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Old 06-04-2018, 12:32 AM   #1
Mason Malmuth
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Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Hi everyone:

With the website https://morerakeisbetter.com/ and now the billboard, perhaps it's time to take another look at the proposals I made on 09-14-2016:

1. Limit multi-tabling.

2. End most of the bonuses for playing lots of hands.

3. At the smallest stakes, leave the rake the same.

4. At the next tier, but still small stakes, raise the rake.

5. At the next tier and all higher games (except perhaps the biggest games), lower the rake significantly.

6. At limit games, especially limit hold 'em and seven-card stud, lower the rake even more.

This was the thread from back then:

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/2...issue-1629058/

I also added to this in my Sept. 2016 Publisher's Note for our Online Poker Magazine. This is what I wrote:

In the “2p2 legend ChicagoJoey PLO Podcasts (PLO and Poker Life episodes) thread” ChicagaJoey wrote the following (and the post can be found here [https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/s...stcount=6169]:

In some ways I can very much see where they (I will use they for DN/Pokerstars) are coming from with what DN is saying but I think it the truth is more on the side of WE WANT TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE AND ALLOW AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE TO WIN

Now I don’t know if this statement is true or not since I don’t have the ability to get into the heads of those people running the poker sites. But one thing is for sure. There is no reason for such a statement to even be made yet lots of people are thinking this exact same thing. So what am I talking about.

Well, it turns out, and this is something that those of us associated with Two Plus Two have been talking about for many years, is that when it comes to poker games, there is a sweet spot. And by this I mean a poker game where both the expert players and the recreational players will keep coming back and in many cases play for life.

Specifically, the following three things, which I mentioned in the thread, have to happen.

1. Poker works best when there is a proper balance of luck and skill. This means that the expert players will do well enough in the long run that they'll have a decent long term win rate, but it also means that the recreational players will have enough winning sessions that they’ll keep coming back.

2. Low stakes recreational players shouldn’t be playing in games that are mostly populated by pros. This will allow them to have more winning sessions which in turn will allow a few of them to graduate to higher stakes.

3. Expert players should have the opportunity to have good win rates. But this should be done by outplaying their opponents at medium and high limits, not by playing a huge amount of hands where their main emphasis is to collect bonuses. And, it will also mean that they won't be playing in games where they win most every time. (Thus I do agree that ending heads-up no-limit games is probably correct.)

Unfortunately, it also means one other thing which may not be very popular with most of you who read this, and that is that no-limit hold ’em is, in my opinion, a form of poker where the proper balance of luck and skill is just not there. The experts have too large of an advantage over the recreational players, and based on my limited observation, the no-limit hold ’em cash games are beginning to choke themselves off.

All comments welcome, and here is one well written response:

http://www.parttimepoker.com/mason-m...ecology-debate

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:46 AM   #2
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Limit tables to 6, lower the rake at micro and limit and PLO games and you're golden. Also get rid of heads up tables.


Allowing player to use a giant net like their fishing for tuna is just ridiculous and makes games unplayable even at the smallest stakes. Ever have someone time down on every table for every simple decision? No way a fish wants to play on that tables which is all of them.


As for heads up games I remember when Stars and FTP started heads up games, it was like mid/high stakes ring games were cut in half over night.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:29 AM   #3
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

ban ****ing huds. thats the first step to anything
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:30 AM   #4
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

I agree with most all of Mason’s points. But rather than nit pick exactly which micro-stakes should have what micro-rake, I think the last point should be the most important.

The game of No-Limit Hold’em can never be the sweet spot, given the skill level of online players in 2018. In the end, what does the rake matter if the game itself is just a disaster for new players? Where will the new money in the economy come from?


Say you play some poker with your buddies from work, and see a tournament on TV that has ads for online poker. You have fun with your buddies, and win sometimes, maybe even most of the time.

So you deposit 100 dollars into the site and sit down to a “penny poker” game of .05/.10 NLH. In a matter of hours or less you have lost 50 dollars, and you start to wonder if all of this “online computer poker” is legit or not.

Now you take your 50 dollars and go down to .02/.05 NLH. Few more hours and you have only 10 dollars left. By this point you are getting really pissed off. Now you go to .02 NLH where you struggle with your last 10 bucks and then it’s gone. You feel humiliated and cheated.

This is what No-Limit Hold’em is online for any new player in 2018. Honestly, you really have to have some serious mental issues to experience that several times over and actually continue to play.

This is the problem for the online poker sites. The sites are happy to make the rake from all the volume that seasoned grinders produce. The problem is the game itself and the experience it provides to the vast majority of customers, which is decidedly negative.

Absolutely stop the multi-table madness. If you need 12 tables at .05/.10 to generate the profit you need, then move up to a stake you can beat with 2 tables to make up for it.

I am not saying more rake is better. And revoking SNE was a pure money grab of course.

What I am saying is that NLHE has to go. It is ridiculously solved anyway.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:30 AM   #5
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Christ. Whoever thinks this spoof campaign could never possibly blowup in our face are mistaken. The ****ing president ran a spoof campaign and here we are.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:40 AM   #6
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
I agree with most all of Mason’s points. But rather than nit pick exactly which micro-stakes should have what micro-rake, I think the last point should be the most important.

The game of No-Limit Hold’em can never be the sweet spot, given the skill level of online players in 2018. In the end, what does the rake matter if the game itself is just a disaster for new players? Where will the new money in the economy come from?


Say you play some poker with your buddies from work, and see a tournament on TV that has ads for online poker. You have fun with your buddies, and win sometimes, maybe even most of the time.

So you deposit 100 dollars into the site and sit down to a “penny poker” game of .05/.10 NLH. In a matter of hours or less you have lost 50 dollars, and you start to wonder if all of this “online computer poker” is legit or not.

Now you take your 50 dollars and go down to .02/.05 NLH. Few more hours and you have only 10 dollars left. By this point you are getting really pissed off. Now you go to .02 NLH where you struggle with your last 10 bucks and then it’s gone. You feel humiliated and cheated.

This is what No-Limit Hold’em is online for any new player in 2018. Honestly, you really have to have some serious mental issues to experience that several times over and actually continue to play.

This is the problem for the online poker sites. The sites are happy to make the rake from all the volume that seasoned grinders produce. The problem is the game itself and the experience it provides to the vast majority of customers, which is decidedly negative.

Absolutely stop the multi-table madness. If you need 12 tables at .05/.10 to generate the profit you need, then move up to a stake you can beat with 2 tables to make up for it.

I am not saying more rake is better. And revoking SNE was a pure money grab of course.

What I am saying is that NLHE has to go. It is ridiculously solved anyway.
Are you saying they hate NL but are addicted to it? That's not so far fetched but gambling addiction is a different topic than what most of your post is about. I think. And afaik it's not solved, but running with that for argument's sake I don't see how "ridiculously solved" = it must cease to be played.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:15 AM   #7
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Mason, that website is satirical. I wouldn’t advise quoting them to strengthen your point!

Here’s my response from the previous thread. I’d like to emphasise that you really, really, REALLY should stop using the term “bonus” in the context that you do. THERE ARE NO BONUSES. PLAYERS DO NOT BREAK EVEN AND PROFIT BECAUSE OF HIGH VOLUME.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeleaB View Post
Do you have much experience of playing online, specifically at micro- and small-stakes? Or at least, do you have much of an idea how the games play, what the rake levels are, what the "bonuses" consist of, what the Amaya/Player split of depositing money is, what percentage of players turn a profit at each tier, what the upper range of that profit is, AND how each of those factors have changed over time? It would not appear so.

These (at least 2, 3, 4 and to some extent 5) are not fixes in any sense of the word. They are however the path that Amaya have been travelling down for quite some time.

Regarding your points:

2. It is advisable to stay away from terms such as "bonuses" and "rewards" because it leads to a misunderstanding of what they effectively are, and it also plays into the hands of Amaya, allowing them to misrepresent what they really are. If your intention is simply to restrict multi-tabling (a fair, but not innovative, suggestion) then your first point covers that. If your intention is to raise the rake, then your fourth point covers that.

3. At the smallest stakes, the rake is astronomically high, with only a very small percentage of players able to make a profit. Amaya's percentage take of money deposited and used to play at the micro-stakes is almost certainly in the very high 90's percentage-wise, and has steadily risen over time.

4. The rake at small stakes is already at a point where Amaya take well over 90% of money wagered, by my calculations (included in a post last year.) Your suggestion to do away with bonuses AND further increase the rake would all but kill the games, as they would almost literally (using the original definition of the word) be unbeatable. I say this as someone who has played these games for ten years, having racked up more hands than anyone else online at these stakes (not a brag ) most likely.

5. I'm not sure lowering the rake at the higher stakes games, where its impact is far less, will have too drastic an effect. It could stop a small amount of "trickle down" but no one would be playing the smaller stakes games anyway so it's probably moot.

In short, and sorry to be blunt- but you did say you welcomed all comments- the majority of these suggestions are ridiculous. If they were suggested by an unknown poster they would be ridiculed or ignored, and the one potentially credible suggestion (I'm not going to cover point (6) as I'm not best qualified) has been suggested many, many times over. I don't expect a single reputable poster to speak positively of your post.

Points 2-5 are actually what one would expect to read on Negreanu's blog, a Lee Jones' post or a Hollreiser press report in their apparent attempt to kill off online poker.

Last edited by MeleaB; 06-04-2018 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:18 AM   #8
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
I agree with most all of Mason’s points. But rather than nit pick exactly which micro-stakes should have what micro-rake, I think the last point should be the most important.

The game of No-Limit Hold’em can never be the sweet spot, given the skill level of online players in 2018. In the end, what does the rake matter if the game itself is just a disaster for new players? Where will the new money in the economy come from?
It won't. The NL games will dry up if the NL games dry up. You certainly sound like you won't miss them. But NL games drying up doesn't necessarily equal the poker economy ceasing to exist. I hope. And if it does, **** it, we had a good run. Switching to limit, or some game where fools can't be parted with their money so fast just hurts my brain to think about. People of all stripes and skill levels love NL, but poker's a shark tank, and if the sharks eat all the fish than maybe it's not in the cards for sharks to thrive forever. Extinction is common. "But we could have slowed or stopped our extinction by switching to a more luck based game!" Maybe, but if the money is no longer easy to make professional poker players will become far fewer in number anyway. The life won't be so attractive when one can make a lot more as a working stiff. Maybe it's just catch-22.

Quote:
Say you play some poker with your buddies from work, and see a tournament on TV that has ads for online poker. You have fun with your buddies, and win sometimes, maybe even most of the time.

So you deposit 100 dollars into the site and sit down to a “penny poker” game of .05/.10 NLH. In a matter of hours or less you have lost 50 dollars, and you start to wonder if all of this “online computer poker” is legit or not.

Now you take your 50 dollars and go down to .02/.05 NLH. Few more hours and you have only 10 dollars left. By this point you are getting really pissed off. Now you go to .02 NLH where you struggle with your last 10 bucks and then it’s gone. You feel humiliated and cheated.
A fool and his money are soon parted, poker or no poker. I wouldn't just assume that all losing poker players are so naive that they can't grasp the fact that others are just better at the game than them. It's not that complicated, they've probably been schooled at chess before too.

Quote:
This is what No-Limit Hold’em is online for any new player in 2018. Honestly, you really have to have some serious mental issues to experience that several times over and actually continue to play.
Uhhh, ok. So now losing players are by definition mentally ill? I mean, it's possible, but that just sounds like conjecture. Mental illness is statistically more common in gamblers in general (iirc), and I assume (perhaps wrongly) that that includes winning gamblers too.

Quote:
This is the problem for the online poker sites. The sites are happy to make the rake from all the volume that seasoned grinders produce. The problem is the game itself and the experience it provides to the vast majority of customers, which is decidedly negative.

Absolutely stop the multi-table madness. If you need 12 tables at .05/.10 to generate the profit you need, then move up to a stake you can beat with 2 tables to make up for it.

I am not saying more rake is better. And revoking SNE was a pure money grab of course.

What I am saying is that NLHE has to go. It is ridiculously solved anyway.
More than a few businesses have run into problems throughout the course of history. Some of them going under due to innovation, obsolescence, flood, is just the nature of our world. I don't want poker games to dry up either, but I hate the argument that because of the skill differences we must all move down to checkers and tic-tac-toe because chess is too hard.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:31 AM   #9
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

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Originally Posted by MeleaB View Post
Mason, that website is satirical. I wouldn’t advise quoting them to strengthen your point!
If Nietzsche were alive today he'd say that satire is dead. It's fake news. Who knows what the masses will take literally anymore.
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:27 AM   #10
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

ban thr HUDs
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:27 AM   #11
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
Now you take your 50 dollars and go down to .02/.05 NLH. Few more hours and you have only 10 dollars left. By this point you are getting really pissed off. Now you go to .02 NLH where you struggle with your last 10 bucks and then it’s gone. You feel humiliated and cheated.

This is what No-Limit Hold’em is online for any new player in 2018.
Haven't played on Stars since 2011. Are games really that hard now? I feel like micro stakes have always been very beatable if you have some common sense and game knowledge.

To your point, I'm not sure cash games are really the best way to entice new players. I would think tournaments would be better since there's more luck involved and huge prizes at the end of the rainbow. Anyone who gets lucky can make a deep run and feel like he's "close" to the big score.
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:46 AM   #12
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
Absolutely stop the multi-table madness. If you need 12 tables at .05/.10 to generate the profit you need, then move up to a stake you can beat with 2 tables to make up for it.
This is actually a great way to look at the online play. I've struggled ten years ago and now decided to give it a try again and not be a losing player. The thought of being profitable online is strongly merged in out minds with multi-tabling. And now - to actually limit yourself to max two tables - seems to me like a good way to start enjoying the game. I think, I could even create a diff topic for that...

Sorry for offtopic, just had to say thanks :]
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:38 AM   #13
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroku$aki View Post
Christ. Whoever thinks this spoof campaign could never possibly blowup in our face are mistaken. The ****ing president ran a spoof campaign and here we are.
Where we are is the lowest ever Black and Hispanic unemployment and 3.8% for everyone else and first real-wage growth on low-end in over a decade? Seems like you are making the case for this "spoof" campaign and not knowing it.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:13 AM   #14
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
4. At the next tier, but still small stakes, raise the rake.
I'd agree with this if poker rooms took the moral obligation to persistently redistribute a substantial part of that rake via promos aimed at casual players, e.g. Stars' CardHunt at NL10+.

However, it looks like Stars has decided not to make such promos permanent, but instead, rotate 'new' NLHE variants that only took a few hours to design, i.e. Split and Showtime. I feel that not enough R&D was invested into them, unlike Spin & Go Max and (to some extent) Power Up (though the latter doesn't have as much power to retain casual customers because of its complexity and slowness - now, the $15 games are barely running, the $15 regs often have to move down to $7 even at peak hours just to get a game).

The most recent creation of Stars' 'genius' researchers is Spin & Goal, which took quite a lot of programming because of the new mechanism of awarding free bets as prizes, which doesn't even work in all jurisdictions because sports betting is unavailable in some of them (incl. Russia), and which apparently caused a crash of the poker servers on the day of deployment (June 1).

I don't think Stars' researchers are industrious enough to be paid so much. Sadly, this seems the general state of the poker industry in general, not just Stars.

More rake is better when it's efficiently invested into promos, talented researchers and, importantly, accurate programmers (the amount of spelling errors in the names of variables that I saw in Stars' log files made me cringe), but not when the surplus is largely pocketed by the poker room, like by Stars after the deployment of Power Up.

I have some hope that RunItOnce Poker will be reinvesting the collected rake more efficiently.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:10 AM   #15
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

2. Low stakes recreational players shouldn’t be playing in games that are mostly populated by pros

How to fix this:

1) Ban HUDs to make the games closer to fair.
2) Reverse the high volume bonus to a penalty at lower stakes. i.e. first X (500?) hands of the month 100% rakeback, next X, 20%, after that, 0, or some sort of structure like that. Similar for MTTs and SNGs.

Chase the "pros" up and out of the micros/lower levels.

I agree with higher limits having lower rakes as a percentage as well.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:29 AM   #16
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Rake winners more than losers
or do it with rakeback
Or like Pokermaster - no win in session no rake
Losing players there pay quite a lot less rake than crushers
Much moreso than raking a single hand since there is no cap and weaker players are much less likely to win over hours of play rather than in single hands
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:01 PM   #17
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

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Originally Posted by Oroku$aki View Post
Christ. Whoever thinks this spoof campaign could never possibly blowup in our face are mistaken. The ****ing president ran a spoof campaign and here we are.
You mean in a glorious place where real men are running the show now, instead of feckless footed pajama-boys? I'll assume that's what you mean.

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Old 06-04-2018, 12:12 PM   #18
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

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Originally Posted by osh View Post
This is actually a great way to look at the online play. I've struggled ten years ago and now decided to give it a try again and not be a losing player. The thought of being profitable online is strongly merged in out minds with multi-tabling. And now - to actually limit yourself to max two tables - seems to me like a good way to start enjoying the game. I think, I could even create a diff topic for that...



Sorry for offtopic, just had to say thanks :]


If you actually enjoy poker and like to learn and concentrate on getting better, 2 tables is a good choice. You can select the two “best” tables according to what criteria you are looking for, and play well over 100 hands per hour of your very best poker. This will allow you to recognize the leaks in your game and your opponents as well while having a more enjoyable experience.

Obviously, stay at your present stake with the new 2-tabling and put in some decent volume and make sure your improved stats warrant moving up to the next stake to recover your previous hourly winrate when you played over 2 tables.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:55 PM   #19
Foreva More
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

I first thought that Mason was gonna open his own site where he would implement all those wonderful ideas, but looks like he is just giving those pearls of his to everybody for free.

A generous man indeed.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:36 PM   #20
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

limiting the number of tables and banning huds seems like a no brainier. Altho banning huds is kind of problematic since it would be possible to get around it so people would still use it, so it just shifts it from a tool everyone knows about and uses, to one that some people will use and others wont because its against the rules. I dunno.

anyway, I don't really see the point in wasting time talking about it tho, since that would massively cut the sites bottom line, so it isn't going to happen.

Also, no game is going to come along and replace NLH. People who have invested large amounts of time into learning it wont want to learn something new, and fish and rec players are like the people who play blackjack who cant count cards but still hate continuous shufflers.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:38 PM   #21
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

RIO poker is the only shot at doing this right from the get-go. Hopefully.
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:04 PM   #22
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

the main problem is that 2+2 community consists mostly of us citizens who haven't played online poker for ages hence are far from reality.
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:52 PM   #23
robert_utk
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

*tips cowboy hat*


Back in mah day, little feller, there was no rakeback.
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Old 06-04-2018, 06:22 PM   #24
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

My opinion is that in every poker game there is a fish and a favourite no matter what you do, but rake almost certainly destroys the games.

In a heads up game Tom Dwan is a favourite against Phil Helmuth. Then Tom Dwan becomes a fish when he plays Isildur1. Then Isildur1 becomes a fish when he plays WCGRyder. Then WCGRyder becomes a fish when he plays OTBRedBaron.

At least when rake is really low the fish loses less and the guy with the edge makes more.

When rake is lower it keeps more money in the poker eco system and it allows players to move up in stakes.

When the good players are allowed to move up in stakes this then gives the weaker players a break, because they don't have to play with the good player anymore who has moved up in stakes to test his ability at higher limits.

Rake is TERRIBLE for the games in my opinion.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:24 PM   #25
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Re: Time for Another Look -- More Rake is Better?

Online or Live poker without rake?why don't you guys just held home game or using app like pppoker

On the other hand : instead of rake why don't poker site charge for subscription (membership) daily, weekly,monthly or yearly from player

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