In my local market there is a recent trend to cap the bad beat or use a large portion of the jackpot money for daily high hand promotions - sometimes as high as $1000 a half hour. While this has increased the turnout of low stakes limit games it has also hurt the profitability of mid stakes NLH games. Ill share my observations on how it is changing play, and I would love more ideas about how we can adapt.
There are several effects from the high hands, but the biggest is that for up to 80% of the players their goal becomes hitting a high hand. I see huge gamblers that on a normal day would donk off 2-3k and then leave in 20 min that during the high hands become weak passive nits.
The primary changes are
1) Less money on the table as people buy in lower to just hit instead of winning.
2) People take lower variance lines. They will check down top set 3 streets to try to get quads.
3) Harder to put people on ranges. They are checking down top set and never betting draws and other similar adjustments if they have any chance of hitting a high hand. Its really easy to value own yourself in situations where in a regular game you would get a better read.
4) People play nittier if they have no high hand potential. As soon as the high hand is quad 10s then people stop playing pairs less than 10s. They will limp and call a small raise with any suited connectors but they give up on the flop - some even give up when they hit good draws because they really don't care about winning the hand - they only care about the high hand.
If this is happening in your area and you see similar things players are doing please add them to this list
Adjustments we can make
1) Play in another game. This was what I used to do when they ran the promotions only in slow times and every so often, but now the rooms run the biggest promotions on nights and weekends. The rooms are also competing against each other and rarely will there be a big promotion day that is not the same for every room in 100 miles.
2) Never bluff early streets - or bluff really small on early streets. People who would never fold an underpaid for a flop pot size bet now fold a quarter pot bet if they miss trips. I do this a lot and win plenty of small pots but its not making up for the larger pots
3) Tighten up preflop range.
4) Way over bet when you think someone is chasing something like a straight flush. Problem is there are not many times this works when you are not already beat.
5) I've experimented with large preflop raises for value in position then check flop and turn bet river with whole range. Not sure I like it.
Please let me know any ideas you have.