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Beating the Rake

By: jergul @ 02:34 (EDT) / 463 / Comment ( 0 )

Anyone following my blog knows I am a losing player, through slowly approaching a completely marginal one if things continue to improve. So I have been highly motivated to minimize my relative disadvantages. Looking at how the rake effects my bottom line seemed natural.

A losing player has to be truly horrid for the rake not to represent a significant portion of his or her net loses. The rake back in its various incarnations has its allure, but remember it is a rake back. So it just returns some of the money a player may be losing and should not be used to justify high volume playing styles (many buy-ins).

A losing player should also try to make as few buy-ins as possible. The best way of looking at this is remembering you win or lose money to players, not to tables or any other abstract. Your win/loss rate per player you face is relatively constant, so it makes sense to play as many people as possible each time you buy-in. Look at it as a rake to player ratio: A 10% rake divided by 8 players for a single table sit and go = 1,25% rake per player. A 10% rake divided by 8000 players in a larger multi table tournament = 0,001% rake per player. Which should indicate very clearly the best type of game to play: The more players faced with a buy-in, the more marginal the rake will be in terms of a players overall win/loss rate.

So, play big tourneys. Stay away from small sngs and in particular cash games. This is key to minimizing losses and becoming an extremely marginal player faster as a player's skill improves.

The logic remains true for winning players to. Lets consider someone with a 5% ROI who multitables to maksimize hourly earnings. Lets still ignore the rakeback to keep it simple. In this case, the player could be looked at as a commissioned saleperson working at generating high volume turnover. For every dollar the player nets, the house nets two.

A winning player with a 20% ROI with exactly the same skill set as the one above, but who uses a different strategy by playing a larger number of players each time he/she buys-in has magically reversed the commission rate. For every dollar he or she nets, the house nets 50 cents. Note here that the pre-rake hourly rate is the same as tournaments with many players take more time than smaller tournaments.

The bottom line is very different, all other things being equal.

In sum: Just think big and try to have as many  players in an event as possible every time you buy-in.

Oddly, I had some hesitations on writing this. Poker Stars has helped me tremendously through the PSO, so this post seems an odd way of repaying the company. The purpose of PSO is however to create better players, so I will remain loyal to that goal as best I can and by extension to Poker Stars I guess.

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