I've received a good amount of feedback through my input form and on the forum. Obviously rake is still a huge issue and honestly think some stakes and games are severely struggling because of it. Given the volume of ongoing discussion I am fairly confident that there will be more than enough other invitees bringing up rake concepts and topics. I'll obviously still participate in these and have some input, but I think it might be overkill given the amount of time if I go about preparing rake related topics myself.
A close second in the responses I've received has been issues regarding liquidity and structure of the VIP program and I think I'd really like to try to tackle those problems from a few standpoints. I'm working on a comprehensive set of ideas and alternatives to help several of these inter-related issues. Thanks again to everyone that gave me some input and some really great ideas!
... and now for something completely different...
I was recently reading an article in one of the national papers stating how completely unnecessary the change in Tim Horton's cup sizes was. For those unfamiliar with our second national pastime - Tim's runs - our national coffee beverage provider added a new size to the top end of the list, which was Extra-Large. The result was that this new largest size is now called Extra-Large and everything below it got bumped down in name-size. Old Extra-Large is now Large, Large is now Medium, Medium is now Small, Small is now Extra-Small.
The argument in the article was a fairly intuitive "They should have just called the new size Extra-Extra-Large and left everything else alone!" In my experience, intuitive arguments don't make a lot of money because intuitiveness is derived from being standard.
The ensuing mass confusion subsided after several weeks of the following types of exchange heard across the nation. Here's one relayed to me by a co-worker on his 4th visit 10 days after the change:
Tim's: What would you like sir, and by the way have you heard about our new cup sizes? If you used to order large, it is now medium, but the price hasn't change. That's to say that the large, while now called medium, is still the old large price, not the old medium price. Makes sense?
CW: Yeah I know, Medium Double-Double please.
Tim's: Is that the old medium or the new medium?
CW: New medium.
Tim's: Ok, new medium, which is the old large.
CW: I think you're more confused than I am. Just give me $1.61 worth of coffee.
But here's the genius of the entire switch: If you used to order a Large Double-Double, you're either going to go the new Medium Double-Double for the same price and amount of coffee as you used to order, or you are going to go with what you've ingrained in your brain over years and now comes naturarlly,at least some of the time, a Large Double-Double for more coffee and a higher price.
Boom! Fail-safe Insta-Profit.
Moral of the story: If you are making changes to a system where the change has no downside, do not take the simple, intuitive route. Make the change as confusing as possible which will increase profit by create a mistake rich environment of people not realizing the system has changed or making the wrong and always more expensive choice.
Tim's has no downside here, no one is actually going to reduce the size they order due to this change. You would have to go from old Large to new Small in order to do that and it's just not going to happen. If Tim's simply makes an intuitive new Extra-Extra Large, the only new profit they get out of it is people who actually want more coffee. By making the change confusing, the get that same profit plus extra by people making the mistake of not ordering their now reduced in name only regular size coffee.