays the same, but the starting stack is less than normal. Currently, I run it at about 68% of the normal starting stack. For instance, the standard starting stack as of Season 16 is 8,000 in chips. The short stack game is playing with 5,500 chips. It's not a big disparity, but it does make a difference.

Short stack play puts the player in a position where they have to accumulate chips earlier in the game than normal, prompting for more aggressive play. Learning to play more aggressively can help a player last longer online, as well as in home games and the casino's. The current trend in the casino's show that aggressive play is more profitable.

NLH with Full Bounty

For me, this game is by far, the most interesting. In this game, first place gets $50. The only other way to win any money in this game, is to knock out players. Similar to the Half Bounty game, however the players full buy-in (not just half) is the bounty. When a player pushes their chips all in, their buy-in must get pushed in as well.

Psycologically, this is a rough game. Think about it for a minute...if you're knocked out of the game, you have to hand over your money to the player that knocked you out. Even if your best friend takes you out of the tournament, it's a little painful handing over your money. It's like being kicked while you're down...metaphorically speaking of course.

What's the learning track here? There are two important lessons to learn in this game, as far as I'm concerned. First, it helps you focus on moving in for the kill on the shorter stacks at the table. Remember, the goal of the game is to win, and in order to do that, players have to be knocked out of the game. When you have short stacks at the table, they are the easy targets to thinning the heard, moving you up in the ranks and closer to the money. Position, chip stacks, player tendencies, among other things, help you in determining if you can make the move to take someone out of the game. In home games and bar leagues, a lot of this information is lost on you as a player because of the socializing nature of these games.

Secondly is character. Tempers can fly at a poker game, even amongst friends. How a player goes out, and how you take out a player, says alot about a persons character. If someone has a tendency to get aggravated easily, you can easily determine their tilt factor and plan your moves accordingly. Really, who doesn't want to take out their friends? That's part of the fun. However, a sense of awareness, common courtesy, and professionalism will help you in the long run, if you ever plan on playing at the casino's.

NLH Satellite Game

After the 8 game series, a satellite game is played to give the players that didn't score enough points in the regular season games, a second chance to get to play in the Championship Game. Typically, a satellite game is a fast-paced game. If you've ever played a satellite game at a casino, you'd know what I'm talking about. When the WSOP had games at our local casino, I played in several satellite games to try and win a seat to the main game. These games were fast and furious. I've designed our satellite game to be similar in order for our players to get used to this type of situation, in case they find themselves at a casino playing in one. First place gets their $20 back and a seat at the championship game, and second place gets the seat to the championship game.

NLH Championship Game

Ah, the main event! This is what the entire season is all about...getting to the Championship Game. At Felting Hendo Poker, all regular season tournaments and the satellite game have a $20 buy-in. I take $10 off the top from each player in attendance of every game and the full buy-in ($20) of every player playing in the satellite game. That money is banked. At the end of the satellite game, the money banked is now the purse for the championship game. So the more players at each game means the championship game has a higher purse. I pay out top 3 at 50%/30%/20%.

Who gets to play in the Championship Game? All 8 regular season games use a points formula. The higher you place in a game, the more points that you get. Miss a game, and you lose points. At the end of the 8 games, the top six in points automatically advance to the championship game, and no buy-in is required. First and Second place in the Satellite game also advance to the championship game at no buy-in, for a final table of 8 players.

This game is played with the same starting stack as the normal regular season games, as well as the same blind schedule. This is a standard NLH tournament with no twists. The hope is that those that have made it to the championship game have gain the knowledge from the lessons learned throughout the regular season games to better prepare them for the "big money" game.