The WSOP Lammer Debate: Sam Trickett, David Williams and Other Pros Weigh In
Event No. 35 of the 2013 World Series of Poker, the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event, began on Thursday and immediately generated some discussion on Twitter. The use of lammers has been somewhat of a debate among players. Some like their use and others are not fond of them.
For those unfamiliar with this format, here's how it works. Players are given two lammers worth 1,500 tournament chips in addition to their initial stack when the tournament begins. They can use a lammer at any point before the end of the Level 4 to reload their starting stacks. All lammers are automatically added to a player's stack if not used by the end of the fourth level.
During the 2013 World Series of Poker, lammers have been used for the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event, Event No. 22 $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, and now for the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event. The debate running through the Rio has been whether lammers are good for the game, and whether it is optimal strategy to use them early on or wait until later levels.
We took advantage of the 15-minute break during the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event and asked several players for their thoughts on the use of lammers during the WSOP. Here’s what they had to say.
“Overall, I am a fan. It gives players a second or third chance that they otherwise would not have had. I think in pot-limit Omaha they are great to have because PLO is probably my worst game. I would rather play 30 or 40 big blinds deep than to be really deep because if you bust then you can just use another lammer. I think they’re especially good in PLO because you can get in more flipping situations. If you have top set and someone has a flush draw then you can get all the money in and the variance is just huge in PLO. I think lammers eliminate some of that variance early on and they’re only part of the tournament in the few hours anyway. I think they are good for heads-up No-Limit also because you can get three rounds instead of just the one. It’s good to have a cushion and a second chance.
“I hate them. It turns the event into a short-stack game, which is not why we play tournaments. Short-stack poker is awful. In regards to using them in PLO or variants of no-limit Hold’em, it is bad in either game. I actually did not use any lammers in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event. In fact, no one on my table did.
“I definitely don’t like them. I get the concept because some players prefer to play short-stacked, but I personally like to play deep. I feel like if you lose all your chips in a tournament then that should be it, you should be out. Tournament poker is elimination poker and I don’t like the fact that players are staying in with a rebuy. If they were to change the format, it should either be a re-buy tournament or you should just be given a specific amount of chips and once those chips are gone then you should be out. I immediately used my lammers today. I rather just have a bigger stack from the start than to break them up into smaller stacks.”
“I am indifferent. I always use my lammers right away because I’m a sicko. It’s indicative of the table I am playing on, though. If people start gambling early then I probably won’t use them. Instead, I will find a spot where I can get my stack in. I have noticed though that a lot of players aren’t using their lammers early in the event so there’s not a point in me using them early either. I will say having lammers are beneficial. It enables people to gamble. If everyone had a 9K starting stack then the game would be played a lot differently. It allows players to open up their game a little more, so I’m going to change my vote. I think it’s good for the game.”
“I think it is a great idea. Lammers give you the opportunity to have three lives. In PLO I absolutely love it, even in heads-up no limit. PLO is the best game to use them in because it allows players to gamble a lot more and brings more action. It’s awesome and it shouldn’t ever be changed. If you have a full stack with only one life then the game will be played slower and players with play tighter. In heads-up tournaments though, I think there should be two separate tournaments, one with lammers and one without. I’m not against in heads-up, I am in between liking the and not but in PLO for sure they are great.”
“I like the PLO lammers. They are good because people gamble more making it a more fun tournament. If everyone started with 9,000 chips then it would be a slow and boring tournament. With the lammers then people start with 3,000 and are more likely to get it in, which helps move the tournament along and makes it much more fun. It seems like the players who don’t like the lammers are the ones who play the higher-stake cash games and the ones who do like them are the tournament grinders, maybe with an online poker background. It helps some players and hurts others but for me, I prefer them.”