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Introducing the Cash Zone: How to Play Balanced Cash Games

Stanislav Pavlovič | July 4, 2012 – 16:33One Comment | 1,709 views
Introducing the Cash Zone: How to Play Balanced Cash Games would like to present to you its new, unique feature: Cash Zone. Playing at our CashZone is suitable for everybody, regardless of playing skills. As CashZone offers handicapped games, even an amateur can play a balanced cash game against strong chess player. By this brief guide, we would like to encourage both skilled and novice players to play cash games against each other.

Advantages of handicapped bets

There are times when you simply couldn’t find a suitable opponent to play cash games with. Present players are either much stronger and you are afraid to challenge them, or you are surrounded by not-so-competent players new to the game. But you can always offer a handicapped bet and raise your chances to win or make the bet more profitable for you.

Time vs. Bet Handicaps

There are two types of handicaps applicable to challenges: time handicaps and bet handicaps. Time handicap effectively raises the chances of winning for the weaker player. As the stronger player is given less time, he is forced to make his decisions very quickly. Under time constraints, even the best players tend to perform weaker, cancelling out the factor of skill difference.

Bet handicaps are intended to offer more versatility in placing bets. Players can agree on an uneven bet, making the weaker player’s eventual profits higher. As stronger player have a greater chance of winning, it is still attractive for him.

How to choose a suitable handicap?

You can base the handicap on difference in skill. The probability of victory is calculated from players’ rating using the following formula:


EA – chance of winning for player A
RA – Elo rating of player A
RB – Elo rating of player B

You may also look into the following table and approximate your handicap based on these values:

Rating Difference Expected Result
for a player with higher ELO
Expected result
for a player with lower ELO
Recommendedhandicap ratio
0 50% 50% 1:1
25 53% 47% 1,1:1
50 57% 43% 1,3:1
100 64% 36% 1,8:1
150 70% 30% 2,3:1
200 76% 24% 3,2:1
250 81% 19% 4,3:1
300 85% 15% 5,7:1
350 89% 11% 8:1
400 92% 8% 11,5:1
450 94% 6% 15,7:1
500 96% 4% 24:1
735 99% 1% 99:1
>735 100% 0% more than 100:1

However, it should be noted that these ratios are not written in stone. Despite the mathematical basis of ELO rating, there is still place for negotiation between players.

Players with the same ELO rating are both expected to win 50% of matches, thus their chances of winning are equal. If one player has a rating of 1700 and the other 1500, there is a 200 points difference, making one player much more likely to win. The first player is expected to win 76% of games, the second player 24%. 76/24=3.2, giving an approximate ratio of 3:1. Thus a bet of $0,3 to $0,1 would be fair.

Players can also agree on a time handicapped bet. Time handicaps are purposeful in short games involving extremely strong players. Recommended handicap is 1 to 2 minutes against 5 minutes. This can effectively cancel out ELO differences of several hundred points.


Good luck and have fun!

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