Wednesday, 28 December 2011

PokerStars 2012 Rake Changes: First Impression

Well after the gongshow that was the "big" unveiling of the new ad campaign this morning, PS Steve did come along and announce the VIP (read: rake) changes for 2012. You can read full details about the changes on or in the official thread.

I haven't seen many people attempt to tackle this whole thing yet from a math perspective and I certainly don't blame anyone. It's a big mess. So please point out any flaws in my logic or math.

The basics:
  • Switching to Weighted Contributed rake.
  • Switching from Incremental to True rake.
  • Adjusting some rake caps.

There is an uproar and a growing movement among the high volume and higher stakes players to organize a sit out. It is still unclear as to exactly how much this change is going to affect micro players although they are generally still upset about any loss. A couple of points of interest here:
  • There is a change from $2 to $3 rake cap on tables with 5 players. 6max players are stating that about 25% of their hands are with 5 players. This is obviously going to cost them a lot more and will penalize players that are trying to keep tables going as well as table starters before tables become full.
  • The general consensus is that the WC switch is going to cost most regs between 10-25% of benefits depending on their style and game choice. This is gonig to affect higher volume players more than low volume regs in that 20% of 65% rakeback is obviously much more than 20% of 40% rakeback.

Judging by the adjusted rake caps it appears that microstakes may not be severely affected. The True rake is essentially a set percentage on every penny that's in the pot compared to the former Incremental where a certain dollar value was taken out for every increment in pot size -- $0.05 for every $1.00 for example. This results in a rake increase on smaller pots but overall it seems true that rake will effectively be decreased for most regs who don't play a lot of 2-2.5 bb pots and open for at least 3bb.

5NL - old rake in red, new rake in blue

So if we use the numbers from FTP experience (note to PT3 users there is apparently a custom stat you can use to find your WC equivalent), and we take a 20% cut in rakeback while overall receiving a 10% reduction in rake in the micros on average, a Supernova is generally going to end up with the following if my numbers are correct:

Before: 40/100 for 40% rakeback (insert your number instead of 40)
After (40*0.8)/(100*0.9) for 32/90 or 36% rakeback compared to 2011

I'm hoping that the 20% number is on the high side. Games weren't nearly as nitty on FTP as they are on Stars so hopefully the $-contributed/hand average -- the single factor for determining rakeback (vpip is a spurious correlation) -- for the player pool as a whole gets dragged down a ton by the shear number of tighter players and it endsup having less of an impact on losses.

Keep in mind that everything I've written and calculated here should be taken with a grain of salt. WC by it's
nature is a very convoluted process that depends on a number of varriables and is impossible to calculate in the straightforward way Dealt is for every player if you don't have all the data. So regs have a solid argument that in general they are all going to lose money, but the fact that very few of them have concrete numbers to put on display that can be applied to other players that the debate about what to do and how much compensation should be required breaks down since everyone is forced into talking about generalities.

As for game softness it is true that no sites that have made the switch have gotten softer so there's really not much reason to believe it will help. Most people arguing it will are plainly just nit-haters. The one argument I can see is that we haven't seen a site make the switch while having a really high rakeback % under dealt which would allow a small subsection of players to survive on Stars but nowhere else regardless of method. We might end up seeing a small forced exodus based on those players now thinking it's not worth it or becoming outright unprofitable.

I'm sure this will be big news through January so I'm definitely going to try to keep on top of the numbers.
Happy New Year everyone and good luck in 2012.

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