Staking agreements have become a norm nowadays in the world of poker. The biggest poker tournaments in the world offer life-changing money but most of the time, players need to have a solid bankroll to get a shot at those tournaments and this is where backing deals play a vital role.
Poker pros seek the help of crowd-funding platforms, such as Stake Kings and YouStake or reach out to financial backing groups and private individuals to assist them with their bankroll in exchange for a share in their winnings. This way, players are able to deal with variance in high payout structures. These backers also hugely benefit from the deal but only when the player does well enough to cash out.
How Staking Works
Backers may provide all of the required funding for an extended period of time and get a share of the cumulative profits in return, or they can also shoulder just a portion of the buy-in for a single tournament, leaving them with no further funding obligations.
A player can also seek funding from several backers to be used for a number of tournaments within a stated time period, at the player’s discretion, or group of players may decide to exchange action with each other, in exchange for a share in their respective payouts. Staking agreements serve as risk mitigation and working capital for players, while they become investment opportunities for the backers. But staking deals are sometimes tainted with cheating allegations.
Combating Potential Collusion
When multiple players have a financial interest in each other and are seated together at the same table, it paves the way for potential collusion. A player can cheat by signaling – meaning he or she makes use of a signal so the other player would know his betting intentions or hand strength. Two players can also practice what is called “whipsawing” where they raise and re-raise each other so other players are trapped in between.
The best way to deal with this issue is to ensure transparency. Tournament organizers could make it mandatory for players to disclose any staking or swapping deals upon registration. Players with shared financial interests could be assigned to different tables through table and seat assignment algorithms to prevent collusion.
For tournaments that are livestreamed, backing details could be made available to viewers, in the same manner that other sports announcers discuss ongoing contract incentives among athletes and coaches. Organizers could impose penalties for those who fail to adhere with this policy.