Wamy, I don't claim to know exactly how losing players would respond to a rake exclusively targeted towards winning players - all we can do is intelligently speculate. But what I do know is that the current system certainly isn't keeping them around. So it's not like we're comparing an alternative system to a baseline of 0. We're comparing an alternative system to a system that's already bleeding players at an alarming rate.
I do agree that most casual players think online poker is rigged. Actually pretty much anybody who has an opinion online poker seems to believe it's rigged. I think that is a horrific for the popularity of health of online poker. Even on 2+2, one of the largest threads on this site is the rigged thread (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/28...on-255990-new/
). That thread has more than 50,000 posts and nearly 2million
views! Anecdotally speaking, one of the homegames I used to regularly attend was made up primarily of other grads from a top tier university. Many of these guys had heavy backgrounds (or degrees) in areas such as mathematics. In spite of that damn near every one of them who had an opinion on online poker felt or alluded to the sites being rigged.
The reason I mention that is that its important to realize these people who think online poker is rigged aren't just tin foil hatters or "rigtards." There are plenty of smart and otherwise perfectly normal individuals who think online poker is rigged and are avoiding it for that reason. That's actually one of the things that got me vested in trying to figure out why that was since that is just horrible for online poker. And I really do think there's a very strong case to be made the cause is the current system of high per hand rake - the system that turns a huge percent of potential pre-rake winners or roughly breakeven players into losing and even big losing players. I'd add that it would be rather odd to suggest a site is rigged when the way they make their profit is through winning players, any winning players. Right now there is a huge incentive for the sites to rig the games to make sure nobody walks away a winner and that is certainly only adding fuel to the rigged fire.
The whole idea of this system is not to focus on degenerates - the players who just want to gamble and will do it at the roulette wheel where they can face a 2.7% 'handicap' versus online poker where they might see an x% rake on winnings as a simple x% handicap. The idea of this is to start keeping more normal players; those who lose a little or win a little - the vast majority of players in any zero sum game. The players the current system invariably turns into big losers and seems to be chasing off faster than ever before. The current system relies so heavily on degenerates because the per-hand rake is high and they worked to subsidize it. When the sites are raking up to 20bb/100, you need players losing at -50bb/100 even -100bb/100 to keep he gears turning and other players playing to convert that money into rake. As Dominik Kofert (the CEO of PokerStrategy) stated, the sites have become addicted to addicts and the current system of rake is a large part of the reason why. When the sites are no longer able to attract (and keep!) enough of those degenerates the entire system starts to fall apart from the bottom up - and I think that's what we're seeing happen right before our eyes.
So basically I do agree with you in a number of ways. I'm also not particularly thrilled with the suggested profit model myself and others have proposed. It makes the rake much more visible and that's undoubtedly going to turn away some players, ironically even some losing players who would pay much less and play longer in the long run under the proposed system than they do right now. But the current profit model is not working, and I do think the proposed alternative is one that, even if flawed, is likely to end up working better for all parties (including the sites) than the current.