Why Do Poker Places Swap Pieces of Themselves?

Q: How Does Swapping Work in Poker?

A: Swapping is very prevalent in poker, especially in the live tournament world.

What exactly is swapping?

Let's say that you are playing in the $10,000 World Series of Poker main event. A very good friend of yours is also playing in the event.

The King explains the meaning of Swapping in the game of tournament poker.  What is it exactly?You are both skilled and proficient poker players.

You decide to "swap" 10% pieces of each other. You are quickly knocked out of the tournament, while your friend goes on to finish 2nd in the tournament, collecting a massive payday of $5,000,000.

Under the terms of your "swap", you are entitled to 10% of your friend's winnings. So, while you didn't go far in your event, you ended up collecting $500,000 from your friend's efforts.


Why are swaps so popular in poker? A few reasons, including:

1) Added sweat. If you are eliminated from an event early, you can still sweat the person that you swapped pieces with.

2) Reduced variance. By swapping pieces with other players, you are reducing the variance in your bankroll.


Swaps are different from players selling pieces to investors, as there is no money changing hands when the swap is agreed to. This, of course, makes it imperative that you trust the player that you are swapping pieces with. If the player in the above example won the $5,000,000 and then decided not to pay, there would not be much recourse for the stiffed player unless something was agreed to in writing (which is rarely done).


Tournament tracking sites don't take into account the money that players can make or lose from swaps, which can be substantial.

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