888 Poker has been featured prominently in our weekly Gimmick series, and for good reason. They have a lot of gimmicks!
The latest feature to which we're turning our microscope is their "Push/Fold" cash game tables. We'll lay out the details, the pros and cons, and tell you whether it's worth your time and money.
The concept is straightforward. Six-max cash tables of all stakes with a max buy-in of five big blinds.
Contrary to the name, you are still able to raise without moving all-in. It's just that the super short stacks make it a foregone conclusion that the money will be going in whenever two or more players decide to play a pot.
These tables have been met with mixed reactions. The PR department at 888 Poker assures us it's an awesome idea that everyone will love. Real poker players aren't so positive.
The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.
Grinders have two major compaints about 888 Poker's Push/Fold tables. The first is that since almost every pot is an all-in, the total rake paid in a session is going to skyrocket. It's hard to argue with this comlaint.
A quick look at the 888 lobby confirms that the average pot size at these push/fold tables is higher than at the regular six-max tables of the same limit. Consistently bigger pots mean more rake, simple as that.
In fact, the five big blind max buy-in all but guarantees that the pots will max out the rake. Let's look at an example from a hypothetical $1/$2 game.
Two players each have the five BB stack ($10) and go all-in. Since rake maxes out at $1 per pot, at a rate of one cent for every twenty cents in the pot, a $20 pot provides the maximum rake available at the limit. Coincidence?
The second complaint is over how appealing these tables are to the fish. Grinders need fish at the deep-stacked tables since this is where their edge is the greatest.
Sharks are afraid that all the dead money will be traded back and forth at the Push/Fold tables and eventually gobbled up by the rake.
The important thing to remember about gimmicks like this is the target audience. 888 Poker has been very vocal in their desire to cater to recreational players and that's exactly who this is aimed at.
We're talking about players who are on the site mostly for entertainment and fun. Players like this generally aren't as concerned with paying a bit more rake if they're having a good time.
That's what the Push/Fold tables are all about. It gives amateur players a fun, fast-paced way to play poker.
The argument that it's a bad idea since it's pulling fish out of games in which they're big dogs only holds water if you're a shark. For recreational players this should be a good thing.
There's nothing worse than the feeling a fish has when he realizes he's completely out-classed by his competition. Trust us. We've got plenty of experience on that count ;)
The Bottom Line
While Push/Fold tables aren't for everyone there is something to the concept. People love gambling, and what could be more gambly than a format where almost all the poker is subtracted from the game?
888 Poker might be well-advised to reduce the rake a smidge on these tables in response to that first compaint, but other than that it is what it is: a gimmick.
Gimmicks exist for a reason. Humans love novelty.
Give it a shot for yourself by getting $8 absolutely free on 888 Poker. Seriously, no strings attached