Thursday, July 12, 2007


When World Sports Exchange announced it would offer rakefree poker, I thought it would be a dream come true. Who could argue with a site that would refund all of your rake paid at the end of every week? It would be like driving around and never paying for gas.

At the time WSEX's rakefree promotion started, I was paying close to $2,000 a month in rake while averaging about $1,500 a month in profits. I thought if I could save even half of that rake paid, I'd see a sharp increase in my bottom line.

It didn't work. And there's one big reason: WSEX's games were pretty much unbeatable. They were filled with 2+2ers and rocks. There were almost no fish in the games I was playing, and I couldn't even break even.

Fish don't care about rake. They want to play where their friends play. They want to play multitable tournaments and sit-n-gos. They want to be able to hop into the first available seat they can find at the limit they play.

WSEX offered none of these things. Its business model was to use its rakefree poker site to attract players to its sportsbook, and I would have been happy to place some bets with them if I could have won in poker. But by becoming rakefree without an existing player base, WSEX did everything to get good players in the games and nothing for the recreational gambler.

To some extent, we get what we pay for in rake. Rake pays for marketing, promotions, store items, better software, PokerTracker support, customer service and a degree of security for our money. Without rake, the site has little incentive to do anything for the players except provide them with chips and a chair.

After a little over a year of its rakefree experiment, WSEX has scaled back to 75 percent rakeback, which is still pretty nice. But the promise of free poker will remain unrealized unless a site can generate traffic. Last time I checked, the games at that place were dead.

1 comment:

kurokitty said...

I basically broke even playing on the NL tables with the 100 percent rakeback being a nice substantial profit.

Of course, this was before the CR offense and it made me think that I needed 100 percent rakeback to be a profitable player. LOL.