Poker got really expensive
Just a couple weeks ago, a group of nearly 100 high stakes No-Limit Hold’em players initiated a boycott of GGPoker because the online poker drastically increased the rake at tables with blinds of $25/$50 and higher. Now it appears that the tactic worked, as GGPoker listened to players’ concerns and has agreed to roll back the rake increases to close to their original state.
As a poker coach named George posted on Twitter on April 3, the day the boycott began, the average rake in a 5-6-handed game at $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em tables before the increase was 4.02 big blinds, still much, much higher than GGPoker’s competitors. The estimated rake under the new rake structure was a whopping 7.08 big blinds.
On Two Plus Two, “Mixgrill” wrote, “Quite simply, they have pushed the rake to a level where professionals are aware that they cannot win. As a result, the volume of raked hands will significantly decrease, and recreational players will not have anybody to play against. GGpoker will generate less revenue and action will move to other networks.”
They said that, in the end, the group wanted, “An environment in which it is possible for players to win money and enjoy themselves, as the network continues to generate enough revenue to profit.”
On Sunday, George happily reported that the high stakes community reached an agreement with GGPoker in which the poker room will remove 90% of the rake increase in games that have four or more players. Three-handed and heads-up rake is also being decreased and GGPoker has promised to consider a further reduction.
George called it a “huge W for the HS community, and online poker overall,” adding, “GG have opened up much better lines of communication, which we have already started leveraging to make the games safer and fairer.”
“They also shared unprecedented levels of information about their business, and ultimately, GG poker rebuilt HS cash online poker, and has the best playing experience of any site, and they deserve credit for that + how they have handled this situation,” he continued.
George said that going forward, he and other high stakes poker players will keep urging GGPoker to lower the rake at short-handed and heads-up tables “where it is clearly mutually beneficial for the operator and the players to incentivize the battles between pros, which happen regularly on lower rake networks.”
He said they also plan to work with Americas Cardroom to ensure it provides a competitive alternative to GGPoker for high stakes players. Theoretically, competition is good for the customers, though GGPoker does not necessarily seem to care too much, considering its rake at the high stakes tables is still extremely high compared to ACR and PokerStars. But as the largest online poker room in terms of cash traffic – and largest by far – it can get away with it.