For those of your just poking a tentative toe into the world of poker, you may be wondering what staking means? Well, for as long as poker has been around – staking has been a standard part of the game, whether players are competing in the World Series of Poker, or a competition at their local casino. To help you get a grasp of the concept, today we’re providing a dummies guide to how staking works.
What is staking?
Put very simply – staking is when one person (referred to as a ‘backer’), gives a player (often called a ‘horse’) the cash required to play in a tournament that requires a buy-in (entry fee) of some kind.
How does staking work?
Depending on the level the player is at, the staking agreement may come in the form of a handshake, or, when the buy-in is a considerable sum, the deal may be laid out in an official contract. The player will take the money and use it to enter the tournament. When things go to plan, the player will win the stake back, which they will return to the backer after the game. Any profit made will be split either equally or in accordance with the terms laid out in the official contract.
Why do backers offer stakes?
Usually backers will offer stakes because they believe that the player will make win and make them some money. A stake is therefore viewed as an investment.
Why do players need stakes?
There are several reasons why poker players will need to be staked. Usually it’s because players want to play at a high level, and believe they have the talent to win big, but who can’t afford the buy-in to the competition. By choosing to accept a stake and share profits, they are gaining access to a part of the poker world that is unavailable to them without the backer. Also, some backers will offer guidance and training along with their stake. This means that the poker player has the chance to learn from someone with more knowledge of the game – thus allowing them to improve their skills.
What happens if the player loses?
Although poker involves skill, there is an element of luck involved that can work in the player’s favour, or against them. The person offering the stake will know and understand this, and will usually accept that there’s a chance they might not get their stake back right away. Usually a staking agreement will include a make up clause.
What does the term ‘make up’ mean?
Make up refers to the way that the backer will get their stake back, and it essentially works like an I.O.U, i.e. the stake will be reclaimed from the profits that the player makes for the backer. If a player loses one week and wins the next, the backer will receive their share of the prize money for the victory, the buy in amount, and the amount that was lost when the player didn’t win.
What does the term mark-up mean?
‘Mark up’ refers to a method that typically occurs during live tournaments, or in situations where players sell off multiple parts of their poker action to a number of different backers. This will usually be used by experienced players who are happy to sell off parts of their winnings to the highest bidders. They are only going to accept this kind of arrangement if they are confident that they have a big edge over the other players and are likely to win.
How do I get staked?
If you’re reading this guide, you have a long way to go before you’ll be able to persuade someone to back you! You’ll need to practice and become an excellent player first. Once you are ready to start competing, enter competitions, and go and mingle within the poker world. Show off your talents, find out who is offering stakes and approach them to back you. If you’ve got what it takes – finding a backer won’t be a problem!