You've had yourself a home game. A good time has been had by all. Then it comes time to settle up and pay everyone out. As more and more chips get counted, your group eventually comes to a horrible realization. The money is short. It happens to the best of us. When home games go on for several hours and people come in and out, it's actually quite easy to pay out someone too much or make a miscount here and there. So naturally the players are upset and want to make sure this doesn't happen in the future. The solution? Make one person the designated banker. It's a good solution and we would recommend it ourselves. This article is for the lucky person who has been nominated to do such a task and needs some help to make sure he or she does a good job.
Tip #1: Keep A Ledger
One of the best ways to never lose track of the numbers is to write them down. The ledger doesn't have to be too complex at all. When someone buys in, simply write down their name and they amount that they buy in next to it. If they buy more chips as the night goes on, update the amount they are in for as you go. If they bust out then you don't really have to do anything after if they leave. If they cash out, make sure to mark how much they cashed out for. As long as every transaction is observed, it is near impossible to come up short.
Tip #2: Keep All The Money In One Safe Place
Whether it's a cash box, a pouch, a small safe, etc... As long as the money is kept in one consistent spot that you know is safe that's all that matters. Do not mix money with other money that has nothing to do with the game. So for example if people are pitching in for food or anything like that, make sure it's separate. Don't put money in your pocket, that's just asking for mistakes to happen. Plus you never want anyone to even insinuate that at anytime you pocketed money from the game. Keep it separate and even more ideal if you can keep it organized (i.e 20's with 20's, 50's with 50's, etc...)_
Tip #3: Run Audits Every Now And Then
Every now and then take a break from the game to do an audit of the money. Check it against your ledger to make sure that everything is balanced. This does a couple of things. One it gives peace of mind throughout the night to know that they money is good. Second if there is a problem, it allows you to narrow it down to where the problem may have occurred. If you do an audit, find the money is off, and they only thing that happened was a single cash out that happened 20 minutes earlier, then it is a good bet there was a mistake that happened at that point and you can check with the person to see if they were given too much. While mistakes can happen, pinning them down so you can fix them is the most ideal scenario and audits give you the best chance of doing that.
Tip #4: If You Want To Be Extra Safe, Count All Chips Before You Begin
If you are keeping an up to date ledger than that alone should keep you good. That said, if you want to be extra safe, count all the chips that are available for the game before hand. By doing that, if at any point you lose track with your ledger you can worst case count the amount of chips that are missing from the starting count and know that should be the amount of chips that are in play. If the chips in play match the amount of money you have, then you know for a fact everything is balanced and accounted for. If there are more chips in play than money available than that means either someone was paid out too much or too many chips were given when someone bought in. If there is more money than chips in play that means either someone was not given enough chips when they bought in, was not paid enough when they cashed out, or someone has removed chips from the table before having cashed out. This combined with audits through the night once again can help you pin down where problems happened so you can better fix them.
What If I Don't Want To Bank?
If you don't want to be the bank there is no shame in it at all. Just make sure you make it clear that you don't want the responsibility. Because if you are the bank, and the money is short then it's your neck that is on the hook. Depending on your group, they may make you pay for the shortfall if the source of the problem can't be found.
Or if you are in the Cincinnati area and you want us to take care of all the banking for you, bring your home game to our place and we'll take care of all the parts that you hate. You can even hire a dealer from us if you are so inclined. You can come try out our club anytime we're open. We're in the West Chester area at 4844 Union Center Pavilion Drive. You can also email us or reach out on Facebook with any questions you have for us.