Posts Tagged ‘rake’

Winning Poker Network Moves to Weighted Contributed Rake Calculation

 Winning Poker Network Moves to Weighted Contributed Rake Calculation

Just as people like to make changes to their lives and get a “fresh start” when the calendar page turns from December to January, so, often, do online poker rooms. The Winning Poker Network (WPN) announced Monday that starting today, January 3rd, 2017, its member rooms will adjust how raked hands are counted in order to calculate loyalty points. Gone is the “dealt hand” system and in is the “weighted contributed” method.

In the previous, dealt hand method of calculating rake and loyalty points, rake in a cash game pot was attributed to every player who was simply dealt cards. For instance, if five players were dealt hole cards – regardless of how many players were actually seated (some could have been sitting out) – and the pot grew large enough to generate one dollar in rake, twenty cents in rake would be attributed to each player. This amount would then be used to determine how many loyalty points players earned, which is useful for things like VIP status levels and releasing bonuses.

During the poker boom of about a decade ago, most online poker rooms and networks used the dealt hand method. It was fantastic for tight players like me or for players (also like me), who shuttled around to different poker rooms to take advantage of deposit bonuses. As the years have gone on, though, most rooms have switched to the weighted contributed method, as WPN is finally doing now.

In the weighted contributed method, poker players must actually put money in the pot to be given credit for any rake generated. This “contribution,” as it were, can be voluntary as in a bet or raise, or can be involuntary, as in the small blind or big blind. Those who fold pre-flop and are not in a blind will not have any rake attributed to them as they were in the dealt hand method. Additionally, the rake attributed to each player is based on how much money they put into the pot compared to the other players, hence the “weighted” part of the phrase.

Using the same example from above, say there were five players dealt cards in a hand that generated one dollar in rake. Two early position players called pre-flop, the button folded, the small blind called, and big blind checked. Thus, four players contributed to the pot. If everyone checked down all the way to showdown, they all contributed the same amount and would therefore each be attributed with 25 cents rake.

The calculations change depending on how much money players contribute. If two of the players fold on the flop and two others keep betting through the river, those two that stay in the hand longer will have contributed more and will be given credit for more rake.

Clearly, this method is terrible for tight players who like to fold, fold, fold their way through a session, but is great for more aggressive players. It is also good for the poker rooms, as it encourages action, driving up pots, and increasing rake.

The switch to the weighted contributed method is inconsequential when it comes to tournaments, as it is the tournament fee that matters there; there is no rake per pot in a tourney.

Poker News Daily

Petition to Eliminate WSOP Main Event Rake Interesting, Pointless

 Petition to Eliminate WSOP Main Event Rake Interesting, Pointless

In what will certainly prove to be a fruitless effort, a petition has been started on the website to try to get World Series of Poker officials to make substantive changes to the WSOP Main Event in order to reward players with more spoils. The petition, posted by David Bass, creator of Any Two Pocket Cards, LLC, is addressed to WSOP VP and Tournament Director Jack Effel, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, and WSOP VP of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky.

The goal of the petition is two-fold:

Please eliminate the “rake” (i.e., portion withheld for expenses) on player buy-ins into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event poker tournament; and

Please start a revenue-sharing program to supplement the prize pools for the top WSOP poker tournaments with part of the revenue generated from TV contracts, sponsorships, licensing and other sources derived from the value of the WSOP brand.

I am not about to make this an editorial, but we can all probably agree that the first part is a huge reach and will never fly.

The second request, though, is not totally out of bounds. As Bass writes:

Poker is the only major global sports or gaming competition where the players themselves provide the funding for tournament prize pools and operating expenses.  In addition, the players – including top professionals – are responsible for their own travel and out-of-pocket expenses necessary to participate at live events.

The sentiment makes sense. Players in other sports in the United States share in the revenues the leagues bring in via television contracts and sponsorships and, for the most part, the players don’t pay to enter the competitions, travel to venues, etc. (remember, I said “for the most part”). In poker, on the other hand, the players put their own money at risk, fund the prize pools, and pay the casinos for the right to participate. It is rare to see money added to the prize pool by the host venue or a sponsor. One notable exception is the recently launched Global Poker League, where players do not pay to play (in fact, they are paid on an hourly basis) and sponsors provide the prize money.

The big problem – again, without diving too deep into commentary – is that poker just isn’t popular enough with the general public and the dollar figures that the WSOP pulls in for the event likely aren’t great enough to warrant any sort of monetary concession. The NFL, MLB, and NBA, for example, can share the wealth because that wealth is measured in billions. Sponsors clamor for an advertising presence with those leagues. Television executives would sell their first born for broadcast rights. There just isn’t that kind of money to spread around for WSOP organizers.

I will say that it would certainly be nice if a sponsor would pony up some cash for a prize pool or two or if the WSOP would allocate some sponsorship money to the Main Event. That seems doable. But eliminating the rake seems like a bad idea. If 6,500 players participate in the Main Event this year, that’s about $ 2.7 million to the house, according to rake figures presented in the petition. Take out of that all the operating costs (not counting dealers and staff, who are paid from a separate rake), and WSOP/Caesars probably isn’t left with all that much in the grand scheme of things. Yes, they likely get a revenue boost from all the people spending money on the property, but I think it’s a bit much to ask to tell the WSOP to willingly give up a sizable chunk of money.

While the petition isn’t going to accomplish anything, the discussion of what monetary responsibility the organizers and sponsors of televised tournaments have to the players is neither new nor a bad one to have.

Poker News Daily

Petition Calls for Removal of Rake at WSOP Championship Event, Revenue Sharing for Additional Money in Prize Pools

 Petition Calls for Removal of Rake at WSOP Championship Event, Revenue Sharing for Additional Money in Prize Pools

In an ingenious move that might not gain any traction – but it doesn’t hurt to try – a poker fan has started a petition asking officials at the World Series of Poker to eliminate the rake on the WSOP Championship Event. In addition to this elimination of rake, the petition is also asking for a revenue sharing program over other WSOP events that will “spread the wealth” that Caesars Entertainment is pulling in over a variety of methods.

David Bass, an investment banker with Arena Capital Advisors who publishes a blog called, called for the petition earlier this week after some analysis of the current WSOP rake structure. “Our basic thesis is that a portion of the money paid by ESPN to the WSOP (or its parent company, Caesars) for the right (sic) to broadcast WSOP events and other ancillary revenue should be added to the WSOP prize pools,” Bass writes on his blog. “The WSOP should take no rake from the players on televised tournament buy-ins.”

Currently there are only two or three events that are televised by ESPN, a stark departure from the early days of the television contract between the WSOP and ESPN. In 2015, the Championship Event was one of those tournaments (the other was the WSOP National Championship) that reached the airwaves, so Bass has adjusted his petition accordingly. As a form of persuasion, Bass also attempts to demonstrate how much Caesars is taking in from just the rake alone in these tournaments.

“Poker is the only major global sports or gaming competitions where the players themselves provide the funding for tournament prize pools and operating expenses,” Bass writes on the petition that is addressed to Jack Effel, the WSOP Vice President and Executive Tournament Director, Executive Director of the WSOP Ty Stewart and Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky. “In addition, the players – including top professionals – are responsible for their own travel and out-of-pocket expenses necessary to participate at live events.” He then points out that the Championship Event’s $ 10,000 buy in automatically has 6% subtracted from it ($ 600) for “entry fees” and payments to dealers and floor staff. For the smaller tournaments, Bass states, the WSOP can hold anywhere from 10% to 18% ($ 65 on a $ 365 buy-in) for what is called “operating expenses.”

The explosion of the WSOP schedule is a point of emphasis by Bass. The 68 event schedule in Las Vegas, the WSOP Europe and its 10 event schedule, the WSOP Circuit and all are brought into the mix (surprisingly, Bass doesn’t mention the WSOP Asia/Pacific…guess that’s what happens when you alternate years). Cash games, satellite tournaments, numerous sponsorships (Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, anyone?) and other sidelights also are noted. Memorabilia sales, concessions and other miscellaneous sales to a “captive audience” also add to the kitty for Caesars, at least in Bass’ eyes.

At no point does Bass even begin to broach the subject of where ESPN’s rights deal with the WSOP to broadcast the tournament come into play or how much that the WSOP receives for those rights (one of the most closely kept secrets in Las Vegas besides Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place), probably a sizeable chunk of change in its own right. He does, however, point out where other major sports are doing a revenue sharing model.

Bass accurately points out that the National Football League gives players 47% of football-related revenues, with the other major sports leagues doing the same (the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League donate the most revenues, 50%, to the players). Additionally, the Professional Golf Association provides 60% of a tournament’s prize pool from their television rights, with the remaining 40% coming from the specific tournament’s title sponsor. “It is time for the prize pool composition to evolve, first by eliminating the rake on the top tournaments and second by supplementing the prize pool following a revenue sharing model that is common in other major international sports and gaming competitions,” Bass contends. “In doing so, the WSOP will continue to attract more participants, grow its appeal to TV and other media audiences, and increase the overall value of the WSOP brand.”

The counter from Caesars would probably be that there are huge expenses for putting on a poker tournament the size of a WSOP, especially the version in Las Vegas. That is difficult to prove, however, without actually seeing the accounting from the endeavor. If Caesars could actually show that the television rights, the rake and players’ fees and various other revenues being raised on the backs of the players either barely covers the expenditure or that they are operating at a loss, then they might have a leg to stand on. If that isn’t the case, then Bass may have something to go on here.

The website is well-known for its non-binding petitions that draw attention to controversial issues in the world today. They have had some “successful” petitions, with that word in quotation marks because it is difficult to determine just how much the petition had on the eventual result. touts the release of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian from Iran in January 2016 as one of its “success stories,” for example.

Currently Bass’ petition is off to a slow start. Only 37 people have taken the time to add their signatures, with the most prominent name on the list being that of three-time WSOP bracelet winner Matt Matros. In putting his name on the petition, Matros commented, “Players are providing much of the value and should be compensated accordingly,” something that isn’t a rare thought amongst the players.

Poker News Daily has reached out to Caesars Entertainment and WSOP officials for comment and will update this story as necessary.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars to Increase Rake

 PokerStars to Increase Rake

On Monday, PokerStars announced “revised pricing,” code for “rake increase” that is to go into effect next Monday, March 28th.

In a post to the PokerStars corporate blog, Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars, explained that the changes come “Following a review of the current business environment and the pricing policies employed across the competitive landscape for online gaming.” Hollreiser highlighted the following “key” changes:

•    Rake for Spin & Go’s will be increased one percentage point for buy-ins from $ 1 to $ 30, except for the $ 3 buy-in tournaments, which will have a two percentage point increase.
•    Re-buys and add-ons for multi-table tournaments will be raked.
•    Multi-table tournament hyper-turbo rake will be upped to five percent.
•    Rake will be increased (both percentage and cap) for some No-Limit and Pot-Limit cash games, especially heads-up contests.

Hollreiser said that PokerStars estimates that the overall rake increase will be about four percent.

It appears that these are more changes being made to the poker room to push away high-volume professional grinders. These types of players typically favor NL and PL heads-up cash games and hyper turbos so that they can get as many hands in as possible. Re-buy tournaments also benefit deep pocketed players, so those are certainly the ones targeted when re-buys and add-ons are raked.

Hollreiser spun the changes as one would expect, emphasizing:

Even after these changes, PokerStars will still have the lowest overall pricing (known as “rake”) of any major online poker operator.

The pricing changes apply to certain games while others will remain unchanged. In Cash Games and Sit & Go competitions, PokerStars still has significantly lower rake than competitors.

Included in the blog post was an analysis performed using one million cash game hands this year, simulating what would happen if the rake structures of PokerStars’ main competitors were used. Hollreiser pointed out that the biggest savings compare to competitors was at stakes that had the most hands played, which is likely (and he didn’t say this, this is just my own inference) low and micro stakes. So again, if I am correct, this is another opportunity for Stars to point out how great it is being to recreational players. Hollreiser wrote:

When the rake is weighted according to the different volumes of games played at different stakes, the current rake at PartyPoker is 7% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake. The current rake at 888 Poker is 16% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake. The current rake at iPoker is 19% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake.

So there it is; make if it what you will. Obviously, players in the poker community are none too pleased, but as they say, “It is what it is.” We’ll see if it has any effect on player traffic in the long-run. Probably won’t.

Poker News Daily

Full Tilt Poker to be Resurrected Soon – Tight Poker:poker rakeback sites

 Full Tilt Poker to be Resurrected Soon   Tight Poker:poker rakeback sites

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6 Full Tilt Poker to be Resurrected Soon   Tight Poker:poker rakeback sites

 Full Tilt Poker to be Resurrected Soon   Tight Poker:poker rakeback sites
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