Is there much of a difference between 1/2 and 1/3?

Gameaholic21Gameaholic21 New JerseyRed Chipper Posts: 21 ✭✭
edited October 2020 in General Concepts
With Poker Rooms on the East Coast in PA and NJ opening up again finally I noticed a lot of rooms are doing 1/3 as the lowest stakes instead of 1/2. I usually play 1/2 and wanted to know if there is that much of a difference at 1/3? Aside from the obvious stack depth being different and bbs, Would 1/3 play be more comparable to 1/2 or closer to 2/5?

I imagine skill level wise would be pretty much the same type of player pool, especially if there are no 1/2 games running and 1/3 is lowest stakes? I feel like usually the 1/3 crowd is waiting for a different game but if there's no 1/2 crowd then the usual 1/2 crowd would flow into 1/3. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

People usually raise to 5xish in 1/2 preflop with like a $10 bet. Would I expect to see more of a $15 bet at 1/3 as the norm or are most players typically just going to keep it in that $7-$12 range?

Thanks for the input!


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 5,321 -
    Usually whatever the entry-level game is in the same room plays the same. So it depends on the room and the stack depth. For example, the $1/$3 at Wynn in Vegas doesn't play anything like the $1/$2 anywhere else, but on those occasions when a Strip room has switched from $1/$2 to $1/$3, the game has played much the same.

    If the cap is 100bb at $1/$3 and at $1/$2 it was 150bb, the opens in terms of bbs may be slightly smaller in the $1/$3.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,505 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2020
    Agreed with @TheGameKat

    Also the min and max buy-in can (and will) impact the game as well.

    For example, the max 25bb/50bb in Los Angeles (was never there, read a lot about it here) will force you to play a very tight range or to undergo a high variance with a lot of all-in pre or on the flop. Not very interesting nor fun imho; and your potential winning will be limited by the eff. stack.
    Another example: as many low stakes players tend to buy-in for the min, you may prefer a 1/3 game with a high min buy-in (for ex. 100bb/300$) to 1/2 with a low min buy-in (like 25bb/50$ or 50bb/100$). Even if you might face better players (might, not will), more money on the table usually means more action, hence more opportunities for you to take your share - and more.
  • Gameaholic21Gameaholic21 New JerseyRed Chipper Posts: 21 ✭✭
    Wow 50bb MAX buy in in LA? I've never heard that - Sounds crazy to me.

    AC is usually $100-$300 at 1/2. 1/3 was $100-$400. Some PA Casinos had $60-$300 at 1/2 but never seen a max of anything less than 100bbs
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Las VegasPosts: 5,321 -
    LA games really are different. I wrote about it in this article.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • HotShooter_5689HotShooter_5689 East Coast USARed Chipper Posts: 4 ✭✭
    As others have posted, it depends on the casino / players - a bit more rake is also possible, depending.

    Agree that the buy-in amount is higher - the golden nugget atlantic city was $1000 max at their $1/$3. Last time I visited the golden nugget las vegas, their $1/$3 but-in was uncapped - cash plays ($100 bills only). Recently, Borgata was $400 (with some players entering in with $500)

    Also - because the straddle at a $1/$3 is $6, I’ve seen the pre-flop raise action be more like a $2/$5, resulting in larger pots - changing the effective stacks / stack to pot ratio.
  • Eon137Eon137 Red Chipper Posts: 265 ✭✭✭
    If the room runs BOTH 1/2 AND 1/3, you will see a difference. This was the case at my local room, before it shut down in March. Lowest buy in NL game was 1/2, which most player played. Highest game was 2/5, except Wednesdays when they ran a 5/10 NL game. Small rooom; 16 tables, only legal room within 100+ miles. East Coast.

    Most players would play 1/2 and shoot for the constant HH promo money. The tougher regs would play 2/5, but play 1/2 while waiting for a 2/5 seat. The Wednesday 5/10 players would sometimes haunt the 1/2 and 2/5 games when they couldn't get a bigger game. There would only be a 1/3 game if enough players requested it. 1/3 became a pretty good game, as the better 1/2 players who couldn't afford to play higher would move to 1/3, and the better 2/5 players who didn't like the variance of the typically very wild 2/5 games would also migrate there because there was a lot of good action.

    The 1/3 was a pretty good game. Players were there for poker, not to chase a HH promo. Buy-in was capped at $500, but the game usually played much deeper. Good times.
  • ShamanShaman Red Chipper Posts: 38 ✭✭
    I have had similar experiences with 1/2 and 1/3 NL across the country as above posters. If its the lowest limit in the poker room they play very similarly.

    Regarding bet sizing for opens: same 2x to 10x open sizes for both 1/2 and 1/3 with generally $10 opens for 1/2 and $15 for 1/3 (with wide variations depending on game).

    I would add lots of recreational players still buy in for $100 for both 1/2 and 1/3 and thus 1/2 seems to play deeper for this reason and for the fact that 1/2 seems cheaper and most can afford to lose more buyins for that stake compared to 1/3 NL.

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