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Friday, August 06, 2004

Rake-Free Poker Sites: Not Gonna Catch On
Iggy's got an exceptionally educational post up today, providing some background on the Dutch Boyd-Rakefree.com fiasco that happened a few years back.

Although PokerSpot predates my involvement in online poker, I was aware of the controversy surrounding Dutch Boyd becuse I sifted through the RGP archives to find out about it. I used to read RGP all the time--before I discovered the poker blog community. There's so much better writing coming from the bloggers, and so much less flaming, whining, shilling, and lying than on RGP. Now I hardly ever visit RGP, instead relying on Iggy and others to bring me the highlights. (Thanks Iggy!)

Somewhere in the middle of Iggy's uber-post he sums up something that I think bears repeating. I was going to post on this topic sooner or later; now Iggy's hit the nail on the head in 2 sentences:
A rake free site is a wonderful idea for the hardcore players out there. But it won't attract the fish. I want to play the fish, not the guy who is aware of rake and it's implications upon his earn rate. Think this through...geepers.
This is what I think whenever I hear someone talk about what a great deal rake-free poker would be. Everyone focuses so much on how DB mishandled the operation of PokerSpot, it's useful to think about what a problematic idea his new Rakefree.com is to begin with.

Now the idea's back with Zerorake.com. I guess DB's certainly not the only one thinking this rake-free thing is a good idea. I just can't believe it, but then again, I'm a low-limit player, and believe that most of my money is made from my opponents' mistakes. To that end, I like playing with players who are worse than me, i.e., fish. To my understanding most fish are casual players who would not want to pay an up-front monthly fee to play online poker. Or at least this is how it is at low limits.

I guess it's possible that there are players out there for whom the cost of the rake truly more than offsets the action they get from casual players. I guess it's also possible that there are enough poor players who think they're good enough to hang with more knowledgeable players that they could provide a decent amount of action at a rake-free site. I assume that's how the high-stakes games in Las Vegas are funded--by players who think they can beat the next level but really can't. I guess I could go read RGP if I really wanted to get a wide range of opinions on the issue :) Either way, it seems like rake-free isn't for me or the majority of poker players.

What I'd like to see instead is the major poker sites get into "rake wars" with each of them offering lower and lower percentage-of-the-pot rake tables. But this would probably only happen in a big way if the current poker boom subsides, and I prefer not to dwell on that possibility :)

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