1. I've read up a little on Dutch Boyd's failed venture to maintain a "rakefree" site. I haven't researched it enough to understand all the details as to why it failed. What I don't understand is how it couldn't work with the right financial backing.

    Sites are making a killing on their rake. For many players, the rake is what distinguishes them from being a losing/break-even or winning players.

    Let's say you get a group of investors together, and market an aggressive strategy towards a site created by players, and for players. Imagine having a site where every single tournament has a blind structure tailored to that specific tournament. The site isn't concerened about how fast a tournament runs and how fast you get knocked out and move to the next because that isn't how they're making their money. You could have the standard 15 minute blind levels and 1500 starting chips for the folks who like things the way they are, and dont have time to play longer, and you could have 1 dollar tournaments with 5000 starting chips and 1 hour blind levels for the true grinders and folks with lower bankrolls! This is obviously an exaggeration, I'm just trying to make a point that anything is possible. it would be all about experimenting... figuring out what people want.

    You set an opening date for the site and market it aggresively through every major poker media outlet you can. You could have a free trial for say 1 or 2 months just to try and get as many users as possible.

    After the trial, the player could be entered into some sort of "contract". Maybe month to month where their acount is debited daily/weekly/monthly a certain charge according to the limits they play.

    Lets say you charge monthly somewhere in the neighborhood of:

    Micro Limit $3
    Low Limit $10
    Low-Medium $20
    Medium $40
    Medium-High $80
    High $150
    Ultra High $400

    Imagine being in the category of a Medium stakes player. You play 50+5 sngs on whatever site. The +5 is no longer part of the equation. See what I'm getting at?

    Of course players would be allowed to play lower games, If they want to move up they'd be charged accordingly

    Now your first couple of months will start out slow, like any business, but everyone is freerolling on their rake, getting a feel for the site and bringing their friends and relatives on in the process. The more players you get, the more you can start to bump up your guaranteed torunaments and bad beat or high hand jackpots.

    Before you know it, you have around 100,000 subscribers paying an average of $30 a month to have the privelage to play on such a fine site, equating to $3 million monthly revenue. This is pennies compared to most of the big sites actual revenue i'd guess... but, if its created by players and for players... could a site possibly need much more than this to cover their investments, advertise(if its even needed after awhile) pay their employees, keep a few owners wallets very fat, and keep it running perfectly? I wouldn't think so.

    It is my opinion that online poker players are being raped on their rake. The big sites have point systems that award you for being loyal with "freerolls", hats, etc. etc. This is just their way of giving you a small percentage of your money back. The money in these freerolls comes from your rake! How many people did Stars send to the WSOP this year who qualified through FPP's? Quite a few. It's a nice promotion, but it can only be done because a small percentage of their rake is budgeted towards getting a bunch of people to the WSOP for "free". It's not free, everyone of these players "paid" for these points, right? Another note worth mentioning is that all of these players survived huge (mine)fields to get to a final table where maybe 1 or 2 out of 1000+ actually get the seat. How many real players are interested in tournaments like this? I know i'm not.

    My ideal site wouldn't be able to offer these kinds of promotions, at least not on the same scale. What it could do is have a TLB where the top players compete weekly/monthly/yearly for wsop/etp/wpt seats. With a minimum of 36 million in annual revenue, I think it would be safe to assume that you could budget 3% of it, equating to 100 10k buy-ins to various events for your best players.

    I don't have the resources, nor do I know the "right people" to ever put anything like this together. i'm just an ideas person... an educated architect that likes to imagine and think big.

    Comments are welcome.

    Sooted57
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  2. Yes, we are getting raped by the rake. The main thing is that most people don't notice they're getting raped by the rake. Therefore, it doesn't seem like they're paying anything extra to play. I don't think that most people would fork out their actual cash money to 'subscribe' to such a site. What went from costing them $0 a month on PokerStars (so they think), now costs them $30 to play on RakeFreeStars.

    I just don't think people would go for it.
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  3. I disagree.

    I'd estimate that a good majority of people that are playing online are consistently playing between 5-20 dollar sngs and .5/1 - 2/4 limit. Most of these folks are quite aware of the drain that the rake is putting on their BR. Part of the marketing strategy of such a new "ideal" site would be to make people aware of EXACTLY how it works in comparison to the competition. This is also why i mentioned the option to debit accounts daily/weekly/or monthly.

    For a medium stakes player, you are actually being debited $1.33 every day instead of $5 each game(if you choose to take the daily route). Yes, many people online are quite stupid, even borderline braindead as evident in the way they play. This concept is not complicated. Even the biggest donk can weigh and compare $1.33/daily versus $5.00/game.

    Sooted57
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  4. Anyone who opens up a "rake free" site hates money.

    Rake free sites cannot work. You could open one up, market it aggressively, and probably lose a shitload of cash for at least a year. Just run some of the numbers yourself, factor in guesses for the cost of marketing, affiliate programs, servers, bandwidth, purchasing a place OUTSIDE of the US to run it legally, servers, upkeep, hiring a staff, start up capital, ect.

    Now think about your income. Your only income will be from subscriptions sold. Your price plan as written above won't work. All tables now have the same mex rake....why are you making people that play higher on your site pay more per month? It'll never work. There has to be a flat fee across the board. So take an average fee that you think people will pay and use that as your figure. Find out how many people you have to have playing, per month, to break even.

    It's basically a vicious circle: the good players won't play there unless the bad players play there. The BAD players won't play there because they don't understand how much they are losing by rake. They only want to play someplace that they've seen on TV, and where they can see pros. As much as I and (I'm sure) everyone else on here would LIKE to see a rakefree site come and be successful, it won't happen. It's just not economically viable.
     
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  5. You know what AB, although i respect your play, I cant say the same for your comments. I have yet to read as positive comment written by you.
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  6. Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation, sir.

    If you think my comments (all based in reality mind you) are negative, then please I encourage you to post YOUR thoughts, point out the flaws in my reasoning, and maybe we can have an actual dialogue instead of me taking the time to forumlate a rational response, and you coming along and posting pointless drivel.
     
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  7. Anyone who opens up a "rake free" site hates money.

    Why is that? The main concept revolves around "by the players, for the players". If it makes less money, but still makes enough money... how is that hating money? Believe it or not (poker)business's can function without turning a few greedy(albeit smart) people into millionaires. Does changing one element of how it all works make it an inherently bad idea? If researched, developed, and marketed correctly... I don't think so.

    Rake free sites cannot work. You could open one up, market it aggressively, and probably lose a shitload of cash for at least a year. Just run some of the numbers yourself, factor in guesses for the cost of marketing, affiliate programs, servers, bandwidth, purchasing a place OUTSIDE of the US to run it legally, servers, upkeep, hiring a staff, start up capital, ect.

    I'm merely proposing an idea. Rome wasn't built in one day. I could factor in some guesses and run some numbers and come up with a best worst/case scenario if I had the motivation. Like lots of startup businesses, it would probably lose money in its first quarter. For arguments sake lets just say the investors have a bottomless bank account, and full confidence in their mangagement's ability to turn a profit within a year.

    Now think about your income. Your only income will be from subscriptions sold.

    Subscriptions, yes... just like rake on every other site. Is there some other way they are making money that I don't know about?

    Your price plan as written above won't work. All tables now have the same mex rake....why are you making people that play higher on your site pay more per month? It'll never work. There has to be a flat fee across the board. So take an average fee that you think people will pay and use that as your figure. Find out how many people you have to have playing, per month, to break even.

    Why would it not work? Same max rake? There is no rake. There is a fee relative to the stakes you play. Why would people playing 50/100 pay the same fee as people playing 1/2? Remember people are coming to the new, "ideal" site because it is saving them money. If a 50/100 player is losing 2k per month to rake on pokerstars and a 1/2 player is losing 100... why should their subscription rate be the same? . Shouldn't the amount they save be relative to what they are losing... think supply/demand? A flat rate makes no sense whatsoever.

    It's basically a vicious circle: the good players won't play there unless the bad players play there. The BAD players won't play there because they don't understand how much they are losing by rake.

    This is a major issue, and i'm glad you brought this up. This has to be one of the main objectives in the marketing. If convincing people of a few simple ideas relating to money lost/hours played/stakes played through pretty charts, real-life examples is too complicated than you're absolutely right, this would fail miserably. You have to get the dead money on your site too. Even the dumbest donkey can understand $1/day versus $5/game. The money that the top sites are raking in is infinitely greater than what is required of them to function properly. Dropping this profit margin over time, to the benefit of it's players, is what the site is all about.

    They only want to play someplace that they've seen on TV, and where they can see pros. As much as I and (I'm sure) everyone else on here would LIKE to see a rakefree site come and be successful, it won't happen. It's just not economically viable.

    I'd be all about playing somewhere if it meant a few hundred (or few thousand) was saved for me the player, in my account, where it belongs, instead of padding some millionaires bank account. Assuming i'm just a big donkey that doesn't like money, i'll just stay on these other sites that slowly drain my BR through their inflated rakes while everyone else seems to be flocking to the new place, even if I'm well aware of this new, "ideal" site created, in part, by the Poker Gods!!! Getting some pros to play on your site is always a good thing. We'd have to start by hiring you, GambleAB :-)

    I think every good player would like to see this happen.. and be a success. You just have to convince some of the Donks to come along too. In a sense, tweaking one part of the equation throws in a vicious cycle as you mentioned. The ability to control this cycle is what could make this a success or a failure. In the history of business, survival is often guaranteed to the smarter man who one-ups his opponent and provides a better product. There is virtually NO product on earth that there isn't a customer for. The way it is sold is what determines its success/longevity/sustainability.

    Thank you for your comments, GambleAB

    Sooted57
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  8. Again, try running the numbers and see what you come up with. I remember doing very estimated calculations on RGP a while ago when the whole Zerorake thing came up and recall figuring that you would need many thousands of subscribers every single month in order to break even, much less show a liveable profit. The point is that no investor would want to throw money into a project like this when he/she/they could just as easily throw money into a conventional poker site and make much more money in portentially a faster time frame.
    As far as the fees go: A 3/6 player pays the same rake as a 100/200 player. Not less. 10% on every pot, up to a max of $3. I can understand charging less for micro players, but if the idea is fairness, then the fee should be the same from 3/6 up.
     
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  9. The ability to recruit many thousands of subscribers is not so far-fetched. How many people are playing on Stars and Party at any given moment? Between 30k-50k... more sometimes? If they have this many people on at any given moment wouldn't it be fair to assume that they have 10x this many relatively active accounts?

    Why would an investor not be willing to sink some cash into such a site with the proper research, approach, software development, marketing strategy, management team? Conventional poker sites are quickly becoming a saturated market, how many hundreds are there now? How many are there that NONE of us have ever even heard of.. lol?. Lets say you get the right group of investors who have a chunk of cash invested in mutual funds that are returning around 10% a year. You are able to convince them that your proposal is the future of online gaming, and that people will flock to it in droves. Through your caluculations you are able to guarantee them a return of 20% within 2 years. It doesn't seem so far-fetched that the right group of people in the right place and time could find someone(or a group) willing to take such a calculated risk.

    The fees: For cash table players, everything would be relative to the other sites rake. I've never played 50/100, so i didnt realize the rake is the same as you mentioned (up to $3). For people that play cash as well as sng/mtt their would be adjustments made according to the stakes they played. It might seems like a mess, but everything could easily be simplified and categorized according to what you play. Or, you could set up separate screennames for their cash/tournament accounts linked to the same account. The cash players paying relative fees, as well as the sng/mtt players players fees relative to the buy-in amounts that they play

    Sooted57
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  10. you could be based in texas or california if it was rake free. poker is only illegal if the house takes a cut or rake. same rules as a home game. pocket5s could set it up as part of the forum and charge a subscription. hint hint wink wink cal. you sell ad spaces on the tbl graphics .jimbeam sponsers the 3/6 tbls, nascar sponsors the 5/ 10 etc etc. you call metlife and aflac and get group insurance rates for pro/am players and get a commission for the refferals. you call visa and market the p5 logo mastercard with 5% cashback to all members. there is money to made if its done right even without the rake it just takes a little more thought than the rake way.instead of gauranteed tourneys you get sponsors like ford, and do a mtt $20 prize pool plus a jag xk8 to the winner . this is doable
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  11. oh and just in case ppl were not paying attn to how much the sites are taking down my session yesterday on stars total tbl rake on micro limits of 10cent/ 25 cent was $312.71 with a max buyin of $25.and half of that was at a 6 handed tbl. how many tbls are running every day??????
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  12. hell yes its doable.

    Lets all give a collective SMD to all the major sites thats suck us dry of our hard earned profits through their ridiculous, inflated rap(k)es. I can't remember where... but I remember reading that only 8-9% of all online players are actually profitable over the course of a year...can this possibly be true? If it is true... gee, i wonder why. I hope most of you are part of this lucky minority?

    /Sooted57 grimaces as this entire thread gets deleted, and all of the previously mentioned scenarios quickly become realtiy. Oh well, at least I'll know that maybe I had some say in it!

    J/K

    Sooted57
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  13. It's a nice idea, but, I'm with GambleAB... it just won't work, and, here's why:

    The subscription cost (whatever formula you use) is a dead loss to every player. Win, lose, or draw, that money comes off the top every month. And, it has to come off the top, because, if you allow the player to play before he must pay, most will gamble off everything they deposit, and have nothing left to pay the subscription. Try collecting on that in a country where online gambling is... less than entirely legal.

    Right now, every site I've seen, has a continual program of Deposit/Redeposit Bonuses. That bonus money gets unlocked at a rate that pretty much equates to the Rake you pay. Thus, the good, winning players, who manage their Deposits and Withdrawals intelligently, are already playing a Rakefree game. It's only the fish who actually pay any Rake. In fact the fish, via that Rake, are actually paying for the priviledge of losing their money to the good players.

    That sucks big green ones for the fish, but, is what assures that the good players remain in the present Raked structure.

    An example from one site:

    It takes 100 points to unlock $10 of bonus money. The site awards 1 point for every dollar of tournament buyin. So, if you buy into a $100 tournament, you get 100 points and unlock $10 of bonus money. This site only levees a 9% Rake, so, a player is already $1 ahead of the game when the tourney starts.

    Why would a good player pay to make his money when he already enjoys a system where others already pay all costs for him?
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  14. Who says they would be able to play before they pay? Players would almost certainly have to pay first. Why grant them the privelage just to have to bother with collections later. Payments could be setup daily. Lets say a medium stakes player logs on 4/7 days a week. As soon as this player sits at a table and clicks the "ok" button to bring money to that table their is account is also debited the pre-determined amount according to the category that the player is in. No longer are they paying a set monthly rate, but a pro-rated daily rate based on the monthly rate. You say the subscription cost is a dead loss to the player. How is that any different than rake? If subscriptions can be proven to people, over even a short amount of time to save them money, exactly how are they going to interpret this as a dead loss?

    You say every site you've seen has a continual program of deposit/redeposit bonuses. Are you kidding? Every site? You say everyone that manages their deposits and withdrawls inteliigently is already playing a rake free game. Although I doubt that many are truly playing rakefree, I'm sure there are some who manage to do it (or get very close) by continuously moving their money around, and taking advantage of every bonus available. If I was strictly a limit/cash player, there is no doubt that i'd be doing this too for more than one reason. Site hopping is going to keep your opponents guessing more. When you play enough limit with any given individual it can become very easy to pick up on their tendencies after awhile. Even the best limit players can be very predictable.

    It seems like your example is from Bodog, a site i joined recently. Honestly, how many other sites are there that let you clear bonuses, withdraw, reload and continuously do it again and again without having to once step foot in a cash game? Does Bodog continuously let you do this? Almost all of them require cash play. Is this changing slowly? This is a forum where most people probably spend less time on cash tables and more time in sng/mtt. The new, "ideal" site needs to be one that is aimed at that crowd.

    Sooted57
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  15. I actually like the daily deposit idea, instead of a monthly fee. You could charge everyone like $3 or even $5 a day to play rake free poker. That's peanuts considering what you can pay for playing just 2 sit and go's, AND, it's better long term than $30 a month!! I'm not saying yay or nay about it working or not (so DON'T HATE ME :), but I think with the right people in on this project and the right marketing, it could work. But nowadays, with everyone and their mom having a poker site, it would be very difficult to get it off the ground. I'm not going to say it won't work, but it would be a long hard road, but with the right amount of subscribers paying just $3 or $5 a day to play rake-free poker, you could definatley have yourself a very lucrative business in the long run - short term, however, you'd probably be looking at some red numbers.

    One last thing, though....with this, you may not be able to offer any bonuses, which will deter many people who rely on bonus whoring. That may be the toughest part of getting it off the ground.
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  16. Or why not just make a normal poker site and have the subscription thing as an option, if everyone is worried that it'd take too long to get subscribers this way.

    Honestly, I think the major flaw in this idea is that while customers might love it, if someone was going to go to all the trouble of starting an online poker site, which would be an incredible amount of work, when they get to the point where they go "okay, should we charge a large rake that everyone will pay, or should we go with a rake-free subscription system to save people money?", they'll just go with the guaranteed money. The only incentive to the business to actually do this would be if it was so popular with players that they were overrun with subscribers and wound up making way more money than doing it the normal way. So, if this system saved the average player 90% of his rake per month, the site would have to get 10 times the amount of subscribers this way to break even. It'd be nice, but who would do that?
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  17. hehe

    that is exactly the point. The big sites dont "break even" per se. They bring in HORDES of cash, most of which is making a few very lucky people extremely rich at the expense of the players. Remember the concept "for the players, by the players", not "rape the players, pad the owners wallets at the expense of the players". I think i've posted my answers/opinions to most of these statements already.

    Thanks to everyone for posting their ideas

    Sooted57
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  18. Let's do a comparison.

    Premise: Player A plays 50 $50 buyin tourneys per month, and, cashes in none of them.

    Site X offers a 50% initial deposit bonus up to $500, and a 20% redeposit bonus up to $200. Knowing this, Player A decides to make his deposits in stages. His initial deposit is $1,000.00, earning him the full $500.00 bonus. Site X redeems bonus dollars at the rate of 10 per 100 points, and awards points on the basis of 1 per buyin dollar. Thus Player A unlocks $10 for every 2 tourneys he plays. His 50 tourneys will thus unlock $250 of his bonus dollars.

    Buyins for tourneys at Site X are buyin + 10% of buyin. A $50 tourney is thus $50 + $5. Playing 50 tourneys would therefore cost an additional $250 in vigorish to the site. But, the bonus redemption exactly cancels that, meaning that Player A's only out-of-pocket is the $2500.00 that he contributes to the prize pools via his buyin.

    Site Y is a subscription site. It's rate structure is $2 for a $50 buyin tourney. 50 such tourneys would therefore cost a player $100.00 ( a dead loss if ever there was one ) + the buyin or $2600.00 total. Thus, a subscription based, rakefree site would actually cost the player $100 more to play at than a site that is raked. In addition, Site Y either has to come up with a California style hourly seat rate, or do away with cash games entirely, since there would be no other equitable way to make ANY money by offering cash games.

    This is why no subscription based service stands a chance of winning out against a raked service. The fishies at the cash tables make it possible for raked sites to allow a smart tourney player to play for free. No subscription site stands a chance against that.

    It doesn't really matter that Site X's whole rake/bonus structure is a sham, and nobody can actually clear their full bonus without playing cash games, because the tournament specialist only needs to clear enough to pay his tourney vigorish, and the rake/bonus structure allows him to do that. As long as a site offers even a 10% deposit or redeposit bonus, he can play vigorish free tourneys forever.
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  19. Sorry, I mean break even in the sense of.. to make the same amount they would using the non-subscription method. And I agree this would be nice, I just am pointing out the main logisitical problem with it: Noone with the power to do it would ever do it.
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