Three years ago, "more rake is better" was poker's biggest meme: lambasting @RealKidPoker for saying that charging more at the online poker tables could be better for players.

The funny thing is that @GGPoker has been quietly executing this concept and proving it to be true.

GGPoker traditionally has had high rake - especially at cash game tables. In particular, it rakes 3-bet pots preflop. While it has reduced it in spots recently to make it competitive in some scenarios, it is still high in many situations vs PS and others.…
But GG also gives back a massive amount to players. It says it gives away $10mm every month in promotions alone.

There's a bit of creativity in that number, but even accounting for that, it is in a league of its own for straight cash giveaways.…
Part of that is its "ThanksGG" system. That alone gave away $10 million last year, @pokerfuse just reported.

And that's no-strings-attached cash. If you're lucky or unlucky, you enter a no-effort lottery with cash prizes daily.…
That alone is $3 million a month, and there's another ~$3.5 million in leaderboards. That's all straight cash returned to players.

And of course, on top of that there's the rewards program, which is generous for many players (though more opaque so harder to quantify).
At its core, the "more rake is better" concept was always this: Rake a lot, and return a lot. It gives the operator max flexibility to reward and incentivize different games and player types and change it up monthly in response to customer demand.
an aside: I'm aware that there was also a tangential debate of "more rake is better because regs won't play high rake games so recs have better games and better winrates despite high cost". I always thought was more of a distraction than a real debate on the online poker biz)
Back to GG and its leaderboards: note that the top line figures change every month. Presumably this is an effort to encourage more of a certain game type that potentially needs help. Within these, it uses happy hours, some luck-based scoring and more to micro-manage incentives.
Other operators of course offer daily/weekly/monthly leaderboards, but nothing at this scale.

And of course all this free money is paid for with the rake GG collects at the tables.

💰 Charge more
💸 Give back more
🎮 Control exactly how to distribute the $
GGPoker as a network has been executing this strategy since it launched in 2014, but arguably has really invested in this idea wholesale in the last two years. Its monthly giveaways are up from sub $1 million two years ago to $10 million today.
And for its effort, it has risen to be one of the largest online poker rooms in the world - indeed, among the largest to ever exist.

It is the first operator in 15 years to overtake PokerStars in cash game traffic and is now the home of big high-guarantee poker tournaments.
While PokerStars is back at #1 in cash for now, GGPoker recently crossed over 6000 cash game seats, a network high.

The last operator to have this many cash games was Full Tilt Poker when it relaunched under PS owner in 2012, a full decade ago.
Is this good for players? Clearly yes. Good for the thousands that play there now, obv - but good just for the competition.

Its been ten years since players could choose between competing online poker rooms with this traffic. And choice is good.…
And we know PokerStars is directly responding to this. Executives come close to basically saying explicitly that they are reinvesting in rewards etc due to increased competition in the space.

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More from @pokerprojones

29 Jan 21
Interesting article on PRO this week on poker apps. thought this would be a good opportunity to go over some back story on apps.

First, GGPoker launched their own app, ClubGG 👇… (1/24)
So, this is GG's first entry into "home games" features and in that way competes with the offers from PokerStars, partypoker, 888 etc.

But, notably, it follows much more closely the agent model of private clubs. More on that in a bit. (2/24)
Refresher on what we mean when we talk "apps": They are mobile-first, often mobile-only apps that allow you to run private clubs. They do not handle real money withdrawals.

They might have a "global" player pool, but most action is private tables. (3/24)
Read 24 tweets
28 Jan 21
If you're not aware of @matt_levine - he is a fantastic resource for financial news. Pithy daily newsletter manages to be that v rare combo: wonkish to pull you in, yet simple enough a layperson can follow along.

His $GME coverage this week has been exemplary. /1
If you want to get a genuinely interesting, balanced take on this story, I would strongly recommend you start at his coverage from the start of the week, and enjoy it all unfolding through his expert eyes. /2
Monday - after the weekend flurry, he dissects the different perspectives on this story: The fundamentals, the short squeezing, and the YOLO story - touching on Matt's own pet theory - the Bordem Market's Hypothesis.… /3
Read 6 tweets
21 Jan 21
Right, let's put a bit more context behind this tweet from yesterday.

Here's a thread on the history of the Wire Act interpretation over the last decade and its impact on online poker - and where we're going next. /1
I won't regurgitate the entire decade-long Wire Act story. You can read this on PRO today for more detail; in a couple of hours @SpookyBugs will have a detailed piece up on pokerfuse too.

But very briefly...… /2
Circa 1961: Wire Act prevents sports betting from crossing state lines (this is obv pre-internet, so we're talking phoning your bookmaker)

Law is poorly written and leaves open some ambiguity, especially when trying to apply it to a world of online gaming & poker. /3
Read 39 tweets
13 Nov 20
So, this is such a good idea it's kind of hard to believe this hasn't been done before honestly.

- Invite-only KO event
- 48 streamers invited to play
- poker plrs + other games/esports
- Everyone streams
- $50,000 prize pool
- "Raid" viewers on KO

(more thoughts below ⬇️)
According to the rules

- All 48 streamers stream on Twitch
- Everyone has 3 lives. (I guess like a multi-stack tournament? - wasn't aware partypoker supported this tbqh)
- If you knock someone out for the 3rd and final time, you get their bounty and *also their viewers*
So this is new to me, but apparently the kids are calling these "raids" and in fact the Twitch platform has support for this built-in.

When a streamer ends their streamer, with the /raid command they can send all their viewers to watch another stream.…
Read 12 tweets
13 Nov 20
Especially relevant with today's news that GG's relationship with the WSOP extends: These are my main takeaways from Flutter's Q3 financial results this week as it pertains to poker (thread 👇)…
So the headline figures:

- PokerStars division (includes sports + casino) flat YoY
- in constant currency, up 5%
- The "gaming" segment (casino + poker), up 6% cc

However, in that, they reported (only in relative figures, in cc)
🎲 casino +32%
🏅sports +3%
🃏 Poker -10%
So as they quickly pointed out, this is "returning to pre-Covid run-rates." Which is accurate. Pre-flutter, online poker at TSG has been down 10%+ every quarter since Q4 2018 (black line in chart below)
Read 26 tweets
27 Aug 20
Some first notes on Flutter's H1 from a poker perspective.

Phone-in analysts' call is in 15 mins, but the presentation is already live.…
Top line - from what I can tell, Flutter are going to stop reporting revenue numbers from poker, which is very disappointing.

PokerStars (non-US) division is broken down by sports and gaming, the latter of which will include casino.

Up 40% YoY.
"A picture paints a thousand words."

This should come as no surprise for followers. This chart follows their cash game data very closely.

Goes to show how it is still an excellent metric for seeing these trends, despite tournaments making up ~70% of revenue.
Read 21 tweets

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