Rake... or Rape?
The truth is, we all do. This guys' name is Mr. Rake.
I guess most players don't really think about it, since they have gotten used to playing raked games all over the metro. The question is, how much is too much? Are players getting their money's worth when they play a 20-40 NL, 10% rake game with a maximum of 300 for every pot? Is it even fair? The sad truth is, the rake in our current poker community is unbeatable, unless you play in the high stakes table.
Let's do some math.
Let's say there are 10 players at the table, and all buy-in for 2000 max at the 20-40 NL game. That's 20,000 in play. Now, at a conservative average of 100 rake per hand in a 300 max-rake game at about 20 hands per hour (dealers in the casino are slow) it adds up to about 2,000 rake per hour. (I've done the math, and that's roughly the figure you'll get if the max is 300, about 1500 if max is 200). That's 10% of the money in play going to the "invisible opponent". If everyone plays for about 5 hours WITHOUT rebuying, they will soon end up with about 50% of the money in play going to Mr. Rake. If we only have one winner, he would cash out 10,000 only. If we have 4 "winners", they would have a profit of only 500 for the night. Truth is, nobody really wins.
Now, that doesnt sound like "Rake" anymore. More like "Rape".
I realized this when i played a home game with my uncles, of course self-dealt, and no-rake. At 10-20, with max buy-in at 500, i won about 4,000. German Snake also won about 5,000 and the total buy-ins for that night was about 10,000. If there was rake in that game, which we played for about 5 hours, we would have only won about 2,000 each, since the rake would have been about 800-1000/hour.
Since we have, in the words of nickG, "only one hamburger stand in town", we really dont have much of a choice. I'm not saying it's bad or wrong to do that, but this will really hurt the poker communtiy in the long run. It is simply too much to rake that much in such a small game. Bigger games have no problem with the rake, because their pots are very big and taking 300 doesnt really matter, but that's only for a handful of privileged players.
In the $4000-$8000 Limit Holdem game at Table One in the Bellagio Poker Room, they have a table charge of about $20 per hour, per player. That's it. Youd be hard pressed to find a 10% raked game in the US, or in any other casino for that matter. The biggest rake you'll find in a US casino would probably be $4 per pot at most.
In fairness to players, and game organizers as well, i believe that the normal practice of raking 10% and having a high maximum should be, in time, slowly adjusted and reduced to make the game beatable and ultimately enjoyable to play. I'm talking about the ACF here, but it also applies to underground poker rooms. Make the max smaller, that's the first step. I personally believe in putting players first, and this is the best way of doing it. If people see that you are prioritizing players instead of profit, then more players will come to your games.
I know this is a somewhat controversial topic, but i have been thinking about this for quite some time now, and i just had to get it out of my system. This is just my honest opinion, and i believe it will be for the best of the poker community to be aware of this situation and demand for the most fair structures and conditions possible not just for their Poker tournaments, but also the ring games.