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Ratholing Casino Chips: Good Strategy or Not?

Round Head IconAugust 20, 2017 - CasinoBloke

Playing casino games with other people, just like other interactions, requires following a certain code of behaviour or etiquette. Whether you play poker or Blackjack games live or online, you share the table with other people so it is normal to follow the rules and behave in accordance with them.

One of the practices which can be seen at Blackjack tables is so-called ratholing. This practice includes taking a portion of money off the table after winning and seating yourself again to continue playing at smaller stakes. Some may consider ratholing a strategy, but it is perceived more as bad etiquette. Here in this text, we will deal with all the aspects of ratholing and the reasons why it is not acceptable behaviour at a poker table.

What’s the Problem?

So, let’s imagine that you are playing Blackjack and you are wagering a certain amount of chips on a hand. You win and you remove a portion of your chips off the table and leave it. Then, you come back and you want to join the table again to wager less than you have won. What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, if you decide to take your money off the table, you must take all of it and you should not return to the same type of game and stakes for a certain amount of time unless you wager the same amount you have left with. The thing is that by removing a portion of your chips, you prevent other players from winning back their lost money.

When playing at land-based casinos, the role of the Pit Boss is to monitor the game and keep an eye on the chips or money on the table. Once you return to the table after ratholing, you may be nicely asked not to join. The fact is that you can be banned from joining the table for a period of time.

Another term used for such behaviour is going south. It is casino slang for a situation in which a player takes a portion of their chips from the table to reduce their stake. It is considered a serious breach of the casino code of behaviour and it can easily earn a player bad reputation.

Ratholing and Online Casino Games

Ratholing can be practiced at online casinos too. It may seem that it is easier done when playing online Blackjack games, but the fact is that reputable casino sites apply rules that prevent such behaviour. They may force players who leave a table with a portion of winnings to place the same bets if they return within a set time limit. Some of them introduce Stack Identity, a system that remembers the stack you left with at one table. When you try to join a similar stakes table, you will be forced to use the stack you left with as a minimum buy-in.

Another safety measure designed to prevent ratholing is sending a flag or message that tells the player to wait a certain amount of time before they can join that particular table again. At some casinos this amount of time can be 30 minutes or an hour until a player is allowed to rejoin the same stakes table. On the other hand, a player can request a seat at another stakes table and as soon as they join it, they can start playing with as many chips as they want.

Hit and Run

Taking into consideration what was said, that does not mean that you cannot manage your budget and stop playing when you think you have won enough. You are allowed to leave the table with all your winnings and you should not play longer if you don’t feel like it. However, what you should keep in mind is that quitting the poker game for example after winning the pot can be perceived as hit and run. You simply take off all your chips after hitting the pot and leave the table without giving other players a chance to win their lost money back.

This is what you can do at online casinos without any consequences. Practicing hit and run at poker rooms, however, may make your opponents complain about your behaviour. Try to explain them the reasons for your leaving and promise them that you will return soon.

What You Can Do

To manage your bankroll efficiently, you can keep some of your chips in your pocket. This is a strategy you should consider instead of ratholing. On the other hand, knowing the perfect moment to leave the table is one of the most difficult decisions to make while playing casino games, whether you win or lose. Set your winning and losing limits and stick to them.

Don’t let a winning streak mislead you to keep on playing for too long as you can start loosing as well. On the other hand, try to avoid rat-holing or going south as you can easily get banned from the same stakes table if you get caught or earn a bad reputation among your opponents. Be determined when you leave the table with your pockets full and don’t return until you are ready to play again.

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