Would you pay for an advantage?

I’m putting this here rather than IMHO because I think it’s a more sporty/gamey thing.

At a trivia contest last night, the sponsors tried to squeeze a few extra bucks by selling “mulligans.” For $10 you could have a wrong answer (with a limit of four) erased and be given a point. Our table declined to buy any.

We ended up finishing third – 5 points behind the winner, 2 behind second place. If we had bought the maximum four points, we would have finished second. The difference between the 2nd and 3rd place prizes were well worth spending the money to buy the points.

The question is: if you were fairly confident of your own skill, but didn’t know your opponents’, would you pay to buy a competitive advantage? Figure the advantage anyway you want – a higher handicap in golf, a five-yard head start in a foot race, a pawn or two advantage in a chess match, etc.

Would your answer change if

a) Your opponents announced in advance they would buy the advantage

b) Your opponents announced in advance they would NOT buy

c) Some say they would buy, others insist they wouldn’t, and you didn’t know how good either group would be

d) The cost of the advantage wouldn’t cover a higher level award (in other words, you’d be paying only for bragging rights)

For what it’s worth, when the team realized that if we had bought the points we would have finished higher and gotten a better prizes

Half of us said it would have injected too much competitiveness into what was supposed to be a friendly evening for a good cause, the other half wished we had paid up.

Hmmm…I once played a poker tournament at a casino where you got $1000 in tournament chips for your entry fee, and when you got to the table, if you “tipped” the dealer $10 real money, you got another $1000 tournament chips. Of course, everyone did it, because no one wants to play a tournament with half the stack of the other players at the start…

They did this in a friendly golf tournament I played in last year. It was a best-ball format, and while our foursome bought a few, we didn’t use them. Out of four players, it’s been my experience that someone always hits an at-least playable, if not good or excellent, shot.

Maybe it all depends on the activity and the advantage. Oakminster makes a good point–you don’t want to be at too much of a disadvantage in poker, starting with half the stack of other players. But if our foursome plays in the same golf tournament next year, I don’t think we’ll buy any mulligans. We got a few, they were expensive, and as I said, we ended up not using them.

I’m not sure what the “good cause” was at this particular place, but my answer to the question is that I would not play in a game that had such a rule.

And if it did, OF COURSE I’d buy any legal advantage!

Am I playing for fun, or for prize money? If it’s in significant part for fun, I’ll sit out any game where it’s an option. If purely for prize money, then it becomes a purely business decision, and I’d have to figure out whether the price is worth it.

That’s really the root of the question. DO you play strictly for fun in situations like this, so winning or losing isn’t a big deal, or do you go in determined to compete and win, and ready to fight for victory?

I think you mean a Scramble format (where, after each shot, the team chooses what it considers to be the best shot, and everybody on the team takes its next shot from there). A best-ball format is where everybody plays their own ball for the entire hole, and the team uses the lowest score.

There are other variations on this; for example, you can buy a length of string, and move the ball up to that length (after which you cut the string and can use only what’s left - and you can move the ball into the hole).

No I would not pay for a competitive advantage, and I would decline to participate if I knew in advance that it would be an option. And for the same reasons I won’t play games that have non-cosmetic microtransactions: it creates an uneven playing field and gives the payers an unfair advantage. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s for money or fun. And no, it would not matter to me what my opponents did.

I would also not play in such a contest. It’s clearly an attempt to turn a Skill Game into a Money Game.

No. I don’t play Pay To Win games.

If it were a charity tournament where the extra cash would go to the cause, then sure.
If it’s for fun and the only thing at stake are bragging rights, then no.
If it’s for cash prizes, I’d decline to play.

I would not participate. Pay-to-win takes all the fun out of anything it touches.

It depends on the situation.

If I’m competing. No, I wouldn’t. I have to win because I’m better at X than the other person, otherwise (for me) it’s completely meaningless. If I don’t “win” because my opponent paid an extra $10, I know I’m still the better contender.

If I’m just screwing around, sure.

I thought about it for a minute, but no. There are two types of games this could be: a friendly, noncompetitive one, or one played for money. With the former, paying to win is contrary to the spirit of the whole thing and is generally just a bit cutthroat. With the latter, the whole point is the competition, which is based around skills. Assuming that the team who came is second didn’t buy any mulligans - would it really be fair if they technically preformed better at the game than your team yet lost because they didn’t pay as much? To me, the feelings of resentment it would create outweigh any prize I might get.
If everyone was buying these things, I probably wouldn’t play. It just invalidates the whole game.