Oct. 25th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
You know that the world is going seriously mad when the majority of posts in a Two+Two thread are eminently sensible. I don't read the Gutshot or Hencon Mob threads more than once in a blue moon these days, so I can't tell you what is going on there, but there seems to have been a rash of an outbreak of common sense on Two+Two, particularly in this thread: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/28/internet-gambling/chili-poker-says-2-2ers-ruin-fun-other-players-327879/

A rumour was put about on another thread that the IPoker network was planning to introduce a differentiated rake system, with those skins where more money came out of the network than went into the network would pay a higher rake to IPoker.

This stemmed from the following source.

Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO and shareholder for Chili Poker, told PokerListings that the rumor came about because of a new policy from iPoker that will target rakeback Web sites.

The truth about what is going on can be found here:
http://www.pokerlistings.com/chili-poker-debunks-rumor-about-ipoker-31961

Basically, the new rule is that a room has to bring more money in than money out, and is meant to stop rakeback operators. If an operator has a negative money in-money out ratio, it will pay more rake/fine.

According to Chili Poker, the new policy will be implemented starting Nov. 1, and the poker site accepts and supports the changes since it is the right direction to go and is in line with its own main strategy as well.



You might remember that a few months ago I pointed out that a fundamental difference between standalone sites and network sites was that the standalone sites want all of the players to lose money slowly, whereas the skins of networks want their players to win, because the money won comes mainly from other skins. The skins, are, in a sense, collectives of players, playing against other skins.

IPoker has spotted this. If a skin takes more money out of the site than it puts in (i.e., its players are net winners), then that is money going out of IPoker's pocket (as far as IPoker is concerned), because IPoker is the sum of all of the skins, and therefore (like standalone sites) wants all of the players to lose slowly. There is a fundamental conflict of interest between skins and the parent site.

This has to be balanced with the "provision of liquidity", and IPoker has clearly decided that the rakeback sites that deliberately cater to 16-tabling short-stackers (welcome NoIQ) are not helping IPoker at all.

It also relates to the other point I made a few days ago, that many of the NopIQ players are playing the game MOP (Multi-table Online Poker) rather than the game of online poker as-originally-envisaged.

In a sense this argument is the equivalent of the argument between the full-stacekrs (who want the minimum buy-in raised) and the short-stackers (who do not). The former claim that the latter are destroying the game; the latter say that what they are doing is within the rules and that they pay more rake than single-tablers.

Anyhoo, if this kind of argument had been posted on 2+2 a few years ago we would have got a few thousand replies, many of which would have been single-line comments that contributed nothing to the debate (one of the old favourites was the "witticism" OMG THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!) and which fundamentally misunderstood the real argument about what was going on.

But, no longer. perhaps these one-liner writers got bored with trying to achieve pooh-bah status and have moved on. Perhaps they are still here but have grown up. Whatever, the quality of the responses was considerably higher than you could have expected a year or so ago. Jukofyork spotted that:

Banning nits might actually be a very good way for them to maximize their MGR: from a poker site's perspective, it's much better to have lots of losing players of similar skill passing money back and forth between themselves for long periods of time (ie: not having fish getting instantly eaten alive by 9 hungry nits - never to return...).

The problem with just having an outright ban on nits is that it would create bad publicity, but by banning the skins which facilitate play for the most nits (ie: the ones where the amount going out exceeds what's going in) could just be a very clever way of "stealth-banning" them.


Of course there are a few debatable posts. The old line that if you just raised the min buy in to 50bb is repropounded. What this means is "I am a winning big-stacker. Make it hard for the winning short-stackers so that I get a bigger share of the fishes' money". But Stellar Wind sums it up most appositely and accurately:

Losing players pay for everything. They are the only people who put in more money than they withdraw. Everyone else: network operator, skins, vendors, employees, affiliates, and winning players are all taking money out of the system.

Losing player money is limited by the supply of people willing to lose money and the amount they can or will lose.

It's vital to any poker site that they attract fish and keep them as happy as possible. The fish are paying for entertainment and it is important for the health of the game that they not be ground up too fast. They have to win sometimes or the whole system may die.


Of course, I was saying this five years ago when everyone on Two+Two had what seems to be (and I admit that I stereotype here) the standard American attitude that "the good times will last forever" and "there will always be plenty of fish to go round". This blind belief and fatally flawed optimism also saw people plunging money into Las Vegas real estate when a blind fool could see that the prices were unsustainable.

Now, it looks as if the Two+Twoers who remain are the ones who have seen how tough things have become, and have still survived. The dilettantes have been weeded out. Good.

+++++++

Looking at the fundamentals of the siuation, it's clear that there are a large number of short-stack multi-tablers on IPoker who for much of the time make the site no fun to play on at all. This doesn't bother me that much. I'm not one of these youngsters who wants all opponents to be fish and who thinks that the only way to win money is to find a table where more than 40% of the plaeyrs are seeing the flop. You can beat short-stackers too once you get a close handle on their ranges. Remember, if they are playing 16 tables, they have to be playing according to a system. There's no "oh, he did that a while ago, I'll do this now instead". This consistent line of play is a fatal flaw in their style and it can be exploited. Just don't expect it to be fun or to bear any relationship to bricks-and-mortar poker games.

And, while there's a shortage of nice fish coming in on IPoker, there doesn't appear to be any shortage of young Germans looking to play 16 tables hoping to average 0.5 BB an hour per table (including rakeback). I know this because they are the ones who start screaming when it doesn't seem to be working. There minimal bankroll vanishes. They give up and fuck off, and more of them take their place. They are, in other words, the new plentiful supply of fish.

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