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Am I the Only Thinking Person in the Poker World?
Sometimes it feels like I'm the only thinking person in the poker world.
There are some thinkers on the business side of our world.
Greedy, yes. But thinkers never the less. When it comes to the players, forget about it.
Or am I being too harsh? Are there some thinkers out there?
Well, show yourself then. Until then I have to assume that I am the only one.
Poker in a Casino is a Pretty Sweet Deal
I hope not, but the evidence is pretty compelling I'm sad to say.
Does the poker world only consist of self-centered degenerate gamblers who don't mind being taken advantage of on a daily basis as long as they get their fix in?
It all started with online poker. Perhaps you did not know, but poker on the Internet came before Moneymaker.
In fact he was a product of online poker and then afterwards become the catalyst we all know.
Poker in a casino is a pretty sweet deal. They provide you with the whole shebang: table, cards, chips, dealers, floor and security to protect you from angry fish.
They even have an eye in the sky so that you can prove that the upset fish is mistaken.
They provide prop players so you always can find the game of your choice, and they are open around the clock.
They market the place to find you fish and pay you instantly when you win.
You can come when you want and leave when you want. For all of this you pay $7 every 30 minutes and you get the drinks for free.
On top of that they have valet parking and give you back $2/h as comp. Best of all they don't allow the fish to smoke, as you know they usually do.
They Do It to Make Money
Now, the casinos don't do this out of their big love of poker or out of the goodness of their heart.
They do it to make money, and they do. Big money.
Poker rooms like Bellagio, Venetian and Bicycle make insane amounts of money. All out of $7 every half hour.
It was all great until online poker came along. Except in some places, like for example in certain parts of France, where they rake 10 % with no cap.
Maybe it's not a surprise that France is an exception. They chain smoke cigars too, by the way.
The low-limit grinders at 3-6 Limit in more civilized parts of the world pay rake instead. Usually the house takes 5% with a cap of $4.
Online poker companies quickly realized that rake was the way to go. Four times more hands per hour equals four times more money.
Especially since you have no costs. Then someone invented multi-tabling and the profits really skyrocketed.
The whole business model was built on the belief that there where endless amounts of fish in the sea.
Hence, the best customers were the ones raking the most, which of course were the winning players.
Even Better Than Having a Crack Addict in Your Basement
In the beginning a grinder paid over $15,000 in rake per month. That's even better than having a crack addict in your basement.
A poker pro is bringing in the dough to pay the rake and you don't have to deal with all the hassle like with the other kind of addict mentioned.
That led to rakeback because the poker addicts were so valuable that it made sense to try to steal them with discounts.
There were a few VIP hosts who had the time of their life running around with a no-limit credit card buying dinners, champagne and more to everyone claiming to be a winning poker player.
The end result is a sorry state. The business model is completely broken.
Poker networks are dying or even being put to sleep. We are a long way from fixing the problems and it's probably going to take another 10 years before the online poker world is running like it should have been from the start.
The Future is Bright
It has cost the poker community so much in so many ways. It is like it always has been: the little guys pay the price if they do not unite.
But the future is bright. After all, poker is the greatest game in the world. And online poker is a very good and available alternative.
About Ken Lennaárd:
Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via PokerListings.com. Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of PokerListings.com.