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 08-06-2012, 01:40 PM #1 grinder     Join Date: Feb 2010 Location: NY Posts: 503 At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? Games all over have different rake structures that are used, so what I am trying to figure out is when is a rake too high that the game is no longer profitable? I would imagine this has a lot to do with the player's win rate, so I guess I will give example numbers to base a model on. The maximum buy-in may also effect the profitability if we are +EV in the game to begin with. Also the straddle increases the volatility of the game, but should ultimately work in the strong players favor albeit adding more variance. In games with straddles, assume the hero does not ever straddle. If our hero has a current win rate of \$40/hr at 1/2 nl (\$5-\$6 rake), and \$25/hr (\$5 rake/\$5 time), at what point would the following games become unprofitable? 1/2 NL \$300 max 1/2 NL \$300 max w/straddles up to \$10 1/3 NL \$500 max 1/3 NL \$600 max w/straddles up to \$15 2/5 NL \$1000 max w/straddles 5/5 NL \$1500 max w/straddles I would be interested in seeing any math behind these calculations, and I thank you guys for your time. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum. Last edited by Rapini; 08-06-2012 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Moved from B&M to Poker Theory.
08-06-2012, 02:04 PM   #2
newbie

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 17
Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Julius187 Games all over have different rake structures that are used, so what I am trying to figure out is when is a rake too high that the game is no longer profitable? I would imagine this has a lot to do with the player's win rate, so I guess I will give example numbers to base a model on. The maximum buy-in may also effect the profitability if we are +EV in the game to begin with. Also the straddle increases the volatility of the game, but should ultimately work in the strong players favor albeit adding more variance. In games with straddles, assume the hero does not ever straddle. If our hero has a current win rate of \$40/hr at 1/2 nl (\$5-\$6 rake), and \$25/hr (\$5 rake/\$5 time), at what point would the following games become unprofitable? 1/2 NL \$300 max 1/2 NL \$300 max w/straddles up to \$10 1/3 NL \$500 max 1/3 NL \$600 max w/straddles up to \$15 2/5 NL \$1000 max w/straddles 5/5 NL \$1500 max w/straddles I would be interested in seeing any math behind these calculations, and I thank you guys for your time. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum.
If you are beating 1/2 for \$40 an hour with a \$5-6 rake there is no rake, with the possible exception of some of those crazy Euro rakes, that is going to make the game unprofitable. The more important question is if you are beating 1/2 for 20 bb/hr, what are you still doing playing 1/2?

 08-06-2012, 02:44 PM #3 grinder     Join Date: Feb 2010 Location: NY Posts: 503 Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? Was rolled for 2/5, played over my head in MTTs, ran bad for 6 months, now rebuilding at 1/2 until I'm rolled enough for 2/5+ again. While I didn't want to make this thread too specific to particular games, there is a 1/3 NL game with a \$10 max rake, generally weak opponents, straddles and sometimes crazy action. I'm grappling whether a 10% to \$10 rake in a 1/3 is profitable to play in or not. I've heard of 2/5 and 5/5 games with 10% to \$15, others with 5% uncapped.
 08-07-2012, 05:32 PM #4 newbie   Join Date: Sep 2007 Location: California Posts: 22 Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? I think an answer for so many scenarios would be difficult. Let's try some simple ones: 1/2 NLH. \$40/hour net winrate. 10% rake up to \$5 (or \$10). 1) You never win a pot bigger than \$50: the rake maximum does not matter. 2) You win a single \$100 pot every hour: You win \$100, rake \$5 and lose \$55 for a net \$40/hour. If the rake increases to \$10, your net would be \$35/hour. 3) You never win a pot bigger than \$50 for 4 hours, then win a single \$100 pot in the 5th hour. Your net rate is \$40/hour (\$5 rake ) or \$39/hour (\$10 rake). So, the more your winning is "small ball", the less the increased rake should affect you. But if you play deep stack, big pot poker, the larger rake takes more money from your big pots. But, in either case, if you can win at \$40/hour, you should be able to beat any rake. If you are playing 2/5, the pots will be bigger and your winrate in bb/100 is smaller. In that case, you would have more pots over the rake max, so a larger rake would have a bigger impact on your win rate. But your winrate is still so large that you should still be able to beat any rake. If your winrate was more like \$4/hr (5 bb/100), a rake increase may very well take you from profit into loss. An rake increase of \$5/hour would wipe out your profit.
08-07-2012, 06:26 PM   #5
centurion

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 120
Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by wilson1560 If you are beating 1/2 for \$40 an hour with a \$5-6 rake there is no rake, with the possible exception of some of those crazy Euro rakes, that is going to make the game unprofitable. The more important question is if you are beating 1/2 for 20 bb/hr, what are you still doing playing 1/2?
I think the real question is: What's wrong with \$40/hour?

I mean, if you can actually beat 1/2 at that rate, then maybe you should stay where you are, as I doubt that you can necessarily beat higher games at even close to that rate.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Julius187 Was rolled for 2/5, played over my head in MTTs, ran bad for 6 months, now rebuilding at 1/2 until I'm rolled enough for 2/5+ again.
So that you can donk off your roll against higher quality competition again? Doesn't sound like a great plan to me.

08-08-2012, 11:32 AM   #6
newbie

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: California
Posts: 22
Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Da Mayor I think the real question is: What's wrong with \$40/hour? I mean, if you can actually beat 1/2 at that rate, then maybe you should stay where you are, as I doubt that you can necessarily beat higher games at even close to that rate.
\$40/hr in 1/2 live seems unsustainable to me. If you can really do that, I have no doubt you could also beat 2/5 at a high rate. IMHO the 2/5 players in Vegas are not much better than the 1/2 regs, just better rolled.

It sounds like you lost your roll playing MTTs rather than 2/5. Maybe your not a good MTT player, or maybe variance bit you in the arse. It would be useful to know how many hours your 1/2 winrate was based on. You could play a full year, 2000 hours, and only play 70,000 hands. The long run is very long indeed for live players.

 08-08-2012, 03:55 PM #7 grinder     Join Date: Feb 2010 Location: NY Posts: 503 Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? Wasn't really looking to looking for the thread to go in the direction of discussing win rates, but my thoughts are in line with SteveReno. I only have about 200-250 hrs logged at 1/2, definitely a few sessions running well, while a few not so well. While I don't think \$40/hr is sustainable or my true win rate, I think it is probably close to that just because the game plays 150bb deep and so many players at this limit play SO face up to me that I'm losing very little money in spots where I should be losing all my chips as well as getting paid on some thin river value bets. My 2/5 rate is over about 300-350 including a long stretch of running bad. Before that I had something absurd like \$90/hr at 2/5. Eventually over long term I believe I can win at both games. I have played online winning well up to 100nl and understand variance and that good players can have very long break even/losing stretches. I only threw the numbers out there to help justify whether a game was profitable or not. I never had a huge roll to begin with, maybe around 17k at its peak, but a 3k downswing at 2/5, and a cold streak of playing \$350-550 mtts with only \$3500 in cashes plus travel expenses etc. I was burning through money a lot faster than I thought I was until I realized I was down to \$4-5k. I didn't handle the variance of MTT poker properly by selling action enough, and it cost me. I was winning online when I did play MTTs, but over 20-30 tournaments live is nowhere near enough to ride out even short term variance. I want to look at one or two examples specifically about the rake structures of these games. I am not a pro/full time player, I work a day job and maybe have 1-2 days a week to commit to playing a long session of poker. If I am going to be playing a smaller game, I have two main options: Game A is 1/2 NL, \$6 rake, Buy-in of \$60-\$300, variety of opponents - mostly weak/clueless, Game is about 1hr 15 mins away Game B is 1/3 NL, \$10 rake, Buy-in of \$150-\$600, small player pool - but mostly weak to terrible, action junkies, maybe 1-3 decent players. Game is 10 mins from me. Game also has optional live straddles and button straddles up to \$15 max. Should I be playing in Game B when it runs, or should I be staying away and playing only Game A?
08-08-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
grinder

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NY
Posts: 503
Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SteveReno I think an answer for so many scenarios would be difficult. Let's try some simple ones: 1/2 NLH. \$40/hour net winrate. 10% rake up to \$5 (or \$10). 1) You never win a pot bigger than \$50: the rake maximum does not matter. 2) You win a single \$100 pot every hour: You win \$100, rake \$5 and lose \$55 for a net \$40/hour. If the rake increases to \$10, your net would be \$35/hour. 3) You never win a pot bigger than \$50 for 4 hours, then win a single \$100 pot in the 5th hour. Your net rate is \$40/hour (\$5 rake ) or \$39/hour (\$10 rake). So, the more your winning is "small ball", the less the increased rake should affect you. But if you play deep stack, big pot poker, the larger rake takes more money from your big pots. But, in either case, if you can win at \$40/hour, you should be able to beat any rake. If you are playing 2/5, the pots will be bigger and your winrate in bb/100 is smaller. In that case, you would have more pots over the rake max, so a larger rake would have a bigger impact on your win rate. But your winrate is still so large that you should still be able to beat any rake. If your winrate was more like \$4/hr (5 bb/100), a rake increase may very well take you from profit into loss. An rake increase of \$5/hour would wipe out your profit.
I really like this... so in essence the increased rake's effect on my WR is going to be dictated by the size of the pots I win. I try to play a pretty small ball style with small bets/raises and get most of my value making better decisions on later streets, but the straddles pump up more pots to over \$50 than normal.

08-08-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
newbie

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: California
Posts: 22
Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Julius187 I never had a huge roll to begin with, maybe around 17k at its peak, but a 3k downswing at 2/5, and a cold streak of playing \$350-550 mtts with only \$3500 in cashes plus travel expenses etc. I was burning through money a lot faster than I thought I was until I realized I was down to \$4-5k. I didn't handle the variance of MTT poker properly by selling action enough, and it cost me. I was winning online when I did play MTTs, but over 20-30 tournaments live is nowhere near enough to ride out even short term variance. I want to look at one or two examples specifically about the rake structures of these games. I am not a pro/full time player, I work a day job and maybe have 1-2 days a week to commit to playing a long session of poker. If I am going to be playing a smaller game, I have two main options: Game A is 1/2 NL, \$6 rake, Buy-in of \$60-\$300, variety of opponents - mostly weak/clueless, Game is about 1hr 15 mins away Game B is 1/3 NL, \$10 rake, Buy-in of \$150-\$600, small player pool - but mostly weak to terrible, action junkies, maybe 1-3 decent players. Game is 10 mins from me. Game also has optional live straddles and button straddles up to \$15 max. Should I be playing in Game B when it runs, or should I be staying away and playing only Game A?
IMHO, it is much harder to win at MTTs than cash games. MTTs generally only pay the top 10% and the payout is very top heavy.

Your question about whether to play Game A or B is very interesting. Personally, I hate paying higher rake. But, you might make a greater hourly profit in Game B. It sounds like the Game B players are bad, and the game should play slightly higher (with the highe blinds). That should translate into a higher winrate if the rakes for Game A and B were the same. The higher rake for Game B is a bummer, but you probably spend more on the gas to get to the Game A casino. If you are anywhere near \$40/hour for either game, the rake shouldn't be the principle factor. The quality of player (or lack thereof) should be more important.

Luckily for me, I play live mostly in Vegas, where the rake isn't so high.

 08-08-2012, 08:14 PM #10 centurion   Join Date: Dec 2011 Location: Philly Posts: 155 Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? I have played some of the NYC underground games with obscenely high rakes quite successfully. Here are the guidelines: When the game is 1/3 with \$10 max rake and big straddles - you do not want to play a lot of hands. The key is to be much more selective than usual about preflop hand selection. You do not want to be trading a lot of small pots as then rake and tips eat you alive. Key is to play few hands but raise them strongly (with \$10 straddle and couple callers you can make it \$50-60 and get multiple callers). Obviously, you want to win a large % of the hands you play. The only major exception to this principle is set mining. In these types of games small pairs should be limped with the intention of trying to see a cheap flop (but folded if there is already a raise in front of you and players behind you left to act), as uber-agressive donks in these games are typically never able to fold an overpair or 2 pair regardless of action and preflop pot size. If you are a LAG that likes to play 4+ hands per orbit, you will be providing the majority of the game's chop and thus will be better off taking a trip to AC instead.
 08-09-2012, 02:32 PM #11 Carpal \'Tunnel     Join Date: Feb 2003 Location: Carpal \'Tunnel 4 Life Posts: 11,078 Re: At what rakes do Live SSNL become unprofitable? The question is really immpossible to answer by anyone by yourself since the games are going to be different. The only way to really know is to play in the 1/3 and see if you do better there, after acounting for the extra 2hours of play you will get (It's better to win \$30/hr for 6 hours than \$40/hour for 4 + extra gas).

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