Discussion on poker forums often leads to some “out-of-the-box” thinking to put it mildly, but this has been a bumper week for out-there ideas. In this week’s Forum Files, we take a look at a couple of suggestions that are unlikely ever to see the light of day, a side order of bad decisions… and finally a couple of actual stories.

Let the richest guys play for free
Thread: Would no rake at high stakes re-start games and benefit poker?

It seems that there’s at least one person out there who still believes in the idea of trickle-down economics. Thread starter “dummy101” sees the drying up of high stakes games as a cause rather than a symptom of the overall decline of poker in recent years. His proposed fix is to make the high stakes games rake-free, but general consensus in thread seems to be that the real problem for the ecosystem is the high rake in the microstakes.

The sharpest structure of all
Thread: A WSOP “Winner Takes All” Main Event?

If eliminating the rake in high stakes games wasn’t a wacky enough suggestion for you, here’s another thread: Remember last week, when Matt Glantz suggested that the World Series of Poker has lost its luster? Well, forums member “Alan C. Lawhon” has the answer: just make the Main Event winner-take-all. Of course, players have been calling for flatter structures for years and this suggestion is the exact opposite, but Mr. Lawhon’s thinking is that the media tends to fixate on large numbers, so a gigantic first-place payout is what’s needed to rekindle interest in the game.

Although most other posters in the thread agree that doing this for the Main Event is neither realistic nor a good idea, the idea of a winner-take-all event has generated some interest. Some posters feel that the WSOP could in fact use such an event, just at a lower buy-in and perhaps with a faster structure. Such a structure would almost inevitably lead to a final table deal being struck behind the scenes, but perhaps the mere appearance of having an all-or-nothing final table would provide some drama for TV viewers. Who knows, maybe Mr. Lawhon is onto something.

Unsafe safes
Thread: The RIO does it again

Poker as a profession necessarily means dealing with large sums of money, so it’s unsurprising that poker players are frequent targets for criminals. As a result, hotel security often comes under scrutiny during major tournament series such as the World Series of Poker. The story this time around is that two players were sharing a room at the Rio and one of them invited up a gambler he had just met, then left him there unattended. This stranger then allegedly broke into their safe and stole the $15,000 they were storing there. What’s remarkable about the story is how they claim the guy did it: by simply calling the desk and asking them to come up and open it for him.

While it’s clear that bad decisions were made by several people in this story, debate rages on in the thread as to where the greatest fault lies – with the first roommate for believing a hotel room safe was sufficiently secure for that much cash, with the second for leaving a stranger alone in the room, or with hotel staff for opening the safe without requesting ID. What do you think?

WPT under new ownership
Thread: WPT sold to Ourgame

Topping the headlines today is the purchase of the World Poker Tour by Chinese company Ourgame. The news has just broken, so reactions are still coming in. So far, opinions are generally positive, but the discussion on the forums is likely to get interesting. It’s a story worth keeping tabs on if you’re interested in the future of the WPT.

Rousso to appear on Big Brother
Thread: Vanessa Rousso is a houseguest in Big Brother 17

Unsurprisingly, the announcement that Vanessa Rousso is to appear as a contestant on the 17th season of Big Brother has generated a fair amount of discussion on the forums. Unfortunately, most of that discussion has to do with her sexual orientation – Rousso has recently come out as gay – but if you sift through the thread there are some interesting opinions about the show and her chances on it.

Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.