Stop this "Double-Chance" Madness.
The first double-chance tournament was the Pokermillion in November 2000 that John Duthie won. Roy Houghton had the idea that players who'd travelled from as far as Australia and America to the Isle of Man should have the option to protect themselves from being knocked out in the early stages of the only big buy-in tournament of the week. Thus he devised the format in which players are allocated only half their intial stack at the outset, with the option to take the second half at any point in the first three levels. Unfortunately festival organisers have adopted the idea without knowing the reasoning behind it.
In the last two 'double-chance' tournaments I've played, half the players at my table took their entire allocation before the first hand was dealt and half of the rest took theirs in the first twenty minutes, without having lost their whole starting stack. Is there really a demand for this format? The whole point of double-chance is to give some possible extra play for people who've travelled across many time-zones to play a big buy-in main event. It's completely pointless in mid-week £500 London-based freezeouts where all the players live within the M25.
Stop this Max Buy-in Madness.
Why do no-limit cash games in Britain all have maxinum buy-ins? I've asked this question to countless dealers and floor managers and can't get an intelligent response. The reason is that they are all copying what they consider to be normal practice, which in fact originated online. Few people seem to know the background. It's worth explaining.
The first online poker games were all limit-bet structured. Initially they were all hold'em. Later came seven-card stud. It was a long time before anyone offered 'big bet' poker (pot-limit or no-limit). By my recollection, the first site to do so was one that I'll hazard 90 per cent of you have never heard of. It was CCC poker (the online operation of the Concord Card Casino - an Austrian bricks and mortar poker business). The first big-bet game they offered was not hold'em. It was Pot-limit omaha. There was no maximum buy-in.
Because the skill differential between novices and experienced players is so big in PLO, the seasoned players all bought in for large stacks and proceeded to wipe out the beginners. I recall people in the Vic telling me of the thousands they'd made very quickly from people who thought that a queen high flush or a small full-houses was a big hand. Very soon there was no more game. The beginners had been wiped out. Therefore the next sites to offer 'big-bet' games decided they needed to blunt the good players' edge and figured that a maximum buy-in was the best way to do this. The practice was adopted by all others sites for no-limit and pot-limit games.
If you ever fancy driving yourself insane, ask the players at your table why the max buy-in exists (it never did when we played pot-limit). You won't believe the utterly bogus explanations you'll hear. As things stand, I see little good reason for max buy-ins in bricks and mortar poker clubs. I certainly don't understand the argument that it's to make the game less 'intimidating'! It's no-limit hold'em. It's meant to be intimidating.
And in any case, you can only lose what you sit down with!