Selling Your Seat and Stack Mid-way Through an MTT
A little bit of controversy came out of last nights OCPT event. It revolves around accommodating someone in an MTT home game who is not eliminated, but needs to leave for some reason. In a casino, they would blind you out. But, in a home game you have some options. One of which is to sell off the seat to someone who did not play or was already eliminated (highest bidder or otherwise). Another option is giving them some kind of payout from the prize pool for surrendering their stack. I would prefer to offer some flexibility in home games, and prefer the first option as it does not change any of the payouts.
So here is the situation. My son who is 9 and has a B-day this weekend wanted to play for some reason. I guess he wanted to take a major MTT down, before getting up to double digits in age. A solid accomplishment for your poker resume. The structure is $10 + rebuys/add on, so I figured I would give him $10 for entertainment value to get him in. No rebuys or add-ons though. In the past I did this for my 13 year old daughter, and other hosts have done so for their wives or kid, so this alone was not that unusual for the OCPT. I just wanted him to give it a try and have some fun, and $10 is a small price to pay for that.
So he played a bit like a calling station, but hit quad 9s and some other hands and chipped up. He ended up making it past the break. At this point it was getting late, and the wife wanted him in bed (school night). The little stud then flopped a set of 5s, and pushed saying he needed to go to bed, and talked a guy into the call. Pure brilliance! Then he called off some chips, and got back down to T200 with the average stack at T500. I was having no luck in the tourney getting it in way ahead over and over and losing to suckouts. Eventually, I donked out on my own horrible call. So my son really needs to quit at this point, but he has 2x what he started with. I offered to buy his seat for $20. There were a couple others eliminated at this point, and I am not sure if they were aware that a spot was being sold. So he took the money, and I took his seat.
To my immediate right was the chip leader, who I have used to build my stack-up late before many a time. I doubled through him twice in the next orbit, and then knocked out a semi-big stack a couple hands later. I was now in the chip lead, 10 minutes after I took over his stack. I would ride my stack to heads-up where I would be eliminated calling an all-in from 64o with TT, seeing a flop of 993, and having the board find some way for the 64 to catch up (runner/runner straight). I cashed $130 out of a $550 prize pool, and gave the money to my son. The next day there were quite a few complaints about this. They said that I was a better player than my son (true, I hope), so it was not fair to let me play his stack. I understand this, but this is a home game and I was really just trying to accommodate a player who needed to leave the tourney. I would have sold the seat to anyone willing to pay for it. That is my philosophy in these things, as I would rather bend the rules a bit if it makes sense. It's a little strange in that I am also the TD in these things, so I am approving a deal that I cut myself. Please tell me I am not a total TD tool like the Orleans guy, or let me have it if I am.